Down But Not Out: The Nine Lives of Jack Lacy by Jack Lacy
Down But Not Out: The Nine Lives of Jack Lacy is a memoir of the first 40 years of Lacy’s life. The book is a difficult read due to the subject matter, which takes in homelessness, suicide, drug abuse, illegal bare-knuckle boxing and violent gangsters. It is also a difficult book to read because it is hopelessly unfocussed and nonsensical.
Jack Lacy (an alias used on the book’s front cover apparently for the writer’s own protection, although his real name is used throughout the rest of the book) has had a difficult life. Abandoned by his parents at a young age, he ran away from a violent and unsafe children’s home and lived on the streets. Making money through bare-knuckle boxing, Lacy got involved with a group of gangsters and ended up robbing post offices. He then bought a lock keeping company, which went bust, leaving him homeless and suicidal. A great idea for a cat litter tray and a TV series did not come to fruition (the BBC apparently stole his idea) and he is now living under danger of death from a vicious drug dealer.
This book is a challenge to navigate. Jack Lacy jumps from scene to scene, job to job, so fast and with absolutely no focus or detail that it just doesn’t make any sense. He becomes one town’s most powerful drug dealer in no time and apparently has several meetings with executive producers at the BBC. Somewhere in the book, he discovers The Search, a spiritualist book by Rhonda Byrne, which apparently changes his life, though it is never clearly explained how – not to mention the fact that the book leaves him at possibly the worst time in his life. It ends with Lacy contemplating suicide and pretty certain that he won’t be alive much longer.
The book is billed as a memoir, but it doesn’t ring true; it is deeply paranoid and wholly implausible. It is apparently written solely for Lacy’s children – since he claims he won’t be around much longer – and yet it has been published and widely released. It is an uncomfortable read, which often resembles the ramblings of a deeply disturbed individual – chock-full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and inconsistencies, and ending with Lacy sleeping next to an axe, a knife in his pocket, waiting for his killers to arrive any minute. Misguided and rather destructive, it’s hard to find the appeal in Down But Not Out.
Down But Not Out: The Nine Lives of Jack Lacy is published by Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie Publishers Ltd at the paperback price of £7.99. For further information visit here.