Back in 2012 in the run up to the release of Skyfall a friend recommended a book to me. It was an analysis of the James Bond films written by the Grandson of Albert R Cubby Broccoli's chauffer.
Now at the time I remember thinking that this would be another forulaic analysis of 50 years of James Bond films with a bit of name dropping for good measure.
Now I'm writing this review to say that I was wrong, (and I don't admit to that very often). Not only is Catching Bullet's by Mark O'Connell an excellent book that looks at 007 movies through the unique perspective of someone who had a family member working at the heart of the EON Productions family but also examines, with a tremendous amount of humour, what it was like growing up amongst the pop culture of the 80's, whilst trying to come to terms with your sexuality and the fact that there were two James Bond's before Roger Moore.
Instead of looking at the films in the order that they were released the book takes a look at the films in the order that young Master O'Connell saw them – and his experience of watching them for the first time. A lot of the adventures that Mark shares within the pages of his book rang a bell with me as I'm sure they will with any reader aged 30 plus and the detailed clarity with which Mark looks at his past makes you think that the events described happened yesterday – not a few decades ago!
The books is unusual in that it doesn't fit into just one category of book. Yes it is part biographical - looking at Jimmy O'Connell and his work as a driver for Cubby Broccoli and Eon Productions. Yes - it is part autobiographical - with Mark O'Connell vibrantly sharing with us what it was like for him growing up in the decade that taste forgot. Yes it is a humorous, slightly critical look at the Bond movies. And yet despite being a little bit of all of these things it doesn't dilute the content of this book - it works as an enjoyable read in all of these different categories and is quite simply a great read!
I don't want to give too much away as the book is so engrossing and draws you into the written word I don't want to spoil that for you. But what I do want to share that Catching Bullets was the reason that this website came into being. In the past I had attempted to write 007 related articles and stories - but in a journalistic way that didn't show any passion or real liking of what I was writing about. So I knocked the project on the head and that was that. But then when I read this book I realised that you could write about a subject in a geeky 'fan way and it would appeal to people. So thank you for the inspiration Mr O'Connell.
Anyway - back to the book.
Despite my initial misgivings this books is unlike anything I've read about 007 before – and that's a fair few books. It's what I like to call a Bath Book – and by that I mean that it's one of those books that you can pick up flick through and read for a minute or an hour and still be thoroughly entertained. Books like this are rare – but a Godsend when you have a 5 and a 4 year old and little time to do anything for yourself – hence Bath Book – as that's usually the only time I get any peaceful time to read.
So do yourself a favour - catch Catching Bullets and add it to your over-burdened Bond bookshelf.
TO READ THE BONDMISC INTERVIEW WITH MARK O'CONNELL CLICK "HERE"