Nick Place
at the Crikey sports desk
writes:

Spun Out, Paul Barry’s much-hyped
biography about Shane Warne, is now officially on the shelves but the most
fascinating question is whether the lasting damage is going to be to the
subject of this “warts and all” book or the author.

Barry has strayed outside of his usual
beats into what appears to be a murky tabloid take on Warne’s life and he might
just be set for a kicking even more savage than the one the published excerpts
suggest he has given Warney’s wandering eye.

To use a cricket analogy, Paul Toohey comes
in off the long run
on The Bulletin websitetoday,
writing:

Here’s what happens when a high-brow journalist leaves his comfort zone,
which is business, and decides to try something he knows nothing about, which
is humans, and hopes to move some big book sales along the way: one of the most
graceless and unfair pieces of investigative journalism ever pieced together in
this country.

He goes on:

For someone who
presumably spent months, if not years (by the standard of writing, let’s say
months) trying to dig around Warne’s life, Barry appears to have emerged
without any empathy for the person he was writing about. That, in human terms,
would be difficult for most writers to achieve – even if they were tackling a
murderer, war criminal or a s-x fiend. Yet Barry has done it.

Toohey is just warming up at this point and
it remains to be seen whether other reviewers will be as savage. Media
conspiracy theorists will no doubt join the dots between Toohey’s review being
published in The Bulletin, which
belongs to the Packers, with whom Warne is tight, but that would be unfair. The
venom of Toohey’s writing suggests he is genuinely outraged and so he’s played
the man every bit as much as Barry has.

In fact, the end of the Bulletin review
carries the cheeky line: “Paul Toohey
invites Paul Barry to review his forthcoming book, which is about Paul Barry.”
That sounds a lot like the literary equivalent of “Would you like to step
outside to settle this?”

Peter Fray

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