James “Freddie” Hughes: “A Man for All Seasons” Book Review by Terry Brady

By anguillian May 22, 2017 11:04 Updated



freddy book

The ink is dry: the autobiography of Freddie Hughes, an Anguillian gentleman of remark is now available. Technically, this is not an independent book review, because I know and admire Freddie unabashedly.

Now available: James “Freddie” Hughes: “A Man for All Seasons” (Photo by Melinda Goddard)

However, my advice is to buy the book. Read the book. Buy a second copy of the book, and give it to your favorite relative or best friend. Freddie’s story (as told to Reverend, Doctor Wycherley Gumbs, collaborator, editor and publisher) is a tale of multiple complexities, beginning circa 1930 and continues up until today. The story is told through Freddie’s context and family, set obviously in the West Indies and Anguilla.

One opinion not expressly revealed in the writing (notwithstanding Freddie’s humble beginnings) was the idea of “lucky Freddie”. However, readers will certainly fathom that he was born of rare and substantial stock, had a good head and much support, and was as lucky as someone with a flock of guardian angels, ducking death and defying peril.

But, Freddie was also lucky and enjoyed great standing everywhere, because he was smart, glib, handsome, of grand stature and occasionally adorable when it mattered most. He courted and married the indomitable, incomparable Teacher Dorothy, perhaps his luckiest turn of good fortune.

Dr. Gumbs was perhaps too gentle in regard to the indisputable fact (without actually saying it), that “a cargo boatman especially in those years” had to be part scalawag, part charming pirate, and part rum-running seaman with a fid, marlinspike and sextant in their ditty bag. Freddie could “box a compass” and “shoot the sun” at midday while manning the helm in foul weather. As any able-bodied seaman will explain, luck could only take you so far while commanding a cargo ship heading to a distant Caribbean seaport.

Yet, the finely crafted story ultimately laid-out by Dr. Gumbs is not a tall-tell, but rather the gripping circumstance of Anguilla as reported in Freddie’s firsthand and amazingly photographic memory, contrasted by contemporary musings and moral conundrums facing Anguilla today. Freddie’s story will surely enrich the life and understanding of everything Anguilla for any reader who enjoys the fabric and texture of humanity and rich culture. This is a book for all seasons.

The book may be purchased for $20 USD at Hughes Medical Centre, Paradise Cove and the Anguilla Drug Store.

By anguillian May 22, 2017 11:04 Updated


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