My Friday Post: Boris by Andrew Gimson

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Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.


I’ve been thinking for a while of reading Boris: the Rise of Boris Johnson by Andrew Gimson, published in 2012. I bought it secondhand several years ago after Boris had been elected as Mayor of London and it is an updated version of his earlier biography to include Boris’s record in power as the Mayor of London.  I see that Gimson has since brought out  another updated edition, subtitled The Adventures of Boris Johnson, after the Brexit Referendum in 2016.  

It begins with an Introduction explaining why Gimson thought of writing a life of Boris Johnson.

In the summer of 2004, Boris’s star shone with amazing brightness. Reputable judges predicted he would be the next Conservative Prime Minister, and that June morning he was all over the newspapers, which were enthralled by a scoop he had gathered while waiting on his bike at a traffic light.

Well, he wasn’t the next Prime Minister – for that he had to wait until this year.

Then Chapter I begins:

Boris was born to British parents in New York City on 19 June 1964. His mother Charlotte, who was only twenty-two years old, relates that at his birth he had the thick yellow hair for which he was later to become so celebrated: ‘We didn’t cut it, so it turned into ringlets.

And in the photos there is one of Boris, aged one with his mother celebrating at the end of her Oxford exams and Boris is determined to have some of her champagne – his hair a mop of curls.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Pages 57:

At a time when many of us are still in a state of utter confusion, Boris knew where he wanted to go. A close friend said of him: ‘At the age of eighteen he set himself the target that he was going to be in the Cabinet by the age of thirty-five.’

He didn’t make that target until later in his life – and he went on to become Prime Minister in July.  But will he still be PM by the end of this year … ?

Who knows??

14 thoughts on “My Friday Post: Boris by Andrew Gimson

  1. Who knows, indeed, Margaret. I’ll be interested to know how this biography portrays Johnson, and what its concentration will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll see what I think – one of the quotes about the book on the back cover is from Boris Johnson: ‘It is all rubbish from start to finish – but well-written rubbish.’!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like it might be fun! I’m not exactly on Boris’s side politically but I can’t help having a huge soft spot for him. With him steering the ship, there’s a good chance of disaster but I bet the onboard entertainment will be great… 😉 Hope you enjoy this one – I’ll be waiting for your report!

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  3. Will be very interested in reading your thoughts on this when you’ve finished. I’ve never read anything about him but I have read his writing (his Churchill book) which I thought was excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t stand him and I’m amazed that people believe he must be brilliant because he can read Latin and Greek – allegedly. He was the worst scholar from Eton to be sent to Oxford according to his tutors. I am horrified to see that he and I share the same birthday! I’ll definitely give this one a miss.


    1. Boris is such a controversial figure and currently accused of being a liar and not to be trusted etc, but I thought given that he is PM that I should know more about him.


  5. These quotes is probably the only thing I will read about him, except articles in the paper. I understood he was a good and popular mayor of London (please correct me if I am wrong), but he should not have ventured further! Well, the future will tell!


    1. I know very little about him – which is why I thought of reading this biography. There is a chapter on his time as Mayor of London at the end of the book, so I hope I’ll know more after I’ve read it. Wikipedia reports that during his mayoralty, he banned alcohol consumption on much of London’s public transport, oversaw the 2012 Summer Olympics, and introduced the New Routemaster buses, cycle hire scheme, and Thames cable car.


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