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Help

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,868 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Comedy, tragedy, therapy

Simon Amstell did his first stand-up gig at the age of thirteen. His parents had just divorced and puberty was confusing. Trying to be funny solved everything.

HELP is the hilarious and heartbreaking account of Simon’s ongoing compulsion to reveal his entire self on stage. To tell the truth so it can’t hurt him any more. Loneliness, anxiety, depress
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Hardcover, 209 pages
Published September 21st 2017 by Square Peg
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,868 ratings  ·  163 reviews


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Anni
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Simon Amstell is Britain's answer to Woody Allen - that is, a younger, more endearingly vulnerable gay version, but with many of the same neuroses. He is brutally honest and wittily self-deprecating, sharing his often excruciatingly intimate thoughts in these anecdotes and excerpts from his stand-up routines. However, this never becomes the cliched tears-of-a-clown sob story because Amstell developed his gift of making people laugh as a self defence against fear of rejection - and it works extre ...more
Christina
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book does exceptionally well as an audiobook. HELP was the first book I listened to, so I'll admit I'm not the expert, but I think you should just trust me on this one. I really think that the key to connecting with this story is hearing it told to you in Amstell's own voice. HELP is a delicious introspective that is acerbic and funny. I wasn't expecting it to also be so sad, but it does help that all the sad bits are picked at until a beam of hope seeps out of the wreckage.

I liked
...more
Kehinde Brown
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simon Amstel, I see you, I see me.
Nigeyb
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really like Simon Amstell and this short book is everything I had hoped. It's funny, honest, clever, interesting, universal, and insightful.

Simon provides a potted history of his life, his personality, and thereby honestly describes his struggle with loneliness, depression and incessant self doubt. His journey from a complicated childhood in Essex to an Ayahuasca-led epiphany in the Amazon rainforest is fascinating.

The pay-off comes in the last couple of chapters, until then I thought it was
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lucy  black
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: autobiography
I really liked this at first but it didn’t go anywhere and nothing happened and I grew to not like it as much.
It’s just a guy talking about his life. Parts are funny.
I found it whingey and precocious.
His problems seem normal and his shocking honesty isn’t very shocking.
Lucy
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Simon Amstell, he's my fave - so naturally I was going to love his book. V. funny and sad in parts. Would recommend listening to this one on audiobook. ...more
Erin
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A few weeks ago I saw Simon Amstell for the first time. Afterward, I bought this book, and he signed it. While he did so I could've said something to him, something like, Thank you for your comedy, which has not only made me laugh but also, in its warmth and honesty about dealing with anxiety, depression, and loneliness, soothed me to sleep during many anxious, depressed, lonely nights over the years.

I did not say this, partly due to, well, anxiety, but also, I've come to realize, because while
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DJ
4.5 “I’ve missed Simon Amstell” Stars ✨

I loved him so much on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (which, kinda weirdly, didn’t get a single mention in this book?) and then enjoyed Grandma’s House too (which did get mentioned). I was sad when I read that he mostly doing behind the scenes stuff now so I was very happy to hear of this book and nabbed it immediately!

This book is very amusing, but there’s also some pretty dark and depressing moments. Simon gets very real, raw and honest and I loved that. He
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Varvara
I like these stories better when Simon's actually telling them out loud, not when I'm reading them, but I still could hear his voice throughout the whole book, which is incredible %) ...more
Don Jimmy Reviews
I finished Help by Simon Amstell last night (at time of writing this) and loved every minute. I only really knew him from Popworld and Buzzcocks but I had heard good things so decided to give it a go. Written as part transcripts from his stand up shows and part memoir it's quite short at 200 pages (I read it in a day, I just couldn't put it down and spent every spare minute with it) but it packs a mighty punch. Simon brings us on his journey of self discovery and drops some fantastic one liners ...more
Colin
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook, not the proper, paper version. It's a bit frustrating though. Simon Amstell is incredibly funny but seems to feel bad about being funny - or more specifically about his gift for being funny in quite a mean, catty way which made his tenure on buzzcocks so great. In this book he seems to frame his feelings about his career in a sort of hokey narrative about forgiving his younger self, which apparently comes to him under the influence of hallucinogens in a way that can only be described ...more
Kirsten T
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A very strange format for a book, but I love Simon Amstell's stand up so I didn't mind reading it written down using a variety of fonts. I laughed plenty but I don't know that I would recommend to someone who isn't already a fan. ...more
Jay Bracknell
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not so much a rollercoaster of emotion as a free fall through an anxious mind trying to make sense of itself. Bits of it are deeply sad, others hilarious, more a touch uncomfortable to read, but the result feels more honest than a lot of autobiographies and consequently I wished it was longer.
Jake
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i got this book for free (perks of new job), and i'm glad i picked it, as i don't think i would have necessarily bought it from a shop (tight pursestrings) and it was even better than i thought it would be (i thought it would be a three star adventure)
really unique format of writing, including sections from four of his stand-up shows, with the text itself, to created this stepping stone journey through his psyche and life. very clever way of writing up comedy, especially stand-up comedy, which i
...more
Shae Petersen
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rob
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must apologise to my neighbours who undoubtedly heard me guffaw while reading this. I've never actually seen Simon Amstell's stand-up, so all the material was new to me, and aside from it being obviously very funny, it was also really honest and touching. I've already ordered a copy for a friend to read. ...more
Sophie
I've always enjoyed Simon Amstell's humour, and so it's not a surprise that I enjoyed this. It was interesting to learn more about him and listening to the audiobook was fantastic, as the spliced in moments from his stand-up comedy worked really well. ...more
Amy
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I think this is a book that would work much better as an audio book - it just didn’t flow well in physical form and it felt too long for me at points.

I do enjoy Simon Amstell’s dry wit and humour so I enjoyed those parts but it just didn’t work as an actual book for me.
Sian
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I devoured this book. Absolutely hilarious but also a wonderfully put together account of overcoming trauma and mental illness. It's utterly bonkers but for all the right reasons. I implore you to read it. ...more
Rebecca
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love Simon Amstell, loved this. It was funny and interesting. Simon, as your therapist said, if you ever want to write a book that's less funny and interesting, I'm here for it! ...more
Tara
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is classic Simon Amstell. He overshares, he's neurotic, and he's funny but in a way that makes you concerned for him.

It's a quick read. It's 200 pages but the font and margins are huge, so I'd guess it's about 50,000 words. The excerpts of his stand-up shows also take up a lot of page space.
...more
Becky Ward
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Ledge ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’ve got so much out of everything Simon Amstell has ever made and this book kinda just sums it all up and reaffirms it.
bojana
i just wanted to read a chapter or two, and if it wasn't for, well, life, i would have finished it in one sitting.
i adore simon, he really is a treasure, and this book gets into his anxiety and shyness. and the ben whishaw story that a gossipy part of me wanted to hear.
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Anna
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simon is absolutely amazing. And it was good idea to listen his show first, because while reading I heard his voice, which made reading even better.
Victoria Rose
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I bloody love Simon Amstell, and I hope you do too. If not, go and look up his live shows, or watch his stint on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, or his sitcom Grandma's House. I promise, they are all hilarious, and they will all bring you joy. I am honestly so grateful for comedians, just as I am so grateful for anyone who can make me laugh. They just brighten my day exponentially.

Help is a very honest book. It's basically an autobiography, interspersed with extracts from four live shows (No Self, Do
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Jonathan
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lives, queer-lit
This is a very funny kind of autobiography by stand-up comic Simon Amstell. There are a lot of excerpts from several of his shows, which are mostly to do with him dealing with life, and the rest of the book is really a kind of expansion of this material. There is a bit of background, a lot of self analysis, and many opportunities to laugh. He is quite honest in his occasional dishonesty, and I am not sure that any of the names of people he talks about are their actual names. As such it is possib ...more
Dean
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Simon Amstell, and am a big fan about the content of this book. I've always really enjoyed Amstell's hunger for authenticity, his enduring positivity, his comedic twist on his awareness of his own mortality and his gorgeous expression of Buddhist philosophy.

The content of this book is beautiful, heartfelt, incredibly witty and makes for an excellent read. I loved everything in this book. My problem is that there just wasn't very much of it, at all.

Amstell and his publishers have
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Marc
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. I haven't written a review until now, and I won't write a long one here, but this book was just what I'd hoped for and more. Simon's life is poles apart from my own, but so much of what he wrote spoke to me on a level that few other books have. It is, on the surface, just his stand-up transcribed laced with memoir, and it's not that long (if I'd picked up this book and it WASN'T by Simon Amstell, I'd have potentially taken one look at the lay-out and wasted page space and put it do ...more
James
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This appears to be part of a current trend of books that are Honest, as Amstell discussed his therapy and struggle with depression. It wasn't humour-free but at the same time, it wasn't hilarious and this probably wasn't aimed at me, but it didn't make much of an impression nonetheless.

From the preface, it appears this was originally going to be the transcripts of 4 stand up shows, but that Amstell felt he had to explain the inspiration, and that led to more of a memoir. To be fair, this did sti
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John O'Halloran
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up out of the library because it looked fairly interesting, and because my sister-in-law had mentioned liking Simon Amstell, and she and I normally agree on most things and I trust her opinion. I didn't know she'd also read this book until afterwards.
I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, I've never seen any of Simon Amstell's stand-up comedy, or his television shows, or his films. I think I thought it might be a quick read and I hoped I wouldn't find him too annoying.
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