In brief: I Fear for This Boy; Wet Paint; How to Love Animals – review | Autobiography and memoir


Theo Fennell
Mensch, £25, 277pp

The jewellery designer’s memoir is drolly subtitled “Some Chapters of Accidents”. Reading his picaresque account of a life that has encompassed both success and far greater and more dispiriting failure, one would be forgiven for thinking that Fennell was a pariah, rather than an internationally respected figure. Yet this likably self-deprecating book details everything from his vain attempts to become a songwriter to the etiquette of dealing with some of London’s hardest criminals (“their dress sense was appalling”). It ends up being a highly amusing – even glittering – romp.

Chloë Ashby
Trapeze, £14.99, 316pp

Ashby’s debut novel initially seems like a cross between Sally Rooney and Fleabag, but soon demonstrates its own quirky charisma. Protagonist Eve is a twentysomething Londoner who muddles her way through urban life, but is haunted by the death of her best friend, Grace. What marks Ashby out as a distinctive voice is the warmth and compassion with which she depicts her characters and their milieu. The spirited Eve has her faults, but you long for her to succeed on every page.

Henry Mance
Vintage, £9.99, 387pp (paperback)

The British famously dote on their animals. So why, asks Henry Mance in this absorbing and humorous polemic, so do we treat them so appallingly? The answer stems from both “tradition and inertia”, Mance suggests, but also because of our addiction to cheap, high-volume animal products that, if unchecked, will see the world fall to pieces in a vain attempt to supply the meat, dairy and leather that we crave. Mance’s vivid description of working in an abattoir is enough to make any carnivore a vegan: this is surely his intention.

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