Cover Image: A Clear Blue Sky

A Clear Blue Sky

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Member Reviews

I received a copy of this book generously from net and Harper Collins

I am a big cricket fan and enjoyed this book, although anyone who is looking for a book detailing purely Johnny Bairstow's cricketing exploits may prefer to look somewhere else. This book is essentially two stories the story of Johnny's cricketing career but also the story of how his dad, also a cricketer committed suicide when Johnny was a young boy and the effect that had on the family.

In short this book is a great read but in some senses falls between two stools in that it won't fully satisfy those who want the inside track of dressing room politics, career highlights and funny stories that an autobiography can be. However it will not also fully satisfy those who want to know exactly the minutiae of how a young boy deals with the death of his father.

In saying that I would recommend reading it to any sports fan and even those who aren't but are looking for a good human interest story.
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Brilliant read, poignant and uplifting.  A love story from son to father.  I would certainly recommend.  An inspirational story from tragic circumstances to huge success.  Well Done.
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A compelling and highly interesting read. Bairstow does an excellent job of bringing the reader into the ins and outs of cricket. As one of a few American cricket lovers, I try to get my hands on as many cricket books as I can. This book does not disappoint.
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A very heartfelt book about the career of jonny bairstow but also looking back at events of his father David the former wicketkeeper of England and Yorkshire who tragically died young when he committed suicide and how the family pulled together.
I like how the book was very humble but very straight and was an easy read.
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Although I enjoyed this it left me disappointed as this is more about his Father and his career than himself.
Not what I was expecting.
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A book written  by the son for the father and I'd like to think they'll meet up someday and talk it over. A good read but not only for cricket fans as it tells of how a family coped with with whatever life threw at them.
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An enlightening read on a young professional sportsman who has had to overcome emotional upheaval to reach a high calibrate level of personal achievement. Great to read such an honest open account although it feels at times very ghost-written
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I thought Out Of A Clear Blue Sky was very good in many ways, but I did have some reservations.

The book is as much about Jonny Bairstow's dad David as it is about him, which is not only understandable, it is right and proper.  It is also a fine and important account of the effect of the suicide of a parent on a child and on the rest of the family which will give insight and comfort to a lot of people.  It's a tough, genuinely tragic story, recounted with emotional honesty and without any hint of self-pity  or over-sentimentality.  It is worth reading for this alone, bit there is also some very good stuff about David's character and influence on his son as well as a pretty decent account of Jonny's own progression in cricket.

If you're looking for big revelations about England cricket players or managers, you'll be disappointed.  Personally I wasn't; I thought Jonny's assessments of his fellow players was fair and although he is possibly generous at times I like that he refuses to give salacious or damaging accounts of people but concentrates largely on his own game and attitude to it.  He is honest about many things – like the catastrophic 2013-14 Ashes tour, for example, but doesn't use it to dish dirt or settle scores which makes it a good, very engrossing read.

My only real problem with the book is the prose style, which can be pretty hard to take at times.  The book is ghostwritten by Duncan Hamilton, who is obviously doing a decent job of recounting what Jonny has given him, but the voice is miles away from what I imagine Jonny's own words might be.  For example, Ian Bell at one point is described thus: "He'd sometime hold the final position of a shot, as though posing for a sculptor who was about to start chipping away at some vast block of stone," and Andrew Flintoff's arm around Brett Lee's shoulders was apparently "an act of Corinthian compassion."  And so on. Combined with some pretty stale clichés and contrived similes scattered throughout, it made for slightly tough going some of the time.

Nonetheless, what emerges is a good, honest book which has important things to say.  Jonny Bairstow is a man I'd want in any cricket team; I'm glad to have him on my bookshelves, too.  Recommended.
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A wonderfully thoughtful and sensitive book which acts as a paen and homage to David Bairstow from a son who lost his dad so tragically at so young an age.

Unfortunately this should have been written as a biography rather than as an autobiography as the so called ghost writer Duncan Hamilton is just too good a writer and without having met Bairstow I have no idea if the book represents an accurate interpretation of his voice however I suspect that the words are more Hamilton's than Bairstow's.

No matter, as the book is an intoxicating read that entertained and moved in equal doses.
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Normally when I read a biography or memoir, I dip in and out, couple chapters at a time whilst also reading something fictional. This one however I started and read straight through in pretty much just one sitting. It was that readable, that compelling, that emotional. Now, I am a big fan of cricket and read a lot of this and other sport's biographies but this book is just so much more than the usual "look at me, see how successful I am" kind of book, full of stats and anecdotes that just get a bit dry and samey as you go on. Believe me, I've read my fair share of that kind of bio! No, this one is more of a journey through good times and bad and how Bairstow has taken what was thrown at him and battled his way through. Obviously, what happened in his past has made him who he is today; the death of his father being somewhat of a key point in his timeline, sadly coming at the same time as his mum's serious illness. Parallels are drawn between father and son; both on and off the field. I found the way he compared and contrasted the way cricket was played and run during both his and his father's times; including some very interesting politics. The rest of the book is more a tribute to the people who got him where he is today, his mum and sister to name the main players here and he downplays his own part quite admirably at times although his courage and tenacity screams out from between the lines.
I have already mentioned how readable this book was for me. At times whilst reading, it almost read itself to me, so easy the "voice" was. I laughed with him, I cried with him as I hung on every word. I even felt proud for him at times. It's like he says in the book, people like him, his father and other sportsmen/women touch so many people's lives personally without ever meeting them and I guess I felt this way about him after finishing this book. 
Anecdotes can be strange things to portray, especially in print; most of them coming across as more like "you really had to be there" to be funny but the ones in this book were delivered perfectly. If I ever get the chance to actually hear him speak in person, I'll be straight in there, front row. 
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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