life is an honest, no hold's barred account of Derryn
his early childhood growing up in New Zealand, through
to his early years as a journalist who cracks a foreign
correspondent gig, covering events around the globe,
to his sackings, sometimes very public, time in jail
(for getting true justice), Derryn really cuts loose.
you grew up in the 40s and 50s, had parents who did,
or just want to read about a personality who "made
it" in the media business, this is the book for
like the man himself; at least the one portrayed on
TV and radio, there is a certain touchingness or poignancy
inherent in the writing. One can even imagine sitting
down with Derryn in his loungeroom, or at a bar, as
Derryn's story unfolds.
is an uncomplicated read, about a seemly complicated
life, but has an honesty and unpretentiousness about
the onset, Derryn makes it clear that he never intended
to write an autobiography; however his contact at
Penguin books, Bob Sessions, encouraged Derryn to
put his life story to print, while working on The
Derryn Hinch Diet.
is clearly not trying to impress anyone in this book.
The same may be said for his approach in his television
and radio work, which for me makes him even more believable.
Derryn delivers the goods, with a clarity and sincerity.
first few chapters outline Derryn's formative years,
learning about sex, relationships and death, including
his own mother's. Derryn later goes on to outline
a number of life threatening experiences, from covering
events in third world countries, to getting in and
out of the Detroit and Los Angeles riots. All of the
losses suffered, and observed, whether of the close
or not so close; obviously resonate and go towards
the personality and attitude of the man Hinch is today.
tells of the role played by alcohol in Australian
society, and how it can bring out the best and worst
in people. Derryn is a man enough to admit that he
is flawed, and has driven home drunk in the past.
Obviously he realises now his error of judgment. One
must also consider that drinking and the media business
have long gone hand in hand, whether it be socialising
with clients, or escaping the reality of an enormous
work schedule, with sometimes unrealistic deadlines
chapter entitled "Suffer little children"
expresses many of the injustices that can occur to
children, firstly at the hands of their parents or
"carers", then at the hand of the Australian
legal system. Derryn found "the system"
unjust, even taking justice into his own hands; resulting
in a stint in jail, effectively getting a child molester
off the streets. Even the media had a go at Derryn
for his good act, with one newspaper headlining, "Hinch
must elevate his ethics". Yet another example
of the Hinch attitude to fair play, and protecting
leads the reader into "The Jail Diaries",
which is the tale of Hinch's 12 days in the clink,
his personnel sacrifice for helping ensure that real
justice was done for a young person and their family.
Derryn Hinch was the first, but I doubt the last,
journalist to be jailed for contempt of court. The
reader may secretly wonder if jail time was the ultimate
prize for Hinch, to make his point. Something tells
me, it was just the effect of his actions, rather
than part of a master plan. Hinch certainly made the
most of his time in jail, with some riveting one on
one interviews conducted with some of society's true
Low Brow" describes a story of the ups and downs
of the professional boxing world, where Hinch finds
himself dodging punches and chairs in boxing riots
in Nevada. Hinch gets another dose of "biffo"
on Newport, Rhode Island; this time whilst covering
the America's Cup, when after "roughing up"
a mugger and a thief, Hinch gets his cash back in
most telling chapter on the media business is aptly
entitled "TV or not TV", and tells of Hinch's
struggle in and out of the business, including his
rocky road with Channel Seven, which ends publicly
with Hinch declaring, "So that's it. On Friday,
November 29th, 1991, that's life. Goodbye".
those of us who ever considered what the life of a
journalist is like, at the top end of town; or been
interested in the life of a fascinating, successful
man, who is also a very public figure; this is definitely
the book for you.
book review is published on the official Derryn
Hinch website www.hinch.net
Derryn Hinch - 19th January 2003
Hinch official website