Some reviews of Jim Perrin’s book West have appeared on the Amazon site, which are extremely flattering and it may be said, positively sycophantic. (Some, we are certain, are posted by the author himself…)
‘The author of this book’, one says, ‘tells us as it is’. ‘This’ says another, ‘is simply the most honest, loving and personal book I have ever encountered’! — really? — do they not read many books?
Did these people know our sister whose death as told by the author is the third part of the ‘triad of tragedy’ and who, according to Sir Andrew Motion in whose — measured — review (Guardian 27/7/10) is the main subject of the book? We think not.
The main premise upon which this book is based, the loving and losing of our sister, their relationship and Jim Perrin’s final loss of her is in fact a farrago of false information. We have set up our own site to put the record straight. If he had not so frequently abused the trust which our sister had at first placed in him we would not now be so determined to do this; we very much regret the overwhelming necessity to show the readers of this author’s work that there lies beneath, in this book at least, a ‘heart of darkness’.
The real, and proveable, facts are as we, Jac’s sisters, relate them in the posts on this site.
The following is a comment we posted on the Independent after a review by Stevie Davies. We are now re-posting it on our own site in case readers who may be interested missed it at the time and we wish to be perfectly certain that we have given as much information as we possibly can.
A comment we first made on the Independent‘:
Dear Ms. Davies,
We read your review, 23/7/10: ‘We know that Jac was a wild, fey being in love with nature; that she shared the writer’s “magical thinking”.’ Jac was our sister and we know it was not really so.
We feel that Jim Perrin’s mythologizing of her does her no favour, nor does she need his sanctification. (ref. a comment posted (02/08/10 after Sir Andrew Motion’s review in the Guardian). In our opinion, to use and abuse our sister’s memory, to embellish with sophistry a relationship (in which after only several months she told us of her growing unhappiness) during the last six months of which she was desperately weakened by her cancer treatment and therefore unable to extricate herself, is not only ungentlemanly, as we have said elsewhere, but is low beyond expression.
Latterly, her ‘interior world’, as you so insightfully described it, was indeed where she escaped; where she lived the life she chose and where her real ‘self’ was protected. Her way was always to avoid confrontation; to disengage and slip away, both physically and emotionally, from a situation in which she felt increasingly vulnerable. It may be imagined how she was affected by the forcefulness, the verbal and endless written tirades — these born of the frustration engendered by her evasion of Jim Perrin’s attempts to control her. She would close down, almost, in her passive resistance. We witnessed this, and are saddened by the fact that it was during the last year of her life that she was made so unhappy. We believe that a world of false memory has been devised around the relationship with our sister, and she is no longer able to refute the verbose imaginings and shameless, it could even be thought cynical, exploitation (is it not said that ‘sex sells’?)
Although we may not be qualified to criticise the style, we can certainly confirm that West, insofar as it relates to Jac, is predominantly the work of a fevered imagination. The undoubted ability of the author as a ‘fiction writer’ is much in evidence. When an article was published in a leading newspaper within weeks of our sister’s death in which there were also many ‘inaccuracies’, we wrote to the paper to express our concern. They (actually Roger Alton, the editor, whom we had not realised was Jim Perrin’s friend) refused to print our letter of rebuttal; however one of their team replied to us on 18/08/05 saying ‘he can’t be allowed to get away with it’.