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How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of.

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A hilarious story of how a self–confessed, perpetual "Big Kid" deals with his greatest fear of getting older and is the perfect book for everyone who, deep down, still thinks they're 18 years old Comedian Richard Herring has a major problem. He’s about to turn 40 and hasn’t seen it coming. He’s not married, doesn’t have a proper job or 2.4 children. But now, finally, it lo ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 6th 2010 by Ebury Press (first published February 14th 2010)
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Showing 1-30
3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  607 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-brits
I read this book in one day. There, I said it. It took me all day, but it was a pretty good day.

Rich's writing style is eloquent, intelligent, and shamelessly open. He holds nothing back, he presents himself as an actual whole human, not as someone writing a memoir to make a point (but which, of course, he is). This is a memoir of a damaged and possibly deranged (let's face it) man struggling to make himself feel whole. If there is one thing about Rich that is to be admired, it's that he really
Ben Baker
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I like Richard Herring although it took me a fair while to come round to that opinion with lots of middling projects and terrible ideas post-Stewart Lee split. This find Rich somewhere around that transformative period and gives a lot of background as to why. Part of my issue with this book is that his daily blog already made him considerably more open than many of his contemporaries in many ways and this reads like a lot of strung together lengthier entries. I suspect slashed of at least 50 pag ...more
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
As the comedian Richard Herring approached his fortieth birthday he found himself behaving in ways that were increasingly childish. His life was a non-stop round of gigging, drinking, getting up late and then spending most of the day sitting around in his pants eating sweets and playing video games. His search for a relationship was becoming increasingly desperate, alternating between hopeless romanticism and a series of ill-advised temporary flings. He didn't even know if he really wanted a lon ...more
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Richard Herring Fans
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Richard Herring. Sometimes I find his comedy hilarious and heartwarming (personally, I think What is Love Anyway is the best thing he's done and the Ferrero Rocher routine is just brilliant), othertimes I find it totally unfunny (e.g. the 'begat' nonsense in Christ on a Bike), and sometimes I just find him offensive (but can't list a particular example here). When seeing him in person, and out of the 'character' he wears on stage, I find him to be a ...more
Matthew Marcus
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Richard Herring does seem like a nice, and obviously a funny, guy, but this book presents a real problem for him. It's a story about the transition from irresponsible kidulthood to (relative) maturity, but here's the thing: being childish is inherently funny. Behaving like a responsible adult, not so much. Herring sets himself the impossible task of having to sing the praises of healthy eating, committed relationships and laying off the booze... when his writing is much more likely to take off o ...more
Jacki Davenport
wish I hadn't read this - have gone off Rich completely after finding out exactly how sleazy he is irl. What a shame as he is a talented comedian :(
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Entertaining - and wincingly honest - for the most part, but it loses it at the end when he falls in lurve and loses all self-awareness. YAWN.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is required reading for any Richard Herring fan, though don't get your hopes up too much. Two thirds of the book is him wallowing in self pity so it's not very entertaining. There are a few very funny moments thankfully. The start of the book was incredibly funny, the author regaled all the fights he's had in his life. After that, it gets a bit verbose and dry. All in all, it is good to know how he ended up finishing his life of debauchery to settle down with his soulmate. He is a skil ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
If it was not for the fact that I've recently seen Richard Herring in his Edinburgh show "Oh Frig, I'm Fifty" I would be seriously worried that he was unlikey to make it to far into his forties. He displays the classic impulsive decision making and poor life choices of someone suffering from depression. Fortunately, I know from listening to him over the last decade on podcasts and having seen several of his shows, that Richard has pulled himself around, which is fortunate for those who like his ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a recent discoverer of RHLSTP and a long-time fan of Fist of Fun and TMWRNJ back in the day, I enjoyed this a lot. It read like a book by Mike Gayle or Nick Hornby, rather than a memoir, which I think made it even better. I related to his inner conflicts a lot.
Signe Jørgensen
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very human human

Richard Herring is a manchild. He is both naive and funny, thoughtful and mature. It's a lovely book about a very ordinary, exceptional and unique man.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, comedy
This book is really, really funny. It is well written and interesting and puts his previous effort (Talking Cock) to shame. Whilst that was basically a dissertation on the penis (a male version of The Vagina Monologues) this is an actual story. I assume that the majority of the tale he tells is true – I occasionally read his blog and there were certain moments that I knew something about as a result of this. But is is not just a retreading of the blog, it is the tale of a man who is stuck in a l ...more
James Manders
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I like the (incredibly vast) body of work of Richard Herring, the stand up shows, the podcasts, the radio work and this was the last of the 4 of his books I had queued up to read, which I finally got around to.

It is different to the blog books as it isn't a daily account of his life when he was 40 but a story with a thread running throughout.

It gives an insight into the life of a working comedian and of something of a mid-life crisis.

The incredible thing about this book is just how honest he is
Kev Bickerdike
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Is he bildungsroman? Is he picaresque? Or is he just that bloke off of the telly?
What Richard is, is a genuinely funny bloke. The phrase laugh out loud is possibly the most overused and meaningless phrase of the internet savvy generation, but I did indeed laugh at a certain volume constantly whilst reading the memoirs of a fried chicken eating lothario.
Yes, I am a fan, but as other reviewers have also commented not the kind of fan who slavishly laps up everything Richard puts out. So my enjoymen
Lulu Wreikat
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First time I read it back in March it took me a week to finish it!
I kept thinking of it when I was done, the way his life turns around inspired me dramatically, though I'm almost 21 only!
I decided to read it again, but this time I took my time, I left this book to be the last escape to turn to; this so familiar story and enjoy the hilariousness of Richard Herring! I finished it again, inspired even more and more in love with the brilliant finishing of it! I knew where my favorite pages are, tho
Sarah Tipper
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is ideal for anyone approaching their fortieth birthday with less than enthusiasm and also for those who have experienced this supposedly milestone birthday and now smugly know there’s nothing to it. It’s funny and confessional. At the end it’s sweet, but before that it’s a bit sleazy and lost. This book taught me the plural Flumpses. You should look up “Pyrrhic victory” before reading if you don’t know who he was and what it was. It’s not used with quite the frequency in which Alan Partrid ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very very funny book. On how the other half approach (and pass) forty, considering 'the other half' in this case is unmarried, without children and famous. I feel almost guilty laughing at all his terrible exploits and moral dilemas, but then I have plenty of my own as a married man with two kids and no fame. I think it's fair to say that kinda balances things out, and I don't really have to feel guilty at laughing at him.

Mostly, however, I'm laughing with him. He's a very funny man. Although h
Anthony Ryan
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Comedian Richard Herring's account of his reaction to turning 40 is often painfully honest but also frequently hilarious. The distinctly unglamorous life of a working stand-up is revealed as a lonely and frustrating parade of hotel rooms and variable audience response as Herring charts his misadventures, from brawling with a drunken university lecturer in Liverpool to an ill-advised if longed for threesome (Champagne anyone?). Herring's eventual acceptance of the inevitability of age, aided by f ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
The crux of the book isn't compelling enough as a premise to sustain itself so the book dawdles off into little funny tangents and routines every so often. Which would be fine except it means when he decides to get maudlin or serious the momentum isn't there to care as much as you'd hope too. Also some of the conversations he writes with people (particularly Emma) sound so excruciatingly false due to the otherwise chatty tone of the book that it's distracting. It reads like an over-stretched sta ...more
Martin Smith
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books. This isn't because I like Richard Herring, although I do, but because I could relate so much of it to my experiences.

We are of a similar age give or take a year, we have both enjoyed a few drinks in our time and have both gained and shifted a few pounds. I found it a very honest and personal account as well as being highly entertaining and very funny.

I'd recommend it to any forty something but would also add that my 17 year old daughter also read it and loved
Ele Wilson
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading this book but found it really enjoyable. Richard Herring speaks with a blunt honesty about his romantic quests, his struggle to settle down and the constant battle to remain funny in an ever increasing world of comedy. He takes us through the months leading to his 40th birthday and the many battles he faced with himself to control his childish instincts as well as how life has since changed ....for the better!
Remarkably funny and intere
Nov 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh god, I'm a huge fan of Richard Herring and I'm glad I bought this book (He has given me many hours of free entertainment with his podcast) but...

It's awful. I very rarely fail to finish books but this one is so bad, so unfunny and just so, well, horrible that I couldn't manage it. I've got about 50 pages from the end but I can't will myself to get any further.

If you're a fan of the podcast then buy it anyway just to say thank you, but please don't read it.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, and Im a girl!- he is so refreshingly honest, I think the comments saying hes sleazy arent exactly incorrect, but he KNOWS how badly hell come across in admitting certain things and does it anyway, he doesnt lie to keep us all happy. I for one like him for that, I think hes slightly tongue-in-cheek anyway, and its an amusing & enjoyable read.
From a fellow, although perhaps less extreme kidult, definate thumbs up.
Suleman Ali
May 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: rubbish
Like many others, i found Richard Herrings Coming of Age memoir, very disappointing. I have enjoyed Herrings comedy and still find his stand up very funny. But this book was a massive let down. It simply came across as a sleazy old man not wanting to grow up. Then realising he had to and feeling miserable about it.

Was it honest? yes.

Was it entertaining? no.

Was I bored? Yes.
May 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like herring, I've seen him live a few times, and he is quite outrageously funny, with material that you find yourself almost horrified to be laughing's a shame then that this is so tame, and felt like a compilation of women he has slept with.
Some amusing moments saved it from one start, but a key down for me.
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It had some funny lines and observances in it but I think I was expecting a more comedy mishap kind of story.

What it seemed to be in the end is a story about a bloke looking for love as he reaches the age of the mid life crisis.

An OK and easy read overall. However, I may have been expecting too much.
Paul McMeekin
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. A very funny but brutally honest account of what it's like to aproach a milestone birthday (40 in this case)whilst having doubts about your worth. What's more, Richard Herring is a bloody decent writer. Nice one!
Dave Powell
was glad to find this in the library. I've been a fan of Richard Herring for a while. Maybe more of a book for fans but I appreciated his take on how we are supposed to behave as a grown up and how this doesnt always fit in with our "childish" desires.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wryly amusing jaunt thru Mr Herrings angsty 40th year - not as random or filthy as his podcasting, but a surprisingly open and heartfelt affair. We all suspected he was a lovely, smart chap underneath the taunting, swearing and jizz jokes...
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