Me, Myself and Lord Byron – Julietta Jameson
Pier 9 (Murdoch Books Pty. Ltd.), 2011
I am not fond of Lord Byron. I am not a spiritualist. And while I am intrigued by Italy, I am not in love with it. So what made me pick up a book that is part memoir and part travel diary, written by a woman on a quest to rediscover herself through God, Italy and a Romantic poet? It looked interesting. And it was.
In 1816 George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, left England for Europe in a self-enforced exile from which he would never return. Separated from his wife, outcast by polite English society, the controversial ‘rock star’ of the 19th century was determined to live life on his own terms. Almost 200 years later, Australian journalist and travel writer Julietta Jameson – a woman in self-confessed crisis – sets off to Europe in his footsteps. Emerging from alcoholism to a personal crossroads, she finds inspiration in his troubled but defiantly magnificent life as she tries to reconnect with herself and her past.
There is something magnetic about a memoir. It’s like peering through a stranger’s window, having an unashamed browse through the story of their life at your own leisure. Me, Myself and Lord Byron strikes a good balance between being informative and heartfelt. I do not necessarily agree with Jameson’s world view, and certainly have my doubts about Lord Byron’s. But taking the journey at all, and then sharing it with the world through this book, required a bravery and honesty that I can only admire.