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Beautiful People [Paperback]

Simon Doonan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1 May 2008 --  

Book Description

1 May 2008

A charming and funny memoir of escaping a bonkers family and following your dreams

Simon Doonan's childhood was a curious mix of small town boredom and bright light city dreams. Growing up in a working class area of Reading with the mad-cap Doonan clan - Mother Betty, Father Terry, blind Aunt Phyllis, grandmother Narg and Grandfather D.C. - he yearned to get out and find the Beautiful People whom he imagined lived fabulous lives of glitz and glamour.

This is the charming and funny story of how Simon eventually finds a way out and escapes to London with best friend Biddie Biddlecombe. Along the way they stumble upon punks, drunks, ladies of the night, the long arm of the law and all sorts of camps, vamps and outrageous scamps.

But does he ever find the Beautiful People? Or could they be the ones he left behind…?


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Beautiful People + Beautiful People - Series 2 [DVD] + Beautiful People - Series 1 [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007269544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007269549
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘Simon Doonan’s life is a tawdry and hilarious romp.’ Rupert Everett.

‘When I read this book I laughed and cried. For anyone who grew up in the fifties and sixties it feels like all our lives.’ Jon Plowman, Executive Producer, The Office, Ab Fab, Little Britain.

‘At last: a childhood memoir that’s about coming to terms with fabulousness rather than incest or binge drinking. Who knew that Simon could write about growing up in a corner of England with as much wit, charm, and dead-on smarts as he brings to his chronicles of the luxe life in Manhattan?’ Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair.

‘Beautiful People is wickedly funny. Simon Doonan has an ear and an eye for sublimely bizarre details that will make readers laugh out loud.’ Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and The City.

‘Simon is a male Lucille Ball.’ Donna Karen.

‘Did you ever look at someone and wonder how they got the way they are? 'Beautiful People totally answers the question in Doonan's case. Read it - and weep! His tale of clawing his way out of the suburban suffocation of Reading to the manicured marvels of Manhattan is hilarious.’
Hilary Alexander, The Daily Telegraph

“Beautiful People is the very best kind of memoir: a cheer memoir” - Susie Boyt, Financial Times.

Donna Karan

`Simon is a male Lucille Ball.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
If you have read Doonan's 'Wacky Chicks' you'll be familiar with Narg, his lobotomised grandmother. In 'Beautiful People', Narg is back and in full effect rampaging through the pages and what a joy she is to behold!

In 'beautiful People', Doonan describes his early years in Reading, his move to London and eventually America. The joy of the book is that it is so camp and over the top that you can't help but smile. Early on, Doonan describes writing this autobiography as like having a 'psychological enema' and he lays even the most embarrassing details open for our enjoyment.

Delights include; Narg (of course); his mother's quest to get bigger and higher hair; the wine making attempts of his father (parsnip wine?? I don't think so); a joyous holiday at 1950's Butlins and Blind Aunt Phyllis's guide dog, Lassie, who guides Phyllis into an open grave.

A pure joy! Camp, delicious and just what the doctor ordered!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
If you have read Doonan's 'Wacky Chicks' you'll be familiar with Narg, his lobotomised grandmother. In 'Beautiful People', Narg is back and in full effect rampaging through the pages and what a joy she is to behold!

In 'beautiful People', Doonan describes his early years in Reading, his move to London and eventually America. The joy of the book is that it is so camp and over the top that you can't help but smile. Early on, Doonan describes writing this autobiography as like having a 'psychological enema' and he lays even the most embarrassing details open for our enjoyment.

Delights include; Narg (of course); his mother's quest to get bigger and higher hair; the wine making attempts of his father (parsnip wine?? I don't think so); a joyous holiday at 1950's Butlins and Blind Aunt Phyllis's guide dog, Lassie, who guides Phyllis into an open grave.

A pure joy! Camp, delicious and just what the doctor ordered!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful holiday read! 19 May 2008
Format:Paperback
This was my holiday read and I recommend it. This book, drink, sun-lounger, pool... perfect! It's very funny. Simon Doonan has a wicked way with words. I especially enjoyed his zany (?) but true-to-life view of things. I grew up in a different town and moved to London a bit later but the stories still reminded me of lots of things. I feel like I've met some of these people... or people like them over the years. Can't wait to see the TV series.

Charles Jamieson
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful People by Simon Doonan 4 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback
Simon's account of his life is a very interesting and humourous story.His childhood with the crazy Doonan clan. His yearning to escape from small town boredom and seek out the "Beautiful People"is full of things you may recall.This book inspired the BBC2 programme of the same name which borrowed much of Simon's syle of writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simon doonan's beautiful people 11 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a great read, entertaining and funny. It is the original story (the original title is Nasty) the tv series Beautiful People (hilarious!) was based on. Simon Doonan's descriptions of his family, friends and their adventures and misadventures is great fun but never cruel, he writes with great warmth and affection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Read 22 Jun 2009
By Magpie
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful read for those who were 'there' in the decades mentioned in the book and for those like me who were not! I thoroughly enjoyed the BBC series that the book was based on but of course they have only a passing similarity with each other as the BBC decided to bring the time period right forward - probably due to the budget constraints of filming a period drama.

The book sets out a rather heart-warming tale of one mans desire to be with the 'Beautiful People' only to realise that the truely Beautiful People were those he left behind.

I enjoyed the references to places I went to in later years and I defy anyone not to see something in themselves in many of the characters.

This would be a great read for almost everyone - I bought a second copy for my mom!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read the book AND watch the series! 21 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
If you expect this book to be a mirror image of the TV programmes you would be wrong but not, I think, disappointed. The TV series is very loosely based upon the book so you will find a very different set of colourful characters. The TV series is also set twenty years later than real life and a lot has changed in that time!

The real Simon Doonan's story is rather different.It certainly has its hilarious moments - like the time the mare he was riding gained the amorous attentions of a randy stallion! It also has its poignant episodes - like the death of a former lover from AIDS. "Mundo's diagnosis was my diagnosis", he says.

Enjoy this book. There are no 'girlfriends' but there are 'daughters'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An easy fun quick read ! 6 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
A very lighthearted (and perhaps sometimes flippant) account of life lived through the 'glory' years. It brought back happy memories of my own mispent youth and formative years in the sixties and early seventies. How wonderful it all was, no health and safety, no political correctness, no worries about the future, ample personal freedom and no big brother government watching our every move. Depressing to think it's now all gone down the pan ! It was a very easy read (cover to cover during one lazy Sunday) and I recommend this book for what it is, an easy going and fun account of an early life lived to the full when pressures were not so great.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book bought on recommendation of a friend - Love! love! love!
It's hillarious at points. I found myself suddenly laughing out loud in bed at it and reading on the train to work the next day, I started laughing out loud again. embarrassing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by ATC Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Rich, warm and entertaining, this book is a good read but very different from the TV series of the same name. Read more
Published 16 months ago by E. G. Maclellan
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful People - Beautiful Book
Simon and I were both born in 1952, but how different our lives. I enjoyed his, through this book, more than I did mine. Read more
Published on 14 Jun 2012 by Bruce Watson
3.0 out of 5 stars Came qucikly but heavily stained
The book came quickly and undamaged by packaging etc. But the cover was heavily stained. As the cover is fairly resilient to water I took a damp cloth to it, and it came off... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2012 by Martin
1.0 out of 5 stars Couttsie
This text was recommended by Amazon, presumably via some in-house 'fuzzy logic'; consequently, I purchased it. Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by Mr. Andrew J. Coutts
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and underrated
'Beautiful People', the BBC2 comedy series and the Simon Doonan book which inspired the TV series are both hilarious.
Published on 12 Feb 2010 by PJGE
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
When I first started reading Beautiful People I was sure that I was going to love it but sadly ended up becoming weary of the quirky anecdotes which at first were amusing and... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2010 by Tom Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars ON BEHALF OF A FRIEND
I bought this book and gave it to a friend. She said she enjoyed reading it. She gave it back to me but I haven't got around to reading it yet.
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by D. Callaghan
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