This is not just another sportsman’s memoir – this is an extraordinarily candid memoir that transcends sport and centres on Jonny’s life away from the pitch, in an incredible story of triumph over adversity. It’s taken almost a decade for Jonny to come to terms with what happened when he was a child, but in A Clear Blue Sky he shares his story for the first time. A story about his family, about grief, and about how the loss of a life can inspire you to truly live one.
When Jonny was just 8 years old his father committed suicide, Jonny discovered his body when he got in from school. David ‘Bluey’ Bairstow was an England and Yorkshire cricketing legend, “ebullient, extrovert, and hugely popular” and with a zest for life. Just 46 years-old, David suffered from depression, in a time and within a culture when male mental health problems weren’t talked about or acknowledged.
Overnight Jonny’s life was changed, his father’s passing even more painful in the wake of the diagnosis of Jonny’s mother with a particularly aggressive form of cancer just a matter of weeks previously. These months defined Jonny as a man – defined his toughness and grit and fuelled an incredibly close family dynamic. In the most challenging of circumstances, the Bairstow family looked ahead.
It was his father who Jonny was thinking of when he lifted his head towards the heavens, looking up to the sky with eyes shut in Cape Town last year when he scored his first Test Century, in what has since become an iconic image.
Sport gave Jonny a focus, it saved him. A natural athlete, Jonny played rugby and football before eventually choosing cricket, and building a career that echoed his father’s. At 27, some might consider Jonny Bairstow too young to be one of England Cricket’s greats, but over the past two years Jonny has silenced any critics. If his record breaking play in 2016 – where he scored more Test runs than any other wicketkeeper in history – didn’t place him firmly in the Hall of Fame, then his phenomenal play this year certainly has.
Written with the critically acclaimed and multiple-William Hill award- winning writer Duncan Hamilton, A Clear Blue Sky is Jonny’s incredibly powerful and remarkable story of loss, resilience, determination and hope. This book will shine a light on depression, and the staggeringly high suicide rates in our cricketers – English cricketers are almost twice as likely to commit suicide as the average male and have a suicide rate higher than players of any other sport.
Fiercely honest and hugely uplifting, A Clear Blue Sky is a rare exploration of life after loss – this is sports writing at its absolute finest.