Every now and again I get the urge to read something outside of my beloved fiction. As I noted last time, I don’t often do this as I prefer the escapism of make believe. I don’t like to read about reality… I live there already!
As before though, it was an autobiography that struck my interest, by another of my favourite comedians – Michael McIntyre. I eagerly watch anything on TV with him in it, including repeats, because I find his sense of humour and quirky style hilarious. I did wonder if I would find his writing as funny but was also interested in how his career came about, because it seemed almost as if he was an overnight discovery, plucked from obscurity like a comedic Susan Boyle.
The truth is far from it. I had no idea how hard he’d fought to get where he is, how personal circumstance and sheer bad luck almost prevented him from being the phenomenon we now know and love, which would have been a crime. His writing is as funny as his stand-up but with extra depth and emotion. He’s not having to be a live wire for ten minutes or a couple of hours here and as he took me through his life, both funny times and sad, I learned a lot about the man and where he came from. He holds nothing back in this frank outpouring (all I’ll say is puberty!) and there are many laugh out loud moments that you can just imagine from his descriptions. The photo’s are interesting, seeing Michael at different ages, but his captions and anecdotes really bring them to life.
The book was so engaging I couldn’t put it down and when I’d finished, I immediately wanted to find the audiobook just to hear it in his unique voice.
An all round funny, touching and highly recommended account of the life (so far!) of a comedy genius.
- Author: Michael McIntyre
I was a bit disappointed with Summer of Love which is unusual for me and a Katie Fforde novel since I usually ADORE them. It’s still a funny and sweet story but I felt it lacked Fforde’s usual sparkle. It’s by no means a bad book, I still read it in a day and would read it again, but it is not one of her best.
One of the things I find outstanding in her writing are the characterisations; they are loveable, believable and sometimes larger than life. In Summer of Love this is still the case but some of the reactions and interactions just missed the mark and I found some conversations a little confusing.
The plot itself while simple and sweet felt very close to a few other books I’ve read in the past which is perhaps why it didn’t feel quite right to me. ‘Girl meets boy, has only one day before he has to leave the country, mad romp ensues and has unexpected consequences. Forward five years to see where Girl is at now and ends up meeting Boy again, confused feelings, arguments then Happy Ending’. Usually that’s the kind of story I love, but it just seemed to lack the impact her books usually bring.
I did like the main characters however, Sian and Rory were funny and a great mum and son team. Fiona was just loveable and I think everyone would want her as a friend! James was a nice surprise and became much more than he first appeared. Gus had moments when he irritated me but on the whole he was just what Sian needed.
The character I didn’t like at all was Richard, he just didn’t really seem to have any impact whatsoever, except to give Sian a different option, and not really a very good one at that.
There were also a few typos which jerked me out of the story, and again this is very unusual for a Fforde book. If I had to describe how the book felt, I would simply say it felt rushed.
Definitely worth reading since it is a sweet story but not one of her best, I’m sad to say.
- Author: Katie Fforde