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David Mitchell: Back Story [Paperback]

David Mitchell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 May 2013

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:

• the singular, pitbull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’)

• the curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm

• why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink

• the pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds

• the satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide

• how doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica

• trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding

• that he has fallen in love at LOT, but rarely done anything about it

• why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday

• that he’s not David Mitchell the novelist. Despite what David Miliband might think

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David Mitchell: Back Story + Mack The Life + It's Not Me, It's You!: Impossible perfectionist seeks very very very tidy woman
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007351747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007351749
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘One of the best celebrity memoirs of last year…his outsider geek personality translates just as well on the page as it does on TV.’ Metro

‘It livened up about half way through with the appearance of me. But enough of David's life. The book is wonderful from beginning to end.’ Robert Webb

'David Mitchell is an extremely funny man on screen, in person, in print and very probably underwater.' Sam Bain, co-writer of Peep Show

‘He can write’ Evening Standard

‘Fluent, discursive, intelligent.’ Evening Standard

‘If you like Mitchell on television, you will like him in this book.’ Shortlist

About the Author

David Mitchell is a comedian, actor and writer. He stars in Peep Show, writes for the Observer, co-hosts 10 O'Clock Live, has appeared in every TV or radio panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Quote Unquote and A League Of Their Own and has been in two films neither of which made a profit. He is married, childless and the polysyllabic member of the double-act 'Mitchell and Webb'. Soon he will do more.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing - apart from... 22 Jan 2013
By Hodderz
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of David Mitchell, I like his work, his intelligence and his outlook on life, even though he twists himself in knots about it. So I purchased this in hardback straight after Christmas.

He struggles to explain his steady rise to success, but basically it's because he is a swotty, very intelligent man. A combination that eventually pays off. There's some funny anecdotes - cooking the lobster stands out - but overall it was rather disappointing. Apart from the penultimate chapter in which he matter-of-factly describes his adoration of Victoria Coren (me too). That one chapter is a beautiful love essay, completely out of style with the remaining chapters in the book. I could have done with a bit more detail, like how on earth he survived three years knowing she was with someone else. But to be honest, it just about makes the entire book worth buying. Or you could read the chapter standing in the bookshop I suppose.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somebody I'd Like to Know... 5 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've admired David Mitchell's TV work for a long time - much preferring his panel shows, with their lightning fast wit and theatre-sports improvisation to the scripted stuff like Peepshow or the sketch shows. "Would I Lie To You?" is, I think, one of the most delightful shows to screen on British TV in a long long time, just because of the its unpredictability. In fact, the only thing Mitchell's ever done that I wasn't impressed with was the big red Mitchell and Webb book, which I think tried just too hard.

So I was hoping that this would contain more of the naturally warm and funny Mitchell that I love on TV, and less of the over-written comedian - and I'm really delighted to say that I think it does. Mitchell shines through every page as an intelligent, caring, warm person with a really sly sense of fun coupled with a very real humility. His chapter on meeting and falling for Victoria Coren is genuinely touching (pity the other reviewers here who have sneered at this chapter) and overall he's re-confirmed himself as someone I'd really be pleased to call a friend. Sometimes, less really is more, and to have overdone this memoir would have been a shame.

God, but he was a dorky-looking teenager though....!
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115 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right David Mitchell 12 Oct 2012
By S.Jane
I don't usually leave reviews but I have made an exception in this case, partly due to how useless i found the only other review currently available.
Yes, it's David Mitchell the comedian. Hence his face on the cover....and in the amazon video explaining how he isn't the guy who wrote Cloud Atlas (another great book btw!)....and in the book jacket... etc.

That established I found it to be a thoroughly entertaining read, part life story and part general observations of life, all told with humour and humility. Several times I actually laughed out loud and I found the honesty very refreshing. There are no great tragedies in this book, it's not a hard luck story, but it's full of the little things that some of us find awkward or uncomfortable at times. Right down to buying pants in Marks & Sparks - well I'm not even famous and I don't really like it!

I haven't seen too much of his work on TV, but having watched a few episodes of 'Would I Lie To You', detailing some funny (if slightly odd!) truths from his past, I thought the book might be a good investment. In my opinion, it really is. And (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending. My kind of book.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clown Atlas 14 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well someone was going to use that heading. I just got there first. And now it's mine forever.

This book is a tricky proposition. An autobiography of an amiable, witty and talented chap whose general amiability, talent and wit have been justly rewarded with a successful career making people laugh, enough money to prevent him worrying about not having enough money and, ultimately, the love of a good woman to end his loneliness.

This is no misery memoir. Young David spent his extreme youth pretending to be a French King, succeeding at exams and watching TV. Of beatings, divorces, drug addiction and crime, all of which have been triumphed over with remarkable character and determination, there is not a sniff. And he is not even that old. Certainly not old enough to write a whole autobiography. With luck, he's not even half way through his life. So the book lacks dramatic tension and the satisfaction, for the reader, of experiencing terrible illnesses and disasters at second hand.

Which is not to say that it's no good. It's very good. Mitchell's honesty and generally amiable approach to a life in which the greatest trial is not dating his true love for a while shine through. It's often extremely funny, in a self deprecating English sort of way. It's also sort of inspiring. After all, our hero set out to achieve a nearly impossible career and succeeded. It's only his modesty that makes it seem less than it is and the modesty is quite inspiring too. And there is a marvellous hint that there's more to him than he lets on. The chapter about his relationship with Victoria Coren is really beautiful and touching and romantic.

So what about the clown atlas? In the absence of a really major narrative thread, Mitchell has built the book around a walk across London.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really funny, really easy read. If you like Dave Mitchell or peep Show you'll definitely enjoy this
Published 7 days ago by Al Dude
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and witty
An enjoyable read told in an original structure
Published 8 days ago by D. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great present
Published 15 days ago by Maddie
2.0 out of 5 stars ... his childhood / school / university days its all pretty dull stuff...
David wanders around London harking back to his childhood / school / university days its all pretty dull stuff can't see what Robert Webb saw in him I can see what David saw in... Read more
Published 18 days ago by philip harper
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable
Written with the same acerbic wit and intelligent commentary as you expect from David Mitchell on the TV, this book is alternately hilarious and thought-provoking. Read more
Published 1 month ago by kindler
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for David Mitchell fans
If you love David Mitchell you'll love this. Written as he speaks on TV, an amusing but also thoughtful read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Loulou
5.0 out of 5 stars very wonderful..
David Mitchell the comedian who wrote a book, not the author I know it's confusing but a brilliant insight into one of the brightest minds of this generation.
Published 1 month ago by Devon Blues
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by sjb
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Laughed all the way through great read
Published 2 months ago by ele
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed it.
Published 2 months ago by K T Carpenter
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