Friends & LoversBook - 2005
'Dead men', they say, 'tell the most interesting tales'. In Mackenzie King's case that is certainly true. While he did not write his own life story because time simply ran out, he did leave behind his extensive diaries and personal letters which are an author's dream come true. Many writers accessed this material with the result that more has been written about King than about any other Canadian Prime Minister. The primary interest was in him as a politician and, as a result, the personal side of his life was either neglected or used to ridicule his memory. You need only mention his name and you are told of his intense love for his mother, of his interest in spiritualism (to the extent of 'talking' to the departed, including his little dogs) and then there were the reconstructed 'ruins' at his summer house in Kingsmere. It does not go much deeper than that.
What might have been learned about King's personal life had he written his autobiography? At one time he had considered doing this saying, '[I] should write my own memoirs when the right time comes, not lay bare my soul before others.' Had he written, it would surely have been a heavily censored story. It is difficult to think that he would have told the reader of his storms of passion or details of his sessions at the 'little table'. This book, Mackenzie King: Friends & Lovers , takes the reader into its confidence, introducing first his family background, then his closest friends, male and female. As well, there is a chapter on his association with the various Governors-General of Canada from 1900 to 1950. Yes, knowing King's life story as we now do, it would be interesting to learn how he would have written about it. Spiritualism seems to be on the decline but has anyone consulted the weegieboard recently?