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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mark Brandon Read CHOPPER 5: Don’t Go Breaking My Legs. John Blake Publishing, London, 2006 (214 pages).

On Read’s death about a year ago, I provided some links to his work & life on BM: A few days ago underneath Central Station in Sydney, I saw one of Chopper Read’s books in a bargain bin and finally decided to read his shit.  CHOPPER 5, a British publication, is Read’s ninth book and appears to have been written in 1999 after his release from Risdon Prison. He describes briefly his upcoming film loosely based on his life Chopper (2000) and the birth of his first child Charlie- but his main focus usually returns to his recollections & involvement in the Melbourne underworld, particularly in the 1970s.

Read’s first book Chopper: From the Inside (1991) was hugely successful and is reported to have sold more than 100,000 copies. According to Amazon, Read has published fourteen other crime books which are all still in print. I can't imagine there are too many pending PhD theses on the craft of Mark Brandon Read’s writing. I thought I might take this opportunity to toss your way my two cents worth & critically evaluate the writing phenomenon that is CHOPPER, using CHOPPER 5 to spur some analysis on the psycho. Why is Read’s writing so appealing to his fans? Why is it so appalling to others?