Saturday 13 September 1986

…I bought my first James Bond book: From Russia With Love…

Ought a 10-and-a-half-year-old be reading spy fiction by Ian Fleming? Ought they to be tackling Tolkien, Masefield, Verne or Conan Doyle instead? Ought they in fact to be running about in the fresh air instead of hunkered down for hours in their bedroom?

I’m surprised I was allowed to buy this book. There were outrageous double standards going on here. Apparently I was able to enjoy Bond at his most adult, violent and earthy, while simultaneously I wasn’t able to enjoy Bond at his most juvenile, harmless and fantastical. Either my parents didn’t have a clue about Ian Fleming or they let me purchase it to shut me up.

The irony was I didn’t enjoy the book at all. I was massively too young to appreciate the idiom in which Fleming wrote and the stylistic conceits he conceived and sustained. Consequently I found it alternately boring, incomprehensible, pompous and downright weird.

Two elements in particular made me recoil from the text.

One was the description of Bond having sex with Tatiana, specifically the phrase “love knot”.

Second was the fact that Bond appeared to die on the very last page.

That never happened to the other fellow!

A not-at-all-phallic cover illustration

One thought on “Saturday 13 September 1986

  1. FRWL was the first one I bought as well, at about the same age. But mine had a woman in a bikini sprawled over a phallic gun on the cover. Not inappropriate at all.

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