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Look Back in Hunger

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Jo Brand is one of Britain's funniest and best-loved comedians. With a sharp eye for the absurd and in her own unique voice she tells her story for the first time.

What possessed her to become a professional comedian in the cut-throat world of stand-up comedy after ten years as a psychiatric nurse? How did she deal with late night drunken audiences? Raised in middle class c
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Headline Review
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Aug 19, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
The one part of Jo Brand that doesn't come across as big in her comedy is her heart. Or rather, didn't, until she did 'Getting On', when her world-weary nurse routine was beautifully tempered by compassion. Thankfully, her big heart does shine through here; this seems to have disappointed a lot of readers, expecting to scream with laughter at her dysfunctional upbringing which quite simply didn't exist.

The only downside is that it has added fuel to the little fire that has been kindling at the b
Sep 11, 2011 Grete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t often read non-fiction books and its even more rare for me to read an autobiography. A couple have caught my eye and I’ve thought ‘yes, I’d like to read that’ but not gone any further. I’m not sure why I find them so hard to get in to but then everyone’s interests are different and my taste mainly runs to fiction.

However, Jo Brand is one of my all time favourite comedians, I love her dry sense of humour and honest observations about life, and have been a fan for many years. Look back in
Natalie Bowers
Aug 12, 2014 Natalie Bowers rated it really liked it
I whizzed through this book in two days flat which is not bad considering I’m surrounded by kids! The main reason for me whizzing through this book is that it’s just so darn readable. I felt as if Jo Brand were sitting next to me, telling me her life story over a coffee and a great big slice of cake. I bought the book simply because I find Jo Brand funny, and I find memoirs interesting, but I didn’t realise I’d be able to relate to so many of her experiences. Even though she’s almost 20 years ol ...more
Antony Simpson
Dec 23, 2015 Antony Simpson rated it really liked it

Look Back in Hunger by Jo Brand was a Christmas gift to me from my friend Sye last year. As a big fan of Jo Brand I couldn’t wait to read it, finally finishing it about a month ago.

Jo’s use of witty chapter titles and writing as she would talk instantly engages the reader. Your hooked from page one, even though the subject is about motorways ones she loves and ones she doesn’t. The majority of the book focuses on her late teenage years and her early adult years before she
Jul 20, 2015 Cateyesunglasses rated it it was amazing
Excellent read for anyone who likes Jo Brand, personally she's one of my favorite comics. This book goes from Jo Brand's childhood through her teenage years and her professional nurse career up to her decision to become a comic (this book is not about her career as a comic at all in my opinion, it's much more about her life previous to that).
It's quite chronological even if there are some 'digressions' from time to time, but they are all related in some way and/or really funny, so no problem the
Saoirse Sterling
[Quick, short review from memory before I re-read and re-review:

Unsure but I remember certain periods from her life which come in handy when she's on Would I Lie to You? which is always grand. Probably re-read just to figure out.]
Dead John Williams
May 31, 2015 Dead John Williams rated it liked it
Shelves: my-favs, reviewed
Look Back In Hunger by Jo Brand Imagine being stuck in a lift with Jo Brand. You tell your life story in thirty minutes and then she begins to tell hers.

Six hours later she finishes and you have heard all the details of her life. She has been candid and your head is swimming in details about people, places, dates, items of clothing and various states of inebriation. A kaleidoscopic story like a wash cycle which ends up with the Jo Brand that we all know stepping out of the machine. A story so im
John Humber
Dec 10, 2014 John Humber rated it it was ok
Shelves: auto-biography
My rating for Look Back In Hunger would be between one and two stars. I was never a big fan of Jo Brand’s stand-up routines, not because I found her offensive or because, as a man, I found her in some way threatening—both of which she alludes to here—but just because I didn’t find her particularly funny. So why did I choose to read this book? Well, I quite like Jo in her current role as a more all-round TV celebrity and presenter and I saw the book on the biographies shelf of my local library an ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Martin rated it liked it
Again, I wish I could give the book three and a half stars. In cases like these I have to ask myself whether I like the book and would recommend it wholeheartedly to someone, or whether I like it but don't really have much to say about it. Since it's the latter for this one, I have to give it only three stars. Reading the other reviews I think I belong to the camp that adores Jo Brand and knows what tricky emotions she's capable of conveying, and am therefore left a little disappointed in this o ...more
Jan 25, 2010 Ipswichblade rated it it was ok
I have to say I was disapointed with this. I have read all three of Jo's novels and have loved them all so I was looking forward to this autobiography. I think she is a vey funny comic and her dlivery of stories on stage etc is excellent but reading this is hard work. This is clearly the first book of either two or three as this tells the story up to when she is starting her act fulll time.

The main point is the jumping about from one part of her life to another to make a point which then makes y
Oct 27, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
I love Jo Brand so was very keen to read this however I was a little disappointed with it. There was too much jumping about in time and I found it hard to keep up with her at times. I also felt it seemed as though she was telling me a series of escapades she had got into as they occurred to her, I really wanted more of the insight she showed in glimpses about human nature and mental illness.
Dave Riley
Much as I love Jo Brand and think 'Getting On' is pure brilliance, this 'memoir' isn't worth the effort.

Who gives a fig for all this indulgent detail about her upbringing?

Well, if you do,I don't.

Brand was brutally normal...up to a point -- and did nothing extraordinary -- up to a point -- before she started telling jokes in public.

You have to wait for the last 50 pages before you get exposed to a fleeting review of her early stand up career.

There's no point to the book aside from meandering t
Jul 28, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
I’m wondering if I went into reading this book with my expectations too high, as although I did enjoy reading this and found it quite funny in places it was missing just a little something for me.

The book catalogues Jo’s life from childhood to the dawn of her comedy career (in the varying clubs she visited). I found Jo’s years working as a psychiatric nurse very interesting (and indeed it’s something that’s always intrigued me about her) and how her senior staff members had frowned upon her ‘sha
Jan 12, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
British stand-up comedian, Jo Brand looks back over her life and the influences that made her who she is today. From a nice, well brought up little girl, she morphed into a teenage nightmare, skipping school, staying out all night and socialising (underage) in pubs. She talks with great humour about her early family life, providing many hilarious anecdotes about her childhood escapades with her two brothers. Brand studied towards becoming a psychiatric nurse, (even though she always aspired to d ...more
Lilly de Vries
Jun 18, 2015 Lilly de Vries rated it really liked it
I love Jo Brand... Thanks to QI I've been introduced to these people I would not have known of otherwise. Some of the stories I can't relate with because my life has been rather easy (I'd like to think) but I love how she tells the stories of her earlier career. All in all a fantastic read!
Jul 29, 2013 KJ rated it really liked it
I thought Jo's experiences where very funny at times and at others terribly tragic, but she overcomes her misfortunes and really does have the last laugh. I can relate to alot of the scenarios she finds herself in, and that makes her very endearing to me. Very illustrative writing style, and warm hearted.

Now this may sound corny to say but I really was understating how well I can relate to Jo's experiences, as I finished reading it I fealt "finally someone else who knows how mental the world is
Aug 11, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
I like Jo and I didn't expect this to be a laugh a minute romp as a lot of the other reviewers seem to have expected. I thought she could sometimes be a little too clinical but then her humour is very dry. I thought it was interesting but I felt the ending was very poor. I don't know whether she's planning to write another book but it seemed a very odd place to finish and I felt the ending was quite abrupt.

If you're expecting the tale of someone's life then I think you will like it but if you'r
Jan 04, 2015 Tarquilla rated it liked it
Good book. You can imagine her talking as you read it. Interesting to read her stories of mental health nursing, I can imagine she was very good.
Óli Sóleyjarson
Nov 23, 2014 Óli Sóleyjarson rated it really liked it
Fyrri ævisaga Jo Brand sem ég þekki aðallega úr QI. Nokkuð skemmtilegt. Áhugaverðustu kaflarnir fjölluðu um starf hennar sem geðhjúkrunarfræðingur.
Carole Michie
Jul 04, 2014 Carole Michie rated it liked it
I find her much more entertaining on TV than I did in print - dead pan doesn't translate well to the page. But likeable.
Apr 04, 2010 poppyshake rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an extremely easy read. It's full of humour as you would expect but there is a lot also about her upbringing, her school days, her work in the mental health service and her early relationships.
There's not much about her comedy career the book leaves off at around the time of her appearances on Friday Night Live in the 80's (which was her first TV performance) ... similarly, there's no mention of her marriage or children (or scant mention anyway) .. perhaps that will be for the sequel, b
Polly Tiller
Mar 28, 2014 Polly Tiller rated it it was amazing
I am a similar age to Jo Brand so I recognised the social history in her book and compared to where I was up to. I was a lot tamer back in those hippy days. She writes some sad stuff but gets the humour in. One of my books I will always read again or read my favourite parts again. If I'm fed up her book is a real pick me up.
Jun 19, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Good book, easy read. Abrupt ending to the beginning of her career.
Jun 01, 2015 Kay rated it it was ok
Ended abruptly, mildly entertaining read overall.
Lyssa Mackey
Jan 07, 2015 Lyssa Mackey rated it it was amazing
Good book, made me cry, laugh and giggle -
Adam Cawthorn
Sep 15, 2013 Adam Cawthorn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jo Brand Fans
I read through the book along with Jo Brand reading the audiobook.

It is a good book, with it being about her life, it is quite personal and tells of her trials and tribulations in relationships and in daily life, of her working at a hospital whilst trying to eek out a comedy career.

Listening to the audiobook, sadly Jo seemed very bored reading her own words, nothing was thrilling about it and it just seemed very plain.

It is not the most fantastic book out there but neither is it the worst!
Paula Maguire
Oct 05, 2012 Paula Maguire rated it really liked it
At first this seemed like a very dull book-her delivey is mundane and she constantly repeats a few stock phrases 'suffice it to say'. She spent too long on her halcyon childhood which was pleasantly dull. however it became much more investing when she got older which was very chaotic considering her stable upbringing. She left home during her a levels, consequently did v bad, college in Brunel sounded a hoot and amazing experiences being a psychiatric nurse, I really adored her in the end
Lucy Davidson
Jan 12, 2015 Lucy Davidson rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Oct 09, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this although not usually a fan of autobiography. Ended a bit abruptly though!
Vicki Leanne
• 3 stars •

I love reading autobiographies, whether they're by people I love, like or just know of. Jo Brand is a comedian whose work I really enjoy, especially when she is a guest on panel shows. It was interesting to learn more about her background, her family life and just how she came to be where she is today.

If you like her work, I would recommend this book as you get to see another side to her that doesn't often come across in her stand-up.
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Josephine "Jo" Grace Brand is a BAFTA winning English stand-up comedienne, writer and actress.
Commencing her entertainment career with a move from psychiatric nursing to the alternative comedy stand up scene and early performances on Saturday Live, she went on to appearances on The Brain Drain, Channel 4's Jo Brand Through the Cakehole, Getting On and various television appearances including as a
More about Jo Brand...

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