David Thomson, one of our most celebrated film writers, gives us a haunting, fascinating memoir about growing up as an only child in wartime England. He was born in London in the aftermath of the war, where he was raised by his mother, grandmother, and upstairs tenant, Miss Davis. He remembers how his grandmother brought him to a street corner to see Churchill and how the bombed-out houses that still smelled of smoke became his playground. We see Thomson attempt to overcome his profound sadness at being abandonded by his cold and distant father by finding solace in the cinema houses. Movies became his great escape, and the worlds revealed in Red River, The Third Man, and Citizen Kane helped to alleviate his loneliness and bolster his rich imaginative life.
David Thomson, author most recently of "Have You Seen . . . ?" is a regular contributor to The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, Movieline, The New Republic, and Salon. He lives in San Francisco.