For forty years Bernard wrote only about himself, and the tale of his life, loves and failures has become legendary. Reach for the Ground is an irresistible collection of the best of Jeffrey Bernard's celebrated Low Life contributions to the Spectator. The column was once described as 'a suicide note in weekly instalments' and became a national institution whose passing was noted with great sorrow. Peter O'Toole's affectionate introduction recalls a forty-year-old friendship and three sparkling autobiographical essays encapsulate the defining experiences of Bernard's life.
Jeffrey Bernard died in September 1997 after refusing to have any more dialysis treatments. His column in the Spectator, which began in 1978, chronicled his various medical, alcoholic and sexual adventures, invariably with wit and honesty. His unconventional lifestyle attracted the attention of Keith Waterhouse, who turned it into a hit play called Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, starring Bernard's lifelong friend Peter O'Toole in the title role.