I am somewhat prone to hero worship - waddya mean ya noo already! I suspect it might have been encouraged by my post-war upbringing in which there were a multitude of real heroes to worship. Then came adolescence, which in my case lasted until I was fifty, when men are even more prone to such silliness. Of course, at the ripe old age of 79 I am well past all that nonsense, er, well, except possibly (Sir) Lewis Hamilton! Even so, it is a blow to learn that one of my heroes, the late, great (well, sort of) John Steinbeck was in fact a ghastly, drunken megalomaniac who treated his second wife abominably.
Of course, the fact is that hitherto I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about the man. However, in my youth, naturally, I read "Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath" and like anyone else who has ever read them, 'I was moved withal'. And again, in my naivety I just assumed that who-ever could write such superb novels must be 'a good guy'. Big fail!
Today, in The Mail, Ms. Ysenda Maxtone Graham reviews a long lost memoir written by Steinbeck's second wife, Gwyn Conger, who after years of marital bullying by this brute of a man, finally divorced him. She died alone at the relatively young age of 58. None of that, of course, alters the fact that his books were superb. But the question is, would I ever read another one?