Delinquent Angel: Shelton Lea by Diana Georgeff is a lovely yet honest laying out of the Melbourne-based poet's life with no gilding of the lily.
He was adopted into the Melbourne branch of the famous Darrell Lea family but set to fail immediately due to several factors, not the least being the woman who couldn't be a mother.
He broke the law, he stole, took drugs, drank like a fish disappointed many but he did what hadn't been done since the likes of Lawson and Paterson graced our fair land - he proudly stood up and shared his poems to all and sundry up and down the east coast of Oz, he challeneged bored students in schools, he spouted poetry to bikers, he captured many within his net of prose and showed them how relevant poetry was, still, in this day and age.
The author, Diana Georgeff knew Shelton through going to school with his adopted sister but hasn't applied any rose-coloured glasses in this biography.
Turana Boys Home in all its hideous technicolour revolting detail is there, as is C Block in Pentridge (back in the days when prisoners had a cess pool in the exercise yard not a swimming pool), Menzies Boys Home at Oliver's Hill in Frankston, St Joseph's Boy's Home and others, these have all been well covered, researched and painted in the roles they took shaping Shelton Lea's life.
The biography follows the inevitable, sad, conclusion with the early death of the heavy smoking poet but it has already done it's job; it has brought Lea's poetry to life yet again.