Between the Covers

Get her off the pitch

Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss has a chatty style of writing that almost makes you feel you’re reading an amusing letter from a friend.

Truss shot to international fame with her excellent and funny treatise on punctuation Eats shoots and leaves.

Get her off the pitch (subtitled How sport took over my life) is Truss musing on and analysing her time as a sports journalist for The Times of London.

Now I should say I’m a former sports journalist who has been on numerous occasions the only woman in a room (and indeed dressing room) full of male footballers and male reporters, so I was always going to have a lot of empathy with Truss.

But one of the lovely aspects of her writing is that you don’t necessarily have to have that sympathy for her cause because she is such a wonderful writer with a really original and lovely turn of phrase.

There’s a good reason the editors and sports editors of The Times (one of the world’s most respected and venerated newspapers, despite being part of the ever-

expanding News Ltd empire) chose Truss as a sports columnist, despite her complete lack of knowledge about sport: the woman writes well.

Really well.

This is a long piece of self-examination in the context of a larger discussion about how Western society views sport, women, men and journalism.

Even if you don’t have a deep obsession with sport (and quite frankly, for me, after five years of writing about nothing except sport, my love of it turned to quite pointed and deliberate disinterest), this book is worth a read because Truss has some really interesting and well-thought-out points to make on gender relations.

She also has numerous amusing anecdotes about sport and being a sports fan, something many Australians, male and female, will be able to relate to.

And it’s funny, with humour based in a love of words and an appreciation of the ridiculous.

But the best thing about this book is that it’s a well-told story. A lot of non-fiction gets bogged down in detail and can be tedious but this is autobiography at its best: amusing, interesting, with a lot to say and a ripping good yarn.

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