Dave Spikey is one of my favourite comedians, not only because he's a local lad (he's from the same town as me) but because his observations on life q...moreDave Spikey is one of my favourite comedians, not only because he's a local lad (he's from the same town as me) but because his observations on life quite regularly make me laugh, a lot. This book was no exception. Whilst not all of it is geared towards comedy, it's obviously scattered throughout and the first few chapters in particular had me struggling to stop myself from laughing out loud whilst reading in bed when the rest of the house was asleep.
The book shows just how funny Dave is and I learned a lot about him that I didn't know before, much of which is probably public knowledge but I just hadn't come across it. What I loved about it is how it showed him to be just your regular down-to-earth bloke who is actually very intelligent (his role before becoming a comedian went as far as Chief Biochemical Scientist) and happened to get the right breaks in life. He's very honest about his role in the break-up of his first marriage and is honest in general throughout the whole book. It's very clear that he cares a lot about his family, friends and animals (he's actively involved with a number of charities) and he's generally an all-round great guy. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes observational comedy.(less)
Although I am an avid reader and consider myself pretty well-read, I constantly look at other reviews and wish that I had the insight that others seem...moreAlthough I am an avid reader and consider myself pretty well-read, I constantly look at other reviews and wish that I had the insight that others seem to have. Granted, many of the reviews that I look at are from people who have studied literature at college and/or university, but there are many people who just seem to know what they're talking about. More than I do, anyway. So I decided to start to rectify that and this book came with recommendations from friends.
This book really does start with the basics. I consider myself to be at a pretty low level, a lay reader I guess, and I was able to understand all of this book. I read another book - How Fiction Works - last year, and I found it to be pretty jargon-full, but this book isn't that at all. Add to that the humour that runs through the writing and this made for a pretty good read.
The sections are well structured and flow easily and he uses examples throughout. Whilst I haven't read everything that he used, it didn't impact my understanding of the points he was raising. The style was pretty informal and it didn't feel like professorial writing at all (except for the few times he actually mentioned that this was how professors think). There's also a reading list at the back which I'm sure I will work my way through!
Now to attempt to use what I've learned... I get the feeling that I will be coming back to this book as a reference for a while!(less)
This is one of those books that makes you alternate your facial expressions between wonder, horror, disgust and everything else in between. This just...moreThis is one of those books that makes you alternate your facial expressions between wonder, horror, disgust and everything else in between. This just proves that there are some crazy people out there and that the world in general is more crazy than most of us ever imagine. Interesting facts and awesome images, although some of them made me a little queasy!!(less)
This was such a brilliant read and I felt that it really suited the graphic novel medium. It reminded me of the storyline in Sex and the City where Sa...moreThis was such a brilliant read and I felt that it really suited the graphic novel medium. It reminded me of the storyline in Sex and the City where Samantha finds out she has breast cancer although, obviously, this is real life not fiction. But that storyline could have been modelled on the author's battle with this horrific disease. Throughout, despite everything that she had to deal with, I never felt like Marisa was feeling sorry for herself. She attacked the cancer with everything she had and her determination really shone through in this book. She carried on with her work, continued to be the sophisticated New-Yorker that she always had been and refused to let it bring her down. A truly inspirational story.(less)
I enjoyed this. It was an amusing look at England and the English from the point of view of an outsider... It was actually a story about his year-long...moreI enjoyed this. It was an amusing look at England and the English from the point of view of an outsider... It was actually a story about his year-long tour, however there were lots of anecdotes and observations, some of which made me laugh and a few excellent observations that got me some funny looks from people around me when I laughed out loud. It wasn't amazing, but it was a fun read.(less)
Being a teenager is hard enough without being moved to a new town and a new school where you don’t know anybody and no-one wants to talk to the new gi...moreBeing a teenager is hard enough without being moved to a new town and a new school where you don’t know anybody and no-one wants to talk to the new girl. Alice finds it difficult to fit in and so when she has the opportunity to go back to her old town for the summer she jumps at the chance. Whilst she’s there she meets one of the popular girls from her old school, who invites her to a party. Having never been part of the popular crowd, Alice is excited to be invited and accepts the invitation. Unfortunately for her, this proves to be a bad decision as this is where she is, unknowingly, turned on to drugs. This book is a diary of her ensuing journey with drugs and chronicles her life as addiction takes hold.
This is supposedly based on a true story, however over the years there has been some controversy over whether this is the case. Regardless of whether or not it’s factual, it’s an absorbing read. It was heartbreaking to see Alice’s decline as the addiction took hold and the torment she went through as she tried time and time again to break the habit. What is clear throughout is that Alice knows that drugs are wrong and she hates herself for needing them, but the desire to take them is, ultimately, stronger than her desire to quit. I really liked Alice and so I became emotionally invested in the decisions she made throughout the book and went from rooting for her to screaming at her in the course of a page.
I wouldn’t say that the writing is good, but then, if it is a true account, how good could you really expect the writing to be from someone who is using drugs? What I will say though, is that despite this being written in the 60s, the story is still very true today. I have been lucky enough to only have had limited exposure to drugs, however I know of people who have been down this path and I know the devastating affect it can have on the lives of everyone involved.
If I had read this book as a teenager, especially in my early teens, I can see how it may have seemed glamourous to run away from home and live the life of a ‘grown-up’ whilst still so young, however reading it now, I’m horrified that this may the impression the book gives. I think all teenagers should read this as part of their drug education, however I don’t think it’s suitable for younger teams.
Overall, I’m glad I read it. Although I know of people who have been down this path, it’s been an eye-opener to see it from their perspective. (less)