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At My Mother's Knee...: and other low joints (Paul O'Grady Autobiography #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,775 Ratings  ·  115 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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Jan 29, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Polly Tiller
Jan 17, 2016 Polly Tiller rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 03, 2011 Selene rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
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."
Robbie Haigh-mclane
Jul 20, 2013 Robbie Haigh-mclane rated it it was amazing
Who would have thought such a man could make me cry reading this!! Emotional, funny , raw and full of life!
Jan 11, 2012 Shaun rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
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
Jun 12, 2012 Dekks rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 28, 2011 Debra rated it liked it
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.
Jan 13, 2009 Marie rated it it was amazing
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!
May 06, 2016 James rated it did not like it
Likeable and occasionally entertaining though Mr O'Grady might be - this book is certainly not 'hilarious' and ultimately just...pointless. (I only read it whilst a member of a reading group - the premise of the group being that members were encouraged to read books they might ordinarily never consider reading - thanks reading group!).
Oct 31, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-kindle
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
Jan 31, 2014 Charlie Trafford rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 04, 2016 Alexandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I mean no disrespect to Paul O'grady but this is what I imagine Jeffrey Archer aims for in his works of fictions and keeps failing at it.
Maybe Paul's secret ingredient is that the people in this are all real.
Jan 08, 2016 Bev rated it it was amazing
I've always liked Paul O'Grady, he's very funny and also seems to be a genuinely nice guy. I enjoyed this first instalment of his life story, it's written in an almost conversational, rambling style with the author going off at lots of interesting tangents.
Feb 04, 2015 Lynrose rated it it was amazing
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!
Jo Woolfardis | Infinite Variety Books
[Short review from memory until I re-read and re-review at a later date:

No memory really, but I assume quite amusing if not enlightening. Just your average autobiography, I think.]
Hayley Jackson
Jun 15, 2014 Hayley Jackson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
A great fun read, well written and personal. A lovely account of Paul's early life.
Alison Boyd
Apr 30, 2014 Alison Boyd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
A very enjoyable read, looking forward to reading the others.
Terry Ravenscroft
Feb 10, 2014 Terry Ravenscroft rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, biography
Eat you heart out Peter Kay.
David Highton
Paul's early life, with tongue-in-cheek good humour, if a bit long and rambling in places
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
Julie De Mattia
Sep 18, 2016 Julie De Mattia rated it really liked it
Love Paul O Grady and loved this book
Nov 04, 2012 Penroj rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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.

Janet McCord
Mar 26, 2014 Janet McCord rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2012 Joellen rated it liked it
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
Michelle Gaskell
Sep 17, 2014 Michelle Gaskell rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2014 Yeemay rated it liked it
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!
Jun 04, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
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.
Sep 06, 2015 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The man on TV with all the dogs from Battersea dogs home.
Who would have thought! after leaving a ship in Liverpool dock after another orgy would "walk the length of the dock to a chorus of catcalls and wolf whistles from the Dockers. Fuck 'em. Instead of running, head down, for the hole in the fence I was sashaying, head and two fingers up, out of the front gate".

A look at the early life and sexual life up to aged 18 (and no sign yet of Lily Savage)of Paul O'Grady
Pam Davidson
Jan 19, 2011 Pam Davidson rated it really liked it
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.
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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
More about Paul O'Grady...

Other Books in the Series

Paul O'Grady Autobiography (4 books)
  • The Devil Rides Out
  • Still Standing: The Savage Years
  • Open the Cage, Murphy!

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