Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s” as Want to Read:
Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  403 ratings  ·  31 reviews
With tales of bikes, television, sweets, good health, domestic harmony and happy holidays, Andrew Collins aims to bring a little hope to all those out there living with the emotional after-effects of a really happy childhood.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 6th 2003 by Ebury Press (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Where Did It All Go Right?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Where Did It All Go Right?

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 677)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I read this because neil h. reviewed it on his blog some years ago, describing it as the antidote to the popular memoirs of miserable childhoods a la Dave Peltzer. Neil pointed me to the audiobook version and I'm a little sorry I didn't get that because I would have enjoyed the author's voice. His British accent is much better and more authentic than the one in my head. But the book was a very entertaining and surprisingly nostalgic read. We grew up at the same time, in the late sixties and all ...more
I think my biggest take away from this nostalgia fest is that many of the modern anxieties we have about food, exercise, safety and children didn't exist back in the 70s and 80s. Kids ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, sausages for lunch, potato chip sandwiches for dinner and filled the gaps in between with additive enriched sweets and snacks. There were no helicopter parents organizing every moment of a child's life, from carefully calibrated diet to an education road map. And yet, in spite of t ...more
Where Did It All Go Right? - Growing up normal in the 70s. Andrew Collins' memoirs of his normal nontraumatic childhood and teenage years in Northampton, smallish East Midlands town. An answer to all the McCourts, Pelzers and co. with their miserable childhoods.

And normal certainly doesn't mean boring. Before I started reading the book just thinking about it made me smile/laugh. Collins writes in a very funny/entertaining way, and I enjoyed every page of the book. My 70s were the (glorious) 90s
I didn't grow up in the 70's but that didn't stop me enjoying this book. It had a lot of laugh out loud moments. And kids in the 70's did have some things in commen with kids in the 90's. Well me and my sisters at least. Like my nan knitting clothes for my Barbie dolls (Andrews nan did it for action men), making bases, climbing trees, the fear of getting dog muck on your shoes. Mainly all the outside stuff. Major differences would be Andrews getting less Christmas presents and instead of him ge ...more
Anthony Fisher
I read the reviews before purchasing this book and was impressed. However, I have struggled to read it. Basically, I found it quite dull and disjointed. There are too many footnotes and it was not easy (to be fair, probably due to the small print of the book) to see the notations. This spoilt the flow of the book, with me constantly trying to link the footnote to the notation. Generally I think it wrong to use so many footnotes and in this case I feel the author could have simply added the conte ...more
I'm close to Andrew Collins age, if slightly behind him in years, and so could relate in many ways to this book.

I was raised in an even more provincial town, with no opportunities for convenient travel to cities or even large towns.

He put the trials and tribulations down on paper so well: it evoked many strong memories for me.

This may not grab you if you are from a different generation, but it does express beautifully the adolescent angst that boys go through.

I'm going to get my son to read it
Mar 08, 2009 Catherine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone born in 1965
Shelves: bookcrossing
As someone a mere few months younger than the author who also had to go to Solihull to fall over on ice this was a real nostalgia fest. While there were some fairly substantial differences in our personal circumstances, not least that of gender, this book evoked the culture and feel of a childhood and adolescence that I'd remembered with different (although no less happy) emphases and so was continually reminding me of things I'd not quite forgotten: food, television programmes, music, a child's ...more
Amusing autobiography, supplemented by diary entries, of a lower? middle class boy (born 1965) growing up normal in Northampton, where/when nothing very extraordinary happened. Good, but publishing a second volume (Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now) is probably milking the idea too much.

It's interesting to compare this with two other memoir-ish books by relatively normal male Brits of the same generation:

David Mitchell's Black Swan Green
best of the three, Nigel Slater's Toast
Juliana Graham
Even though I'm a bit younger than Andrew and really grew up in the 80s rather than the 70s, I was still able to find quite a few familiar references in this book which I found quite amusing. I liked the fact that Andrew kept a diary from such a young age and so had a good basis to start from in his autobiography and I think he's captured the drama of life as a child or teenager quite well. I'll probably read Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now at some point as I think I'll be able to relate to that ...more
This is frankly the worst book I have ever read.
Jun 12, 2015 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children of the 70s.
Nowadays Andrew Collins is a journalist who writes about films and music, but when he was growing up he wanted to be an artist. One of the vehicles for his artistic aspirations was a diary that he kept from the age of 6 to 20.

This book is a memoir of a child growing up in a middle class family in the East Midlands, the eldest of three children. It sets out very deliberately to be an antidote to the 'Misery Memoirs' which have been inexplicably popular in the past. The back cover misquotes the Ph
May 02, 2007 Lara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who were once children
I absolutely bloody loved this book but I do have something of a weakness for male authors writing about their provincial upbringings. I particularly liked the premise that that not all books about growing up need to be 'Angela's Ashes'.It was also a relief that Andrew Collins' speaking voice did not echo in my ears as I read.
I love this book and have read it a few times since it first came out in 2003. It's one I save for times when I need a lot of cheering up and it never fails to do the trick.

I'm a couple of years older than Andrew Collins, but all the references to life in the 1970s really take me back to my own childhood - pop-a-point pencils anyone?

What strikes me most when reading it now is the freedom we had as kids in the 70s, you could be out all day during the summer holidays, but as long as you were home
Barbara VA
Well when I saw this book for the first time I thought that it would be right for me, I think of myself as having grown up in the 70's but I guess I really am more of a 60's girl. Andrew starts then years after me and in England. I really enjoyed the writing even though there was so much I could not relate to! I should have read this a few months from now at my friend's house in Portishead, to translate so much. I cannot believe how all of his diaries survived as well as drawings to set down his ...more
Incredibly slight memoir about what it was to grow up in the Seventies in a warm and loving environment, where you sat with your folks and happily watched "Ask the Family" together and you played in a field with your mates after school. The author states he was motivated to write this as a backlash against the angst and abuse riddled autobiographies of Dave Peltzer and his ilk, which is to be applauded, but I was somewhat disappointed that a "normal" upbringing was portrayed as mind-numbingly no ...more
I was told this book was exteremely funny, a witty look at a "normal" upbringing.

I read the book because I listen to the Collings and Herrin podcast. In fact, I bought all three books in the series. Sadly, this just came across as very dull. The diary extracts went on for too long, and nothing really happened.

I will read the other two - I expect that the next one will be much more interesting. I bloody hope so, anyway!
Other people's diary accounts are never really as interesting as they are to the writer; unless they happen to have had an extraordinary life. The case is definitely true for Mr. Collins.

It was an interesting read in some ways as it prompted lots of memories and discussion about food eaten during the decade. However, I can completely understand other readers who found the book tedious and dull.
Natasha (Diarist) Holme
Apr 17, 2012 Natasha (Diarist) Holme rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children of the 1970s
A likeable book, though I sometimes wanted to like it more than I did. It could have been juicier ... but that was the point. As a record of an uneventful childhood, this is clever.

Had Andrew Collins grown up a few years later, had all the diary entry references to bikes and sweets and music been references to my own childhood backdrop, I would be in love with this book.
A pleasant and charming, if unremarkable, memoir. I vaguely recognised the guy from his appearances as a talking head on those Jimmy Carr-fronted nostalgia programmes - that figures. Not entirely sure how he got a book deal for this, though.

Gastronomically obsessed as I am, however, I enjoyed the food-related passages. That also figures.
Started this book while on holiday - it's a book hubby he has been attempting to read for about a year. Mainly because is it about the area near where we live and about a time we remember. It was great reading about things that we also did as children (although the author is a little older than me!) The diary extracts are fun - all round a pleasent read!
It's my childhood - growing up in London, England in the 70s - amusingly retold. The era when kids spent all their time in the school holidays out on their bikes and just turned up back at home around tea time. Such a shame that modern kids don't have those freedoms. Magical times. Well worth reading. Like a 'Cider with Rosie' for the seventies generation.
I liked the idea behind this book: instead of writing about a terrible childhood, like most autobiographies, the author writes about how good, or at least normal, his childhood has been. Unfortunately, this also makes for a very boring book... I guess this book shows why autobiographies about terrible childhoods are so succesful...
Alan Hughes
This is an antidote to the "tragic life" books and the opposite of "My Life up a Close". This is nostalgia.and nothing much else. While entertaining for a short while, if you are the target demographic, as little happens it does not hold one's attention through to the end
Didn't live up to its promise, either that or my upbringing in the 70's was quite a lot more unconventional. I had always thought cornwall was behind the times but reading this Northampton sounds as if it was a good 3-4 years behind us.
Donna Rodgers
Nice bit of nostalgia here - Andrew is the same age as me - apart from his family having a bit more money than mine, we led almost parallel lives. Loved this book - if you were born in mid 60's Britain this is a must read!
I'm the same age as Mr Collins so this brought back a lot of memories. I enjoyed it most up to 1977 (age 12) whereas the teenage years had me cringing more than laughing. I feel a bit mean only giving it 3 stars.
Quite entertaining as a nostalgia trip through the seventies, but the actual diary extracts were barely readable - I ended up skipping through most of them. Still, it raised a smile or two :)
This started brilliantly, lots and lots of memories, but as he gets into being a teenager he gets boring and crass (just like a teenager)!
This was my life too - so much in common, so many memories ignited.
Sharon Wilkinson
very funny. Anyone born in the late 60's/early 70's should read this!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 23 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cider With Roadies
  • Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star
  • Thank You for the Days: A Boy's Own Adventures in Radio and Beyond
  • How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of.
  • Are You Dave Gorman?
  • Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun.
  • Stalin Ate My Homework
  • Robin Ince's Bad Book Club: One Man's Quest To Uncover The Books That Time Forgot
  • Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography
  • Different for Girls: A Girl's Own True-life Adventures in Pop
  • Becoming Johnny Vegas
  • Things Can Only Get Better: Eighteen Miserable Years in the Life of a Labour Supporter, 1979-1997
  • Paperboy
  • My Favourite People 1978 to 1988
  • Awkward Situations for Men
  • That Close
  • Reasons To Be Cheerful
  • A Piano In The Pyrenees: The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now: My Difficult 80s Billy Bragg: Still Suitable for Miners: The Official Biography That's Me in the Corner: Adventures of an ordinary boy in a celebrity world Billy Bragg: Still Suitable for Miners Science Chapters: Violent Weather: Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes

Share This Book