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How Not to Grow Up!: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of.

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  407 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Ahilarious story of how a self–confessed, perpetual "Big Kid" deals with his greatest fear of getting older and is the perfect book for everyone who, deep down, still thinks they're 18 years oldComedian Richard Herring has a major problem. He’s about to turn 40 and hasn’t seen it coming. He’s not married, doesn’t have a proper job or 2.4 children. But now, finally, it look ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Ebury Press (first published February 14th 2010)
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I read this book in one day. There, I said it. It took me all day, but it was a pretty good day.

Rich's writing style is eloquent, intelligent, and shamelessly open. He holds nothing back, he presents himself as an actual whole human, not as someone writing a memoir to make a point (but which, of course, he is). This is a memoir of a damaged and possibly deranged (let's face it) man struggling to make himself feel whole. If there is one thing about Rich that is to be admired, it's that he really
Ben Baker
I like Richard Herring although it took me a fair while to come round to that opinion with lots of middling projects and terrible ideas post-Stewart Lee split. This find Rich somewhere around that transformative period and gives a lot of background as to why. Part of my issue with this book is that his daily blog already made him considerably more open than many of his contemporaries in many ways and this reads like a lot of strung together lengthier entries. I suspect slashed of at least 50 pag ...more
Matthew Marcus
Richard Herring does seem like a nice, and obviously a funny, guy, but this book presents a real problem for him. It's a story about the transition from irresponsible kidulthood to (relative) maturity, but here's the thing: being childish is inherently funny. Behaving like a responsible adult, not so much. Herring sets himself the impossible task of having to sing the praises of healthy eating, committed relationships and laying off the booze... when his writing is much more likely to take off o ...more
As the comedian Richard Herring approached his fortieth birthday he found himself behaving in ways that were increasingly childish. His life was a non-stop round of gigging, drinking, getting up late and then spending most of the day sitting around in his pants eating sweets and playing video games. His search for a relationship was becoming increasingly desperate, alternating between hopeless romanticism and a series of ill-advised temporary flings. He didn't even know if he really wanted a lon ...more
Anthony Ryan
Comedian Richard Herring's account of his reaction to turning 40 is often painfully honest but also frequently hilarious. The distinctly unglamorous life of a working stand-up is revealed as a lonely and frustrating parade of hotel rooms and variable audience response as Herring charts his misadventures, from brawling with a drunken university lecturer in Liverpool to an ill-advised if longed for threesome (Champagne anyone?). Herring's eventual acceptance of the inevitability of age, aided by f ...more
Sarah Tipper
This is ideal for anyone approaching their fortieth birthday with less than enthusiasm and also for those who have experienced this supposedly milestone birthday and now smugly know there’s nothing to it. It’s funny and confessional. At the end it’s sweet, but before that it’s a bit sleazy and lost. This book taught me the plural Flumpses. You should look up “Pyrrhic victory” before reading if you don’t know who he was and what it was. It’s not used with quite the frequency in which Alan Partrid ...more
James Manders
I like the (incredibly vast) body of work of Richard Herring, the stand up shows, the podcasts, the radio work and this was the last of the 4 of his books I had queued up to read, which I finally got around to.

It is different to the blog books as it isn't a daily account of his life when he was 40 but a story with a thread running throughout.

It gives an insight into the life of a working comedian and of something of a mid-life crisis.

The incredible thing about this book is just how honest he is
Jacki Davenport
wish I hadn't read this - have gone off Rich completely after finding out exactly how sleazy he is irl. What a shame as he is a talented comedian :(
Entertaining - and wincingly honest - for the most part, but it loses it at the end when he falls in lurve and loses all self-awareness. YAWN.
The crux of the book isn't compelling enough as a premise to sustain itself so the book dawdles off into little funny tangents and routines every so often. Which would be fine except it means when he decides to get maudlin or serious the momentum isn't there to care as much as you'd hope too. Also some of the conversations he writes with people (particularly Emma) sound so excruciatingly false due to the otherwise chatty tone of the book that it's distracting. It reads like an over-stretched sta ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Fran rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Richard Herring Fans
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Richard Herring. Sometimes I find his comedy hilarious and heartwarming (personally, I think What is Love Anyway is the best thing he's done and the Ferrero Rocher routine is just brilliant), othertimes I find it totally unfunny (e.g. the 'begat' nonsense in Christ on a Bike), and sometimes I just find him offensive (but can't list a particular example here). When seeing him in person, and out of the 'character' he wears on stage, I find him to be a ...more
This book is really, really funny. It is well written and interesting and puts his previous effort (Talking Cock) to shame. Whilst that was basically a dissertation on the penis (a male version of The Vagina Monologues) this is an actual story. I assume that the majority of the tale he tells is true – I occasionally read his blog and there were certain moments that I knew something about as a result of this. But is is not just a retreading of the blog, it is the tale of a man who is stuck in a l ...more
Kev Bickerdike
Is he bildungsroman? Is he picaresque? Or is he just that bloke off of the telly?
What Richard is, is a genuinely funny bloke. The phrase laugh out loud is possibly the most overused and meaningless phrase of the internet savvy generation, but I did indeed laugh at a certain volume constantly whilst reading the memoirs of a fried chicken eating lothario.
Yes, I am a fan, but as other reviewers have also commented not the kind of fan who slavishly laps up everything Richard puts out. So my enjoymen
Lulu Wreikat
First time I read it back in March it took me a week to finish it!
I kept thinking of it when I was done, the way his life turns around inspired me dramatically, though I'm almost 21 only!
I decided to read it again, but this time I took my time, I left this book to be the last escape to turn to; this so familiar story and enjoy the hilariousness of Richard Herring! I finished it again, inspired even more and more in love with the brilliant finishing of it! I knew where my favorite pages are, tho
Very very funny book. On how the other half approach (and pass) forty, considering 'the other half' in this case is unmarried, without children and famous. I feel almost guilty laughing at all his terrible exploits and moral dilemas, but then I have plenty of my own as a married man with two kids and no fame. I think it's fair to say that kinda balances things out, and I don't really have to feel guilty at laughing at him.

Mostly, however, I'm laughing with him. He's a very funny man. Although h
Herring is a good writer but this comes across as more tragic than funny at times. Still worth a read though as it's an interesting perspective on the midlife crisis.
Ele Wilson
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading this book but found it really enjoyable. Richard Herring speaks with a blunt honesty about his romantic quests, his struggle to settle down and the constant battle to remain funny in an ever increasing world of comedy. He takes us through the months leading to his 40th birthday and the many battles he faced with himself to control his childish instincts as well as how life has since changed ....for the better!
Remarkably funny and intere
Martin Smith
This is one of my favourite books. This isn't because I like Richard Herring, although I do, but because I could relate so much of it to my experiences.

We are of a similar age give or take a year, we have both enjoyed a few drinks in our time and have both gained and shifted a few pounds. I found it a very honest and personal account as well as being highly entertaining and very funny.

I'd recommend it to any forty something but would also add that my 17 year old daughter also read it and loved
Oh god, I'm a huge fan of Richard Herring and I'm glad I bought this book (He has given me many hours of free entertainment with his podcast) but...

It's awful. I very rarely fail to finish books but this one is so bad, so unfunny and just so, well, horrible that I couldn't manage it. I've got about 50 pages from the end but I can't will myself to get any further.

If you're a fan of the podcast then buy it anyway just to say thank you, but please don't read it.
I loved this book, and Im a girl!- he is so refreshingly honest, I think the comments saying hes sleazy arent exactly incorrect, but he KNOWS how badly hell come across in admitting certain things and does it anyway, he doesnt lie to keep us all happy. I for one like him for that, I think hes slightly tongue-in-cheek anyway, and its an amusing & enjoyable read.
From a fellow, although perhaps less extreme kidult, definate thumbs up.
Suleman Ali
Like many others, i found Richard Herrings Coming of Age memoir, very disappointing. I have enjoyed Herrings comedy and still find his stand up very funny. But this book was a massive let down. It simply came across as a sleazy old man not wanting to grow up. Then realising he had to and feeling miserable about it.

Was it honest? yes.

Was it entertaining? no.

Was I bored? Yes.
I like herring, I've seen him live a few times, and he is quite outrageously funny, with material that you find yourself almost horrified to be laughing's a shame then that this is so tame, and felt like a compilation of women he has slept with.
Some amusing moments saved it from one start, but a key down for me.
It had some funny lines and observances in it but I think I was expecting a more comedy mishap kind of story.

What it seemed to be in the end is a story about a bloke looking for love as he reaches the age of the mid life crisis.

An OK and easy read overall. However, I may have been expecting too much.
Dave Powell
was glad to find this in the library. I've been a fan of Richard Herring for a while. Maybe more of a book for fans but I appreciated his take on how we are supposed to behave as a grown up and how this doesnt always fit in with our "childish" desires.
I really enjoyed this book. A surprisingly touching account of an approaching milestone birthday. Still with a fair share of... ahem... ribald jokes and stories. As well as being one of the finest comedians working today, Herring can write a bit too.
Paul McMeekin
Absolutely loved this book. A very funny but brutally honest account of what it's like to aproach a milestone birthday (40 in this case)whilst having doubts about your worth. What's more, Richard Herring is a bloody decent writer. Nice one!
Wryly amusing jaunt thru Mr Herrings angsty 40th year - not as random or filthy as his podcasting, but a surprisingly open and heartfelt affair. We all suspected he was a lovely, smart chap underneath the taunting, swearing and jizz jokes...
Louise Jones
it was ok ish as a light read when not well and cant be bothered concentrating think some people have old heads from a youngish age and some people are always batty and young bit like me very un predictable
Like other reviewers, i wish I had not read this. I loved Lee and Herring growing up, and this was so disappointing. I can't believe how sleazy and sexist he comes across. Still, at least Stewart Lee is still cool.
Overall, a funny, candid, sometimes emotional journey of Herring's life that I would recommend.
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