Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Is Your Life: A Novel” as Want to Read:
This Is Your Life: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Is Your Life: A Novel

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  665 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
A hugely entertaining novel about the art of stand up comedy, This is Your Life was a runaway bestseller in England. O'Farrell's hero, Jimmy Conway, starts out the novel at the London Palladium. He is about to perform his stand up comedy routine in front of two thousand invited guests and millions more watching the event live on TV. He steps out blinking into the spotlight ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by Grove Press (first published May 1st 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Is Your Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This Is Your Life

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I may have to give it 5 stars actually, but for now, since the feeling is still so new, I am trying to hold my enthusiasm back. I found it to be so funny.

"This Is Your Life" is a satirical look at the lengths one guy goes to in order to become famous. This book is hilarious, but not only in the sense that you will smile knowingly at clever statements. This book is hilarious in that I laughed out loud many times while reading it. I have already saved my favorite paragraphs. The
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
The book begins as Jimmy Conway is about to go on stage to do his stand-up routine before a live TV audience. There has been a lot of "buzz" generated over Jimmy, Britain's best new comic talent. He does have one problem: he has never done stand-up comedy before.

Jimmy always wanted to be famous. Instead, he is a teacher in a language school in a run-down seaside village. He manages to go to the funeral of a TV star and is mistaken for a famous person, himself. Because Jimmy is supposed to be fam
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insospettabile. Oltre a essere spigliato e divertente, non avrei mai immaginato che fosse così ben scritto e strutturato e condito con inaspettate e interessanti riflessioni.
A funny book is this one, but possibly more in the peculiar than the outright ‘ha-ha’ sense if you catch my drift.

Written in a typical ’everybloke’ Hornby and/or Gayle – esque style, this novel questions concepts of fame, artificiality and life satisfaction in layman’s terms. From the viewpoint of the ultimate Mr Average, middle of the road-Joe protagonist Jimmy Conway dares chance his way into the fame game and celeb status by sheer fakery and pretence. As his efforts to embrace fame are accept
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing wrong with dreaming big in life, planning your future from a young age, writing letters to yourself to be read when you become a grown up and are actually famous. There is only a problem of course when you don't become famous, when you don't achieve that greatness that you know you were destined to achieve. Instead you become a lowly teacher of English as a second language in an English backwater town, leading a pretty down at heel sort of wasted life. Single, broke, bored, disillusioned ...more
David Proffitt
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

To anyone who is new to his work let me start by saying how delighted I was when he failed in his recent quest to become an MP; Westminster's loss is very much the literary world's gain as I am sure he would have thrown himself so completely into the role that he would have stopped writing, and that would never do.

In “This Is Your Life”, John O’Farrell casts his critical eye over the cynical and shallow world of celebrity. We are led on the journey by would be comic, Jimmy Conway. As a spotty te
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stuff!
Kirsty Hoggons
This book is all about one man's quest to become famous. I feel like a lot of people can relate to this because how many of us haven't wanted to become famous? It is something that a lot of people can relate to. It also made me think about the lengths that people will go to to become famous and to live a certain lifestyle. It can be scary to think that people are willing to do almost anything to get recognised by others. In this book the main character, Jimmy, also doesn't actually do anything t ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read this in....HIGH SCHOOL (just for the record, what an odd high schooler I was....getting into all these random British books that nobody else was probably reading anywhere else...), well, here is the journal entry from all the way back then.

Sun. Mar. 13, 2005
OK, Kenny,
I just finished this book by John O'Farrell called This is Your Life and it was very entertaining and revealed a lot about Celebrity-ism and how obsessesed we are of the famous (me, included). Anyway, the thing I l
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, satire
After posing as close friend and running partner of recently-deceased comedy legend Billy Scrivens, nondescript, underachieving Jimmy Conway procures himself an invitation to the high-profile funeral, where he convinces a gullible journalist that he is the latest underground comedy sensation, when, in fact, he has never done standup in his life.

Jimmy inexplicably becomes an overnight celebrity and soon finds himself buried in bluffs and outright lies told to protect his deep, dark secret. This
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Little Green Man
  • Utterly Monkey
  • With One Lousy Free Packet Of Seed
  • Doodling
  • Symposium
  • 6 Sick Hipsters
  • Cut My Hair
  • Brand New Friend
  • Whatever Love Means
  • Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived
  • De Sade's Valet
  • A Cabinet of Wonders
  • The Wig My Father Wore
  • Soft
  • Dark Mirror (Brock & Kolla, #10)
  • Happiness
  • The Savage Girl
  • Blood Atonement (Nigel Barnes #2)
John O'Farrell is the author of four novels: The Man Who Forgot His Wife, May Contain Nuts, This Is Your Life and The Best a Man Can Get. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages and have been adapted for radio and television. He has also written two best-selling history books: An Utterly Impartial History of Britain and An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain, as well a ...more
More about John O'Farrell...