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Billy

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,815 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Whatever your opinion of Billy Connolly, his life has been an epic tale of controversy and hilarity, tragedy and comedy. From his working class roots in Glasgow he has worked his way to the top, and now enjoys huge worldwide acclaim and lives a dream lifestyle.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2002 by HarperCollins (first published 2001)
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Deena
Had this book for ages and finally got round to reading it and it didn't disappoint but was shocked to hear about Billy's life as a child and am full of admiration that he has come through it all sane (well if sane is what you'd call Billy Connolly !!!!)Really good book
Julie
May 21, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: women-words-wine
My bookclub suggested (along with the 'official' book to read over the summer holidays) we all choose an autobiography to read. I had 'Billy' on my bookshelf and decided on that. I thought I may be a convert to biographies/autobiographies when delving into the first few chapters. These conveyed an eye-opening insight into the poor and harsh tenement living in Glasgow, Scotland where Billy grew up.

Unfortunately, for me the book was spoilt (slightly) by the writer, Billy's wife, Pamela Stephenson
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Deborah Biancotti
Feb 22, 2011 Deborah Biancotti rated it really liked it
Shelves: writer-women, non-fic
I'd been warned this wasn't a funny read, so that bit wasn't surprising -- although the very *dryness* of the book was (a result of Stephenson's somewhat cold, academic prose). Regardless, and despite being a Connelly fan already, I finished the book with a real warmth towards its subject. I wanted to rush up & give Connelly a big hug, tell him I was sorry there was so much sadness & horror in his childhood, & wish him all the very, very, *very* best.

Stephenson at one point remarks t
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Monica
Dec 05, 2008 Monica rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I've read several pages and have already laughed out loud a few times.
12/5/08 I purchased this at Manchester airport, the final stop of an Incredible String Band tour of Birmingham, Liverpool, Northampton, Cambridge, Oxford, Leichester, Beverly, New Castle, and Edinburgh to learn more about Billy Connolly, and more about his friendship with Robin Williamson. If you have similar intentions, this is *not* the book for you. Billy's young family life was painful to read about, but he's a survivor.
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Jenny
Jan 04, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to laugh with Billy.
I approached this book tentatively - a psychotherapist writing (analysing?)about her husband, but seeing Billy Connolly on the final Parkinson show compelled me to find out a little more about this man who could make me laugh so hard.

The structure of the book is interesting, with a vignette from the present introducing a segment of the past.

I particularly enjoyed the voice of the author which related Billy's story without imposing her own judgements.

The book revealed a gifted human being who liv
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Barbra
Jul 31, 2009 Barbra rated it really liked it
This was a great book about one of my very favourite comedians.

Back Cover Blurb:
Who is the real Billy Connolly? He's the man who needs no introduction, and yet he is the ultimate enigma. From a troubled and desperately poor childhood in the docklands of Glasgow he is now the intimate of household names the world over. But who is the man behind the myth?
If anyone knows Billy Connolly better than himself, its his wife, Pamela Stephenson.
Sam
Dec 25, 2011 Sam rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting read. Billy has had some quite amazing experiences in his life and they are well analysed by his wife, Pamela.
Laura
Feb 28, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story filled with everyday life lessons. Laugh out loud and cry at the same time.
Richard
Sep 30, 2014 Richard rated it it was ok
Confession: I didn't finish the book; I reached p. 273 before I'd had enough.

This biography starts well enough, with three or four fascinating chapters detailing (fairly briefly) the horrible deprivation of Billy Connolly's early life, but it fairly quickly becomes tiresome and uninspired. Billy's wife Pamela's writing grates after a while: she seems addicted to name-dropping and her psychological analyses are much too simplistic and short, even if they're based in genuine common-sense. If you w
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Amy
Oct 08, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is great biography of the best comedian by the most suitable person. Who better than Billy's own wife to write a well deserved and respectful biography.

When I read this it was before I really got into Billy Connolly. I had seen a few bits and pieces and loved what I saw but I didn't have access to see anything else. Reading this book gave me so many more insights into his life and work and made me respect him all the more.

Billy's life was not perfect by any means and he had a rough upbringi
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Heather
Feb 27, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
I picked this book up at random hardly knowing who Billy Connolly was. I've seen him in movies and various media, but didn't know anything about him. The book is by his wife, Pamela Stephenson, formerly of Saturday Night Live, now with a PhD in psychology.

What an interesting life he has led! His childhood was horribly abusive--almost every adult with a major role in his life abandoned him or physically, sexually, or mentally abused him. At least he eventually got into a school with supportive t
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Libby
Apr 06, 2009 Libby rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy
I had no idea that Billy had such a tough upbringing. I found myself getting quite emotional whilst reading about his childhood. It was fanastic to gain an insight into where his humour comes from even though at times his wifes description of things was a wee bit condescending and irritating - though I have trouble with many psychological theories (and Psychologists in general)despite having a couple of degrees on the subject myself.

Throughout the course of the book I found myself liking Billy
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Ape
Feb 01, 2014 Ape rated it liked it
2007 bookcrossing thoughts... back when my thoughts were short =)

I've been a fan now for quite a few years. I love his sense of humour, and his appreciation for the little details and the eccentricities of life. His wife made a really good job of this biography; it is very readable and fascinating - not just of his decades as a star and his entertainment career, but also of his childhood growing up in Glasgow with a less than ideal beginning. There's some funny little anecdotes in this as well a
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Lucy Nichol
Jul 26, 2016 Lucy Nichol rated it liked it


I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about what makes this comic genius tick. My only minor complaint was that I sometimes felt that the author, who granted knows this story better than anyone, seemed to feel the need to establish her position from time to time. As successful, as a qualified psychologist, as someone who knew the names. I was already reading a book she had written, so it almost didn't need saying. Shouldn't complain though as it was a fascinating read and I will
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Tristan Macavery
Nov 30, 2012 Tristan Macavery rated it it was amazing
A remarkable, warts-and-all biography of one of the world's most amazing comedians and actors. Filled with anecdotes, jokes, and incredible insights, I come away with the thought that he is, in his way, the reincarnation of Will Rogers (being able to improvise his performances with a lightning-quick mind), and the desire that I might someday meet him and hope that I could keep up with him while enjoying a roll and square sliced sausage and a cup of tea.
Katarina
Jun 28, 2013 Katarina rated it really liked it
Love this book - it was great to read about Billy Connelly's life told by his wife who also happens to be a psychotherapist.
The book captures the essence of Billy and still manages to tell his life story as matter of fact. Although having had a hard childhood this books does not ask for sympathy - it just was. If you like biographies, Billy Connelly and want to laugh out loud, shuckle and shake your head I'd recommend this book.
Catherine
Feb 01, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this biography. I've always loved Billy's shows now I really respect the man and his abilities. I enjoyed the format of the chapters, some little anecdote from the [then] present that hooks back to the past. His wife obviously admires him greatly, but...every once in a while there is a faint whiff of patronizing psychologist. I expect it can't be helped.

How hard it must be to be married to an analyst!
Alison
May 28, 2014 Alison rated it liked it
Started well, but ended up as my mum said "reading like a CV". I really like Billy Connelly. But found this book slow and a bit boring. Could have been half the length and a much more enjoyable read. As a psychologist it would have been far more interesting if she focused on the influencers at the time in Scotland when Billy was growing up.
Toni
Sep 13, 2011 Toni rated it really liked it
What a book, what a man and how amazing Pamela is to put up with him! An amazing description of his childhood which was totally amazing in iteself. And then his incredibly drinking and how he met Pamela - very well written, often very funny. Very special because my dear father in law leant it to me. He has since died and I now have ownership of this book he loved so much.
Mat
Jul 27, 2012 Mat rated it it was amazing
The subject is interesting and funny, unlike the author, who is the comedian's wife.
Esther Marie
Dec 04, 2016 Esther Marie rated it liked it
Skimmed this one. Three stars because Billy Connolly is an interesting man, an important figure, and I'm glad that his biography has been written.

Were I basing my review on the writing and style, this would be a hard one star. Stephenson begins with a totally inaccessible and academic introduction, and proceeds to write formulaic chapters that are dry at best. She's a psychologist, you know. If you forget, she will remind you. Repeatedly. As a narrator, she is plain irritating.

I think I picked
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David
Sep 13, 2016 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Biography of the Scottish comic starting at the beginning of his life and running up to the present day. A good read about a man who had a very tragic and abusive upbringing, and yet who was able to mine this as a very rich vein for his subsequent humour. Obviously very talented he was able to bring himself out of the past and forge a very successful career. Details his excesses with alcohol and the self destructive side that seems to be present in all comics of real ability. Written with great ...more
Debbie Henderson
May 07, 2016 Debbie Henderson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
An extremely interesting read, I knew Billy had faced adversity during his younger years and I knew where he came from. I had no idea how bad his childhood actually was which shocked me.

It was good to see colloquial Scots peppered through (as a fellow Scot I had no need of translations!) being able to relate and 'know' many of the places in Scotland that Billy haunted was also wonderful. He has a real passion for his homeland which shines from the pages of the book.

I have always loved Billy he
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Heather Hill
Jun 18, 2014 Heather Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved Billy Connolly's comedy for almost all of my life, having been introduced to it by my late father. I have happy memories of him laughing until the tears rolled down his face at Billy, when I would have been about 8 0r 9 and - not really understanding the jokes at that age - simply being doubled up laughing at my father laughing at him...
Hmmm... not such a great review for Billy but then, I WAS 8! Of course now I find him so hilarious I hurt myself laughing at him and once paid 200 j
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Andrew
Jan 11, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
The closest thing to writing your autobiography is to get your wife to write your biography. (CURRENT wife, of course – ex-wives would probably be far from sympathetic.) That, in a nutshell, describes Pamela Stephenson's “Billy” - the life story of her husband, Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.

This does NOT mean that the book is sugar-coated. The book covers such matters as Billy's sexual abuse as a boy, his substance abuse issues as an adult, his first marriage, his colorful language, his occas
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Robert
May 15, 2010 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading biographies and this one is no exception. It is always very interesting to learn about the formative years of famous people to really help understand why they became the way they are. This book is certainly a very interesting story about Billy Connolly and the twists and turns that have made him an international superstar.

I will however say that the book does jump around a bit and can become a little disjointed as it generally follows the thread of Billy's life. Obviously
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Kinyaa Inthe Chebarbar
Oct 02, 2014 Kinyaa Inthe Chebarbar rated it really liked it
As an amateur reader it took me awhile to get around and finally reading this book. Being young and never having really known Billy it was rather hard to connect with the story until gory details of his childhood emerged.

This is actually a great biography and the flow is just awesome besides the motivating life of Billy.For a minute there I wanted my future wife to analyze me (from a personal and professional view) the way Pamsy does her husband. It would be interesting to see yourself through a
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Marco
Mar 19, 2011 Marco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone that enjoys Biographies
I had this book in my collection for several years without reading it because i had high expectations of this book and wanted to read others that i thought wouldnt be as good first. My expectations were not disappointed.

i thought this was a fantastic read and very insightful because Billy and Pam shy away from nothing, nothing is off limits and its very much a 'warts n' all' look at the life of a man that had a terrible childhood and his share of adult hassles, but always keeps smiling and laugh
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Ian Mchugh
Dec 23, 2015 Ian Mchugh rated it liked it
An enjoyable, quick, insight into a man I find incredibly funny. The weaving of 'showbiz' anecdotes with the narrative of Billy's life works for the first seven or eight chapters but gets slightly tired towards the end of the book. Connelly's separation from his first wife is also not covered here - perhaps unsurprising as Stephenson became Billy's second wife.

I would've liked more insight into 'the man' rather than the regular re-hashed parts of his stage act (no matter how psychologically 'rev
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Paul Kearney
From a childhood that could have been taken from the pages of Oliver twist to , shipyard welder ,folk singer, Rock N Roll stand up who doesn't write material "i just tell stories until I get bored of them". Billy stands out in a world of people who stand up. A fear of inadequacy, and the ordinary. An uncompromising thin skinned fury that keeps him humble, honest, and Scottish.A marriage straining anger at being the centre of attention. When his ambition is to make others laugh.
A man who refuses
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Dr Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly (born 4 December 1949) is a New Zealand-born Australian clinical psychologist and writer now resident in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s. She has written several books, which include a biography of her husband Billy Connolly, and presents a psychology-based interview show called Shrink Rap on British ...more
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