Michael Caine's updated autobiography is readable enough in a breezy, forgetable way, but there's not much new here that wasn't covered in the first book he wrote about his life. To that end, even saying as he does in the introduction that some stories are worth re-telling, this is a repeat performance of book 1 by most people's standards.
Caine's career has appeal because it came from that time when people were making it big in acting from backgrounds that had once been closed to the profession. Clearly close to his roots and where he came from, Caine's recall of family life and hardships continues to be the strongest, most honest, aspects of his writing. Elsewhere, the seemingly endless life of making films, going to parties, hobnobbing with the rich and famous etc starts to grate after a while, and there really isn't much substance behind most of the anecdotes here. It's with a sense of boredom rather than envy one glides through several of the chapters.
Bringing his story bang up to date, there is something slightly uncomfortable about his cosying up to modern day stars and saying how wonderful they are. Some of it just doesn't ring true. Also, chapters on the happiness of family life, recipe tips for perfect roast potatoes and a bolt-on appendices of favourite films (no real surprises on the list) - lend an air of trying to pad things out beyond reason.
Like one of his best pals Roger Moore, Caine has produced a book that really only scratches the surface of a life lived in film and entertainment. It reads like an affectionate look back on a lifestyle that most of us will never know, and a way of film making that most stars today will never experience.
As usual, the press reviews have over-egged what, by most people's standards, will be the quickest and lightest of reads.