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The Beautiful People

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  678 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
A wickedly funny memoir with echoes of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Beautiful People (originally published in hardcover as Nasty) is now a BBC comedy hit series from the producer of Ab Fab and The Office.

Proclaimed "the most brilliant, brash thing in type" by Liz Smith, Simon Doonan's saucy prose has established him as an emerging star among literary humorists.
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Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published (first published May 24th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mary
Jun 28, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my...I spent this afternoon laughing and laughing until I started to cough up a lung, thanks to Mr. Doonan's book Nasty. I caught an episode of the tv show "Beautiful People" on the logo channel; this show is based on this book, "Nasty - My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints". Highly recommend both the show and, especially, this book.

Here is a tidbit from page 221: (he has been describing his fear of death and catching a deadly disease...)
"Somehow, I managed to elude Death for another year
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Doug Beatty
Jul 10, 2010 Doug Beatty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up because I have been watching the tv show "Beautiful People" on logo. Boy, the TV show takes some liberties with the book, it has a few basic plot points but that is about it!

But the book was a light and funny read, and has some vignettes about Doonan's life. It is not concentrated on his childhood like the TV show, but instead offers some tales from his childhood, his mother Betty and her large hairdo, his Father Terry and the homemade wine, his grandmother Narg, his schizo
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Bree
Jun 24, 2010 Bree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-10
I so want Simon Doonan to be my personal BFF, decorator, shrink and partner in crime. What a delightful read- he's a kindred spirit fo' sho'.
Highjump
Funny book, but some of the language is a little outdated now and borders on offensive. Probably won't read again but I enjoyed it.
Wanett
Sep 30, 2010 Wanett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love him even more after reading this book! I read Eccentric Glamour first and happily drowned in a sea of British humor, biting sarcasm and gay wit.British humor, biting sarcasm and gay wit. I became aware of Doonan as a writer when I fell in love with the BBC2 series The Beautiful People based on this book. This show makes me laugh so hard that I don’t even watch it while the kids are awake. I want everyone I know to watch this show so that we can use Kylie’s mashed up slang.

What I didn’t re
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M.
Mar 04, 2014 M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely by accident I came across the TV series called "The Beautiful People". After initial consternation, I quickly got engrossed into the story of a little aesthete from Reading who is dreaming of moving to London and meeting the beautiful people. I didn't know who Simon Doonan was but I decided to buy the book which was adapted into that series.
The first thing we learn is that Simon Doonan is much older than the characters from the BBC production and that there is a distinct story from w
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Madeline Knight-Dixon
This may be the best memoir I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Set in post-WWII Britain, Simon is a poor kid growing up gay in England. The entire book is about the challenges he faced, from the threat of schizophrenia running in the family to how to navigate the world when almost completely broke, to alcoholism in various forms.

What makes this book so remarkable though is that Doonan doesn’t shy away from any of the “nastier” aspects of his life. Every gross detail is there, in ways that ar
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Catherine Wynne
Aug 29, 2013 Catherine Wynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its so weird--I've seen Simon Doonan on TV and thought he was a bit--well, kind of smug and kinda snobby--maybe its just the way the Brits are..but since I'm obsessed with fashion and the fact he has the best job in the world--i.e. the Barney's gig, I pre-ordered "The Asylum" and decided to to some reading of his other books.
I am soooooooooo happy I read "The Beautiful People"!!!
If you have any sort of familial dysfunction this is definitely the book to read! Wow! Mr. Doonan is just so wickedly
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Marina Schulz
I enjoyed reading this.

"Nasty" isn't continuous, but rather a lot of unrelated tales. Some are extremely funny, witty and forgettable, were as others the reader skims over.
Do I recommend this book? I'm not sure, I don't think I'd reread it, but it didn't have "nasty" taste. Were as not exactly devoid of content, "Nasty" is not what anyone would call overly profound. Touching at times but not all that deep.

I think that if you enjoyed the TV series like me, and are undecided between getting it or
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Ally
Oct 14, 2013 Ally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has all the elements that a drag-hag like me craves, and the writing is pleasantly passable to my classically-trained eye. In fact, you have to read it with a British accent. Doonan is a surprisingly excellent writer when you consider that he spent his life actually living, and not just cavorting in his avant-garde imagination. Being a member of a similar class of the fabulous poor and working-class club kids, I appreciated the esprit de corps inspired by tales of his childhood surroun ...more
Claire
Oct 19, 2009 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give it 4.5, I would.

Made me laugh out loud often. Often crazy situations viewed with humor and a light touch. Stories from throughout the author's life, happily skipping from one age to another and back (the author does like to skip after all).

Floor pillows, mentally ill relatives, "plaid bondage trousers," window dressing, and cool parents to a gay kid born in 1952: what more could you want?

If you liked "Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs, I bet you'll really enjoy this. I
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Juan Manuel Perez Pelayo
Simon Doonan, Barneys Window Display Designer, blogger of the Barneys babble and fashion extraordinaire, narrates his own memoir, in a very entertaining manner. Its personal, yet so relateable. It truly captured what I feel whenver I am in any of my cumbia-filled family reuninons in Guadalajara, where my mom is dancing around with the kids, my aunt cracking up about anything and every idiosyncratic trait that families have. Doonan is honestly an inspiration to anyone who aims for better, and its ...more
Samantha
Jul 09, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightfully nasty memoir from one of fashion's top creatives. Not nasty in a catty way, but nasty in a humourous "Hey, look at this funny thing that happened to me today!" type of way. I didn't want the book to end, but now it gives me an incentive to read Mr. Doonan's other books.

Mr. Doonan's imagery and use of words is wonderfully descriptive and campy. I think it's a good reflection of his personality and his interests (camp, exotica - self described). Sometimes though, his use of flowery
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Mike Jensen
Jul 18, 2013 Mike Jensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutley loved this memoir. The author is the inspiration for the BBC comedy "Beautiful People". There were only 2 short seasons of the show, but it chronicles his early teen years in Reading, England and I laugh my head off every time I see it. This guy has led such an interesting and quirky life, surrounded by odd ball family, friends, and experiences. Lots of references to gay culture that people may not understand.
Goose
Jan 08, 2012 Goose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of this book is either funny or amusing and I can see why they did a television show loosely based upon it. I never really cared too much for Simon Doonan when seeing him on televison and toward the end of this "memoir" I had filled up enough on his authorial voice to last two "memoirs" full. I am glad that my friend, who sent me the book to read, liked it enough to suggest it to me. Add a star to my review if you are a Simon Doonan fan or if your home is decorated by Jonathan Adler.
Carolyn
Having always considered Doonan a kindred spirit, I had high expectations for this -- and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. A few truly funny bits, and a few dear and moving love letters to his friends -- but there was something off in the writing/presentation of this. I'm impressed that he has other books -- and I would say that reading those others, like these, on a plane might be perfection.
George
Nov 13, 2014 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book of essays about his eccentric family and friends. I spent much time chuckling. Became interested after seeing the UK TV show based on this book. However, the show is updated to the 1990's where as the book is set firmly in the 1960's and 1970's. Also, the UK of Doonan's youth and his friends and family are all obviously white vs the multi-cultural, multi-racial update afforded by the series. Still both are fun.
Peter Millane
Aug 09, 2010 Peter Millane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a huge fan of the television series I was excited to read this and I was not disappointed. I would give it 5 stars if not for the chapter about Mundo.

I love that they were able to distill the essence of Simons life and give it a modern twist to create a show that would resonate with younger viewers. Even though Many of the historical references are before my time, Simons ability to paint a hilarious scene is wonderful.

Will recommend this to a few friends.
Michael
Oct 01, 2008 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Simon Doonan fans, aspiring middle-aged gays
Recommended to Michael by: Andrew's overstocked book cabinet
Uneven, but occasionally hilarious. I want to have a steady lunch date with Simon Doonan, and once in a while tag along to some ridiculously swanky event that he, too, thinks it's a little silly to attend. I learned what a Teddy-boy is/was, and that on AbFab they abbreviate "champagne" to "champers," which is no shorter, but very cute.

On the serious side, he painted the AIDS crisis of the 80's very well and humanly, I thought, and included the word "persnickety," earning bonus points.
Stephanie
May 20, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Doonan rampage continues. Oh this book was wonderful. Possibly better than Gay Men Don't Get Fat? Yes, I think so. Very funny and heartwarming and sad and smart. So happy that I have a few more Doonan books to go.
Nick
Aug 08, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love...daughter! Not quite a mirror to the BBC TV series x2 I loved but a beautiful compliment.
Sister Morticia
Jan 12, 2015 Sister Morticia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book!! I actually cried with laughter reading parts of it. Just a beautifully written, heartfelt autobiographical book.
Mardel Fehrenbach
I had a grand time reading this book. Parts of it were outrageously funny and some parts a bit uneven, but it was a fun read and a nice way to pass an otherwise gray afternoon.
Aubrey Hales-Lewis
Hilarious! If you've been able to somehow catch the show "Beautiful People" from LOGO/BBC you fall in love with Simon Doonan and the rest of his insane family.
Chelsea
Dec 02, 2007 Chelsea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book it was so boring. I got 175 pages into it thinking it would get better. But I think I will have to retire this bio back to the library.
Jessica
Jan 12, 2011 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
why did this book get such rave reviews? it boggles my mind. FAIL
Jane Routley
Jan 19, 2011 Jane Routley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glorious. A collection of columns from the writer behind the TV comedy Beautiful People.
My dear you can just imagine. Lots of laughs.
Julie
Nov 05, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fave quote: I lean nonchalantly on the toaster oven and attempt to conceal my cringing panic by exuding an aura of international savoir faire.
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Simon Doonan (born 1952) is the Creative Ambassador-at-Large of the New York City-based clothing store Barneys.

Source: Wikipedia.
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