I must have been virtually the only school-kid in Merseyside whose walls were filled with Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi rather than those kings of the kop Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush. My boyhood heroes didn't score goals at Anfield or anywhere else for that matter, they drove Ferraris at breakneck speed around places such as Monaco and Spa.
And so after years of meaning to read Mr Donaldson's book I finally got round to it. And I can honestly say it has been worth the wait.
As a huge fan of Ferrari and Gilles and Didier I knew as much as the next man about the Canadian - information picked up in various articles and books, but I always knew that Donaldson's book was the definitive text. And you know what? I was right - it is.
Taking the reader back to Gilles' childhood in provincial Quebec, the book is particularly rich in detail concerning the racer's formative years. Helped by plenty of input from Johann Villeneuve the reader is immersed into a world that could not have been further from the glitz and glamour of Formula One.
Using his access to the Villeneuve's very judiciously, Donaldson is able to effortlessly paint a picture of a young daredevil starting to become aware of his own potential. There's some very vivid background here - plenty on Gilles' parents, his musical talents and some very well realised accounts of the romance between Gilles and Johann.
A picture soon emerges of a rather singular young man, and a portrait that is not always entirely flattering. Though he knew Villeneuve well and had followed his career in North America and Europe, Donaldson wisely avoids the trap of becoming too unctuous.
Instead he lets Villeneuve's many admirers sing his praises. While accounts from the likes of Walter Wolf and Jody Scheckter pertaining to the driver's rather reckless attitude to road safety may appeal to some, others will be less impressed. Endangering the lives of himself and others may once have seemed heroic, but times change.
The chief strength of this book lies in the first hand accounts from the man himself. Donaldson has included a whole host of excerpts of Gilles ruminating abut his life and career, which really do bring the man behind the legend to life. It's almost as if one can actually hear Gilles' voice. For someone who had read so much about him in the third person, it's somewhat of a minor revelation to get so 'close' to him.
As a result this book is not just another plodding racing biography. It also charts the ups and downs of the Villeneuve's marital relations helping to forge a very human picture of a couple who sometimes struggled to adjust to their lives in the media spotlight.
Overall this book is a delicious blend of the personal and the professional. All the legendary achievements from the racetrack are here together with plenty of poignant tales of a young couple who left the icy frontiers of Canada eventually ending up on the French Riviera where fame and fortune awaited them.
Mr Donaldson's book is that rare achievement in motor sport literature in that it can be read and enjoyed by motor racing and non-motor racing fans alike.