The (almost) true story of a man Called Jack is about my father, John Frederick Lingard Fowlds. I decided to write this as a fictionalized memoir, combining the genres of fiction and memoir. By altering names and events, I could write about my family as ‘other’, enabling me to write more objectively of the personal events involved.
The story recounts Jack McPhee’s life through the nineteen fifties and sixties with his family in Silverstream, in the Hutt Valley north of Wellington. The McPhees live in a dilapidated old villa which would in today’s terms be known as ‘the worst house in the best street’. Thigh-high weeds are the garden, crazed concrete is the front yard. The four children share the one bedroom, and the parents sleep in the lounge. But Jack has a plan to renovate. Jack always has a plan. He tries his hand at signwriting, singing, acting and art, filling every minute of his short life.
The (almost) true story of a man called Jack will likely make you laugh, and cry, but it is certainly going to make you wish you had known the man called Jack.