Most people who have read the British tabloid papers, celebrity magazines or gossip columns in the last 10-15 years would probably not have the best view of Calum Best. His reputation in these publications has been largely portrayed by them as a playboy, womaniser, addict and someone trading off his Dad’s famous name. Calum has made mistakes in his life, which he openly admits to, but has sadly been a target for these publications. By writing his own story, it gave him the chance to set the record straight. As a big George Best fan, I looked forward to reading this book. Not only for what he would say about his Dad, but also for what life has been like for him being George’s only son. Personally l’ve only met Calum once, at a football dinner, but he seemed like a genuinely nice guy in person.
Reading through this book, what comes across the most is the honesty shown by Calum. He does not hold back on the things that have happened in his life, both good and bad. At times, it makes for difficult reading, especially about his Dad’s severe alcohol problems, which Calum unfortunately witnessed first hand on many occasions. Growing up I always hated reading about George’s alcohol problems in the news and I hoped that one day he could beat these before it was too late. Sadly it was not. Calum too, inherited some of his Dad’s addictions but has learned to deal with these as he has grown up, which is covered in the book.
I have read about people questioning why Calum needed to write a book and if it was just to trade off him his Dad’s name. Reading through the book I did not feel that was Calum’s reason for the book. It is more about him taking stock of his life so far and looking towards a more positive future for him. An interesting part of the book is the fact that when his Dad died, Calum was initially left with only his Dad’s flat and a watch his Dad received at the 1994 World Cup. Both of these were soon taken off Calum, leaving him with nothing of his Dad’s. In the months leading up to his death, George and his friend and agent Phil Hughes had been trying to sort things out so that Calum got a lot more, especially George’s naming and image rights, but they ran out of time. Such a shame, especially as Calum, George’s only son, was the one who at his Dad’s bedside constantly during those final weeks when his health seriously declined.
This book is about a lot more than Calum’s relationship with his Dad and covers a lot about his life growing up in California and also his move over to live in Europe. His love and admiration for his Mum – George’s former wife, Angie Best, is very strong in this book. For United fans and football fans, the obvious reason to buy this book would be to read more about what George Best would be like. Reading this they would certainly get that, although at times it makes for tough reading due to George’s alcohol addiction and what seems like Calum’s honesty in his memories of this. For those who like books on people’s life stories, they would also find this an interesting read.