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Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  7,014 ratings  ·  514 reviews
In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore's TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he'd always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe i ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 19th 2019 by Pan Macmillan
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 ·  7,014 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Clara Hill
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inject Louis Theroux in my veins
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, not my usual kind of read but I've been a big fan of a lot of his documentaries so I was keen to see more of the person behind them.

Very honest and provides a huge amount of interesting background to most of his most famous documentaries.

I'd recommend the audiobook version which Louis reads himself, makes it feel very conversational.

I think where it lost me was a little bit was the amount of time dedicated to Jimmy Saville. I can understand the need for people that knew S
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by Louis Theroux. (2019).

Louis takes the reader on a journey from his anxiety-prone childhood to his unexpectedly successful career. He has created his own documentary style that has seen him immersed in the worlds of paranoid US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, get under the skin of celebrities like Max Clifford and Chris Eubank and tackle gang culture in a San Quen
Emily B
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you like Louie Theroux then you will like this.
I listened to the audiobook which Louie narrated which made it really engaging and entertaining.

At first I felt that despite it being an autobiography, it didn’t tell me that much about Louie Theroux that I didn’t already know or could easily find out. However who’s to say how much should be revealed? That being said I did finish the book feeling like I knew Louie a lot better.

A lot of the book focuses on Jimmy Savile which I wasn’t expecting
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2020

This book would not have come on to my radar if it wasn’t for a friend in my book club. She’s from the UK and she really enjoyed watching his BBC documentaries back in the day.

I didn’t know much about Louis Theroux before this book but I now know much more. This was part memoir and mesh mash on all things that happened on his shows and in life. He does seem like an interesting guy.

To me, Gotta Get Theroux This was just okay for me. I think it could be rated higher and have a more positiv
Alice Lippart
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting!
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I had high expectations going into this but I was defintely let down.

While this was interesting, I found that it lacked much humour or wit. I think Louis is really funny so I was expecting some humour in this book. Unfortunately I felt that it wasn't very funny, which is a shame.

I don't read a lot of memoirs, but I choose to pick this one up because I really like Louis and the documentaries he has done but I ended up not really enjoying this much.

It felt very formal, fact after fact after fact a
Heidi Gardner
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Before reading this book I was a massive Louis Theroux fan. I love his documentaries and I enjoyed his previous book too. This book is well written, and interesting, but it’s made me dislike Louis which isn’t great. He comes across as really, really privileged - and worse, unaware of that privilege. The chapters about his wife Nancy made me feel really sorry for her, and I felt uncomfortable with how much he talked about his first wife, Sarah, as she was clearly someone who appreciated privacy.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Louis Theroux’s memoir is about as odd as some of the subjects he makes documentaries about. Part memoir, part Jimmy Savile book, part behind-the-scenes of his documentaries. It had a meandering quality to it that inevitably made me not wish it to end. Louis is to be admired for looking inward and using his investigative skills on himself here.

Oxford-educated and with a famous author father, the writing here is high standard. It’s incredibly articulate (as expected from any award-winning journal
Alison Vicary
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy watching Louis on the tv you will absolutely love this book. He goes into some detail on some of the main tv programmes, the fantastic Scientology film as well as elements of his private life, but by far is the indepth goings on and his personal feelings on the Jimmy Savile affair and how for some ridiculous reason he still appears to carry some guilt. I adore watching Louis's programmes and am happy to say I have watched them all and this book just adds to the understanding of the ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I kind of wish I hadn’t read this book... I have enjoyed watching Louis Theroux’ documentaries for years (watching Weird Weekends helped me through a particularly dull time in law school), but the whole book was a disappointment and - worse - it made me dislike Louis for the first time. He comes across as very privileged and entitled and somehow his attitude towards women felt a bit weird at some points in the book. He’s also surrounded by men all of the time, so in a way he just gives of the im ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
The bad type of celebrity memoir that just recounts the different pieces of work the person has done. Since Theroux works on documentaries, with himself as a presenter and subject, this is more annoying than usual. The book recounts most of his documentaries and how he reacted to certain subjects. Since I've already seen the documentaries, and knew how he reacted through watching them, this made the book somewhat redundant.

Theroux does get deeper on two subjects, his relationship with Jimmy Savi
Natalie M
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Admissions: 1) I’m a Louis Theroux fan (so perceptions may be biased). 2) I’ve watched/listened/read most of his work (hmm...May skew the bias). 3) Listened to the audio version narrated by Louis (I always seem to enjoy the author/narrator presentations a little more).

Review: interesting, in-depth and interspersed with lashings of misgivings and personal fear of failure. Not entirely chronological but delving into the issues which occur during filming, the sheer length of time it takes and the v
Ruthy lavin
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve often thought about my fantasy top 10 dream dinner party guests and Louis Theroux would be in the top 5 for sure!
He is just such a tonic.
Witty, down-to-earth, approachable, intelligent, funny and a fantastic writer with amazing recall, this book is a revelation.
A brilliant read.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I enjoyed this but I preferred his first book, " The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures "
A lot of this book recounts scenes from his documentaries, some of which I've seen many times already.. I was interested in behind-the-scenes moments or details about abandoned projects.

He describes a lot of his doubts about his work and the extent of his imposter syndrome, he's also very critical of himself, particularly for not uncovering Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse somehow.

The most persona
Leo Robertson
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

If people are extremely British, it's like nowhere they go or nothing they see in the world can convince them out of their Britishness! They're all, "Ooh, sorry", "How did I get here?" and "Did I do anything worthy of an award?"

It's like "No, Mr de Botton, not all things end inevitably in disappointment—you're just very British" :P
Kirsty Keddie
Nov 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I downloaded this book to audible based on the positive reviews but found it very disappointing as a biography. Apart from some small, carefully sanitised, sections on his actual life, most of the book was taken up with a mix of endless analysis of his friendship with Jimmy Saville and a lengthy description and retelling of every documentary he has ever made tape by tape. I got the feeling that after signing the book deal he must have had writers block and resorted to watching all his back catal ...more
Sam (she_who_reads_)
I’m not even a little surprised that I loved this- I have been watching and enjoying Louis Theroux’s documentaries for years and years, so it was great to get some insights into the making of them. I felt this was very open and honest look back at this life- often brutally so. He definitely doesn’t shy away from talking about things he thinks he did wrong, or exploring painful moments in his past. If you’re a fan of his, or of his documentaries, then I can’t imagine you won’t also enjoy this boo ...more
Esther King
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a little bit of a documentary addict. Given the opportunity, on the rare occasion where I tear myself away from books and face a television screen head-on, I am drawn mostly away from fiction and into the nasty corners of people's lives and appalling world industries. Given this, Louis Theroux is one of my favourite documentary makers, in part because he is a documentary in and of himself. He's somewhat difficult to work out, teetering between taking the mickey out of his sometimes ridiculo ...more
To be honest, I got theroux (!) this mostly as an audio book - read by Louis Theroux himself.

His voice, diction and overall narration reminded me of the voice-over from one of his documentaries - awkward, educated and inquiring.

The biggest surprise for me was the separation of the screen-self to the lived-self. Obviously, the screen-self is crafted and edited. But, how much was genuine and spontaneous has always intrigued me as a viewer.

Theroux shares his inner thoughts and self with the read
Matt Whittingham
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, and almost more of a companion piece to the TV shows, than an out and out autobiography. You do get a sense of his career progression, his first big break (from fellow documentarian Michael Moore), and some of his home life (parents, early marriage, children). But mainly this is a behind the scenes commentrary to some of the more famous TV episodes.

It does focus too much on Jimmy Saville, an event so huge it seems to still bug him now. Perhaps more than the fact he didn't get anyway
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times on Television is, like the author, self deprecating, honest and amusing. If you like Louis Theroux you'll like this.

He spends a disproportionate time discussing Jimmy Savile, someone he regarded as a kind of friend, so perhaps not surprising he wants to unpack his feelings about him.

Elsewhere he briefly chronicles his childhood, university, early working life, his loves, and his family.

Louis Theroux has carved out an interesting niche in televis
Thomas Barrett
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The spectre of Jimmy Savile looms throughout this book. During a first date with his future wife he remembers it was somewhere he went with Jimmy. During his wedding reception he gets the word that ITV is releasing their documentary on Savile's crimes. Perhaps, a book just on Savile probably would have been great. However, it means everything else feels slightly secondary. Louis wrestling with what his friendship with Savile meant often feels like the most honest and insightful parts of the book ...more
Michelle Ewen
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Louis Theroux is as weirdly wonderful on the page as he is on screen. This thoughtful and funny revisitation of his more memorable celebrity and cultist encounters feels intimate and revealing - offering a unique insight into Louis’ creative process.

It’s also a surprisingly candid reflection on his own foibles; after much soul-searching, he identifies as being as complicated, flawed and ultimately human as his documentary subjects.

A commendable attempt at self-examination, this is a great read
Hannah Jean
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book, and I would recommend it. I found it entertaining and well-paced. However, Louis' reflections on Saville are disappointing, cold, detached and far too focused on himself and Saville rather than the victims.

I've read other reviewers writing that Louis was 'deeply affected' by the revelations about Saville. While I agree that he was undoubtedly perturbed and inconvenienced by them, I don't completely agree with the implication that he was saddened or sic
Sid Nuncius
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was very good, in spite of the dreadful title. (It’s a reference to other people’s “humorous” use of his name, but even so…).

Louis Theroux is a very intelligent, amusing, thoughtful and humane man. His TV work speaks for itself and, like many others, I have enjoyed it and learned a great deal from it. There is a good deal of interesting insight here into how Louis got into making documentaries, the process of making them and some of the consequences of the programmes for him and f
Mark Farley
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Freaks, weirdos and the evil of society. The misunderstood and eccentrics of this world. Something right up my alley. I secretly wish I was Louis Theroux. But that will never happen. So I live vicariously through his documentaries of anything fucked up in this world. And this book has been long overdue. It's packed full of porn stars, the KKK, Scientologists, Christian hate groups, hippy communes and lots and lots of Jimmy Savile.

Oh yes, buckle yourselves in, folks. Jimmy Savile is all through
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Like Call of the Weird before it, this book is an exercise in recycling. The most interesting parts are about Louis himself, unusual in a man normally so self-effacing. It will make some readers feel old to see Paul Theroux relegated to the role of dad and tidied away in the early chapters. It does, however, provide the book’s funniest paragraph.

‘My father published short stories in Playboy so there was also, conveniently, a stash of pornography in the house. I borrowed these and I find it hard
Laura McConnell
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Being a through and Theroux (not sorry! ) fan, I was excited to finally read this book and I was not let down. From seeing all his shows from over the years, the book provides a good timeline and explanation of his work and his personal life behind the scenes. Louis is honest and open about his life becoming and working as a journalist to becoming a father, almost punishing himself with how much he was away making the shows he is famous for.
He goes on to discuss the famous, controversial shows h
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Zzzzzzz. Louis Theroux sat down with his diary and chronicled all the documentaries and tv shows he made, leaving out anything interesting and just putting in all the boring bits. He even rehashes a boring, on going argument with his wife about the division of work in their household.

As a punishment for listening to the audiobook, Theroux has added yet another chapter about Jimmy Saville even though his editor got it dropped from the print version on the basis of there was already too much of i
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Louis (Sebastian) Theroux was born in Singapore in 1970. His father, the American novelist and travel writer, Paul Theroux, met his mother, who worked for the V.S.O., in Uganda. Louis’ older brother Marcel Theroux was born in Kampala, "so as children we sort of globe trotted." But his father decided to buy a family home in England, and they settled down in a big, rambling, dilapidated house in Wan ...more

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