I think it is always a privilege when “someone off the telly” decides to share their story with the viewers, it gives you a better insight and understadning of what makes that person tick.
And in the case of Jay Blades, probably best known for The Repair Shop we are treated to what life was like growing up with an absent father, racism, police brutality, dyslexia, making it and then losing it all and hitting rock bottom.
In a very honest account, written with the help of a writer, Jay takes us from his very beginnings on a council estate in Hackney through to The Repair Shop. The honesty of the injustices that Jay has witnessed and also been personally involved in made for some uncomfortable reading. My heart really went out to all those who suffered racism and yet whilst it could have taken Jay on one path (and perhaps it nearly did), it took him on another more compassionate path.
That path though was littered with obstacles and we see how his strength of character, his immense depth of love repairs not just those around him and of course the furniture we now know him for. He repairs himself through the kindness of strangers and those that would give him a chance and I felt once I had finished this book that you realise how far Jay has come but on that journey he has become the genuine chap that radiates from our television screens.
This is a book which could be used as an example of social history of growing up in the seventies and eighties in Britain, it is not a book that will tell you the secrets of The Repair Shop because there are some things which need to remain an institution. And I can think of no better foreman for it than Jay Blades.
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