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At My Mother's Knee...: and other low joints

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,283 ratings  ·  97 reviews
In his own uniquely acid tongue, Paul O'Grady traces the hilarious tales of life in Irish Catholic Birkenhead that took him from a virtuous altar-boy ("my first drag") to Britain's best loved entertainer. It's a life that includes, varyingly, stints in an abbatoir, as a social worker, in a high-class Mayfair brothel, and traipsing down to London to chase his dreams. By 23, ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Transworld Publishers (first published January 22nd 2008)
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Hannah
I love Paul O'Grady and he couldn't have been more true to himself in his book if he'd tried. I laughed so hard reading this book that I cried, and the only criticism I have of it at all is that it ended, when I wanted it to go on and on. If you're a fan of Paul O'Grady you should read this, you will love it.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The title caught my eye because it was something my mum always used to say: "I learned it at my mother's knee--or some other low joint." I really enjoyed Paul's chat show, and admire what he has done to encourage pet adoptions. Having read Paul O'grady: The Biography (typical British-written "authorised biography" stuff, style and all) I was interested to see what he had to say for himself.

The tone is certainly different, as is the emphasis. I had expected a bit more elaboration of family dynami
...more
Polly Tiller
When I was writing my book "I Need an Exorcism" I read Paul O'Gradys books, At My Mothers Knee, The Devil Rides Out and Still Standing. Now I re-read his books if I need to cheer myself up. I have read them a few times now. Struggling with my book I even pretended I was telling Paul a story to get me to write better. Much of my humour in my book I've managed as a result of reading Paul's books. I am the same age as Paul so it was very interesting to compare where I was at in my life when he was ...more
Dreamer
Totally hilarious, couldn't put it down..
"It was Brother Kearney who gave my mother her favourite quote about me. He was the one who said 'born to trouble as sparks fly upwards'. 'Job, chapter five, verse seven,' my mother had replied, completely knocking the wind out of his sails."
Janet McCord
With an acid-tongue and a heart of gold, Paul O'Grady's tale of his childhood in Birkenhead outside Liverpool is both hilarious and heartbreaking with a bit of Dickensian squalor and pathos thrown in for good measure. Even though Paul and I are the same age, his childhood couldn't have been any different than mine if he'd grown up on a different planet! Still, the practice of looking at tragedy and struggle with a quip and a smile or a laugh is one I grew up with too so in some ways, I understan ...more
Selene
Now I like Paul O'Grady, I really do but... This was so boring! He tells it as it was, rather than in his TV voice - and I like the TV voice so it just didn't make me want to carry on. Got about half way through.
Robbie Haigh-mclane
Who would have thought such a man could make me cry reading this!! Emotional, funny , raw and full of life!
Penroj
As a scouser myself, I really enjoyed this book being familiar with all the places he writes about is obviously helpful, but even so Paul paints the pictures with his words very well.

This cover's his early years ending when his is in his 18th year, he does not hide or candy coats his experiences which I believe says a lot about his character, it could have been all to easy to show himself in a better light, but this shows him for the "scally" (scouse term for trouble maker) he really was.

People
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Yeemay
Not a particular fan of PG but remembered a reviewer saying he hadn't expected to enjoy it but had loved it. I have a deep suspicion of celebrities turned writers (Ben Elton, Stephen Fry) but Alexei Sayle wrote some very funny and impressive books. Fortunately I enjoyed this. It made me laugh and cry and took me back to my childhood when I lived in Birkenhead for a couple years. Great way to end the book too!
Princess Hannah
I loved this book - it provided a fascinating insight into Paul O'Gradys early life and family history. There were times when I laughed out loud, times when I felt sad and not a moment when I was ever bored.
I can't wait to read his next book to continue the journey - it has definitely increased my liking for this man!
Joellen
It was a good book, a bit long and uninteresting sometimes, but generally a decent read. I can't say that I'd recommend it to everyone though, his sense of humor definitely demands a certain type of person (If your not British and used to the British sense of humor, no offense guys but it is different from the American sense of humor)

I did have a few favorite stories, dont worry I wont go into details, just suffice to say, some Americans can get the humor yay! lol.

All in all, though back to the
...more
Lynrose
I absolutely loved it! I can't believe that by the end of the book he's only just reached the age of 18 and not yet got into show business. It's completely absorbing, hilarious and vividly written. I can't wait for the next installment of his life!
Book Addict Shaun
This is one of my favourite autobiographies. I have been a fan of Paul O'Grady for a long time, I think he's fantastic and funny without even trying to be. I loved his teatime show on Channel 4. This book chronicles his life up until (I think) he is 18 and is very funny.

I am from Liverpool so recognised the places he was talking about from my side of the water, but not the places he wrote about from his side. But that didn't matter. It was fantastic reading about Paul's life growing up and what
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Caroline
I loved this book. It was heartwarming, funny, sometimes sad but above all, brutally honest.
I laughed out loud at Paul's shenanigans and I cried at the end. This is hands down the best autobiography I have read to date.
Charlie Trafford
I'm a mega huge O'Grady fan, I love this man, his devotion to animals is just amazing, He can do no wrong in my eyes, this is a funny, sad and comical book, telling the story of Paul's early life in Birkenhead.
Penny O'connell
A great book written by a much loved personality. Paul has really captured his personality and translated it through the pages. A must read for any fan
Hayley Jackson
A great fun read, well written and personal. A lovely account of Paul's early life.
Alison Boyd
A very enjoyable read, looking forward to reading the others.
Mandy
Not really the kind of thing I usually read. A few amusing moments, but a struggle to stay with it to the end, and then disappointed that it did not go far enough to tell how Paul got into show business.
Gloria
Jan 09, 2015 Gloria added it
Not sure when I finished this, but guessing 2009
Michelle Gaskell
Loved this book!! Love Lily Savage!! Didn't know much about the man behind her but I now love Paul O'Grady too!! Honest and candid, it felt like I grew up beside him. As if he was part of my family. Some of his antics had me giggling to myself and others had me rolling around the floor in stitches. He even made me cry!! A highly recommendable book for anyone who's a fan. Only set back was I was hungry for more...and that's when I learned there was a second book...and after that one, a third! Ver ...more
Terry Ravenscroft
Eat you heart out Peter Kay.
Dekks
Read this on bit of a Whim and found it utterly engrossing, I was never a particular fan of Lilly Savage or Paul O'Grady, but he is a fantastic writer. Other autobiography writers should take note, his stories are interesting but despite being written by the protagonist himself, I never felt anything was played down or over dramatized, and that he simply wrote about his experiences growing up without any prejudice or spin on his part.

Looking forward to reading the next installment of his life.
Marie
I found this to be an entertaining read, I knew he had a colourful background he is frank and honest and you can see where Lily came from, his family is interesting,the women are strong, powerful and compassionate stubborn creatures who are every bit as colourful as our Paul, the men hold a prehapes quieter place, but are none the less as inportant, it was interesting reading about his feelings and confusion about his sexuality,a recommend but possibly for fans only - cant wait for the sequel!
Debra
I enjoyed quite a bit of this book. I found it interesting to find out about life in Birkenhead for Paul O'Grady, as it's an area I know. There were some funny stories, which were entertaining. There was also some sad moments. There were some good observations from his own memories which were good. The book showed the ups and downs of life. There were some bits that were a bit slow at times. Reading about someone's early life makes you look at them differently.
Paul
I found it lying around at my parents' place and didn't expect much, but Mr O'Grady is an engagingly sympathetic character, so I kept with him as he stumbled through his pious Catholic upbringing, between boyfriends and girlfriends, consistently disappointing and disgusting his parents and their relatives. It's a good read, particularly if you like the word "peripatetic" or have no desire of a Polari glossary for when he lands in London.
Pam Davidson
Paul tells the story of his early upbringing in working class Liverpool with superb detail, emotion and good humour. He recalls the colourful characters of his family and friends with great affection. He tells how, during his teen years he was curious abuut both men and women, and not being afraid to experiment. The book ends in his eighteenth year when his life is changed forever, and leaves you eager to read his next installment.
Rachael Pedersen
Loved the first half of this book, it was so witty and had me laughing out loud on many occassions. I especially loved how he described his Mum and the things she used to do.
Towards the end I found it lost it's humour and began to be more about his going out onto the gay scene. I thought he should have stopped writing around chapter 15.
Still, I reccomend this as a great read, something easy, perfect for holiday.
Lisa Bennett
I've rewritten this, because when I wrote it originally, I had only read half the book, and upto that point it was really shit, but when he stopped writing about his mother, after half way through, it finally got interesting, and started talking about him, and his life growing up etc. hope we see another book, after his later life etc, that would be more interesting. i've changed my score from a 1 star to 3 stars.
Samantha Wormstone
I do really like this book, and it was a good read, I did find that in some parts you had to put a bit of effort into reading it but it was worth it. It was funny in parts but also serious in others. Also, the part where he was giving his mother dope: Hilarious!!
I think he describes his mother well, his second auto-biography has just come out, hopefully buying that soon
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Paul James Michael O'Grady MBE (born 14 June 1955) is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio DJ. He is best known for presenting the daytime chat television series, The Paul O'Grady Show and, more recently, Paul O'Grady Live, as well as his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, as whom he performed in various television series including Blankety Blank (1997–1999) a ...more
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