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Thinly Disguised Autobiography [Paperback]

James Delingpole
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 July 2004
From the author of Fin, the book that tells you like it is and like it was.

Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (2 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330493353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330493352
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


...a picaresque novel of charm and verve... A rueful confessional memoir is also a perceptive portrait of a troubled age. -- Julia Flynn in Sunday Telegraph, August 2003

...snappy, snortingly funny and incredibly propulsive - the apparently aimless narrative grips throughout. -- Paul Connolly in Times (Play), July 2003

...this is a rites of passage tale that pushes all the right 1980s nostalgia buttons. -- Daily Mirror, July 2003

Delingpole can write, for sure... Boswell's buffoonery and even some of his scapegrace charm. -- Anthony Quinn in Daily Telegraph, August 2003

I applaud Delingpole's reckless courage... [his] writing crackles with energy and wicked humour. -- Simon Shaw in Mail on Sunday, August 2003 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

It's 1984 and wearing the bad clothes and bad hairstyle that everyone wore back then because they didn't realise it was the early Eighties, Josh starts his first year at Oxford busting with hopes, ambitions, and ludicrously unrealistic expectations. Brideshead has just been on TV, the Sloane Ranger Handbook has laid down the rules, and now all Josh needs is to find his own Sebastian Flyte (preferably with a tasty sister). But what he also wants to do is to take lots of drugs, hang with the cool set, wear black, lose his virginity, shag lots of chicks and listen to the Smiths and New Order. The two aims, he discovers, are not necessarily compatible. But then very few of his ambitions are, for Josh is a man who wants everything and isn't going to stop until he gets it. Or, at least, until ten years of heavy-duty reality intervene to hint that life might be a touch messier and more complicated than was dreamt of in his philosophy. THINLY DISGUISED AUTOBIOGRAPHY is the story of that rude awakening, from the horrors of Fleet Street to the thrills of the LA riots, the Es at the Wag to trips at Glastonbury, from Oxford to London via Venice, Spetses, Laguna Beach and Bromsgove: the highs, the lows, and even a tiny bit of romance.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really worth reading. 10 April 2010
'Thinly Disguised' is just about right given what Mr Delingpole claims in his various newspaper and magazine columns about his student days. It is sporadically funny but the narrator - a snobbish social climber who wishes he'd gone to Eton and spends his time at Oxford trying to hang out with upper-class students in the hope that people might think he's one of them - is not very convincing at all.

Delingpole can do a lot better - for evidence of this, see the very promising Dick Coward adventures. In fact, had I read this novel before I read 'Coward on the Beach', I might not have bothered with that! As early novels written by male authors and containing more than a hint of autobiographical detail go, this is worth comparing with Nicholas Monsarrat's 'This is the Schoolroom'. It's not as good, though.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable Trash 17 Aug 2010
By Sontee
Thinly disguised autobiography? Really? If this was really his life James Dellingpole is one lucky man! Although he seems to paint a picture of a journalist's life that I don't recognise. Though perhaps being an entertainment journalist (which I never really have done) gets you tickets into some top parties. I do wish life was like that for journos but my experience is anything but!
I had no social life while in the newsroom and the mistrust among people within and outside the media about journalists is palpable. Perhaps it was easier and more fun in the 90s, which is when John Deveraux our lead man takes up his career as a journalist.
This racy book also offers some drug fuelled episodes and our male lead is perpetually drunk. He is a shameless social climber who wanted to have studied at Eton and wasn't just pleased with his Oxford degree.
It's trashy but fun and very readable. The perfect `empty-your-mind' read.
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By Sam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jim's "Thinly Disguised Autobiography" is the world's most cheerful novel to date. Makes you feel relieved that you didn't get to Oxford with its drugs, smoking and drinking "culture". A great guide to making love to older women, including fitting "caps" and using gel. Not too happy with the smoking weed and drug dealing. I know a couple of weed resin smokers and they're pathetic losers. I believe that this excessive liberalism is immoral and that the Islamic solution of stoning or removing the offending body parts is the only effective deterrent, but everyone to his own fate, I guess. This book does have some failures. The sex is so lame it's comedy, and there's no violence. The journalism career dialogue is really funny, however (the following quote is from page 470):

"I'm giving everything up - flat, job, Simone very probably because I don't want any distractions - and I'm ****ing off to Languedoc for as long as it takes to write my novel. ... But you know what? In six months I'll be going, 'Yeah, well, anyone can write a novel. It's getting it published that's the real test.' Then I'll get it published and I'll be going: 'Well, of course, any damned fool can publish one novel. The real test is whether you can manage fifteen..' And so it will go on until I die of exhaustion, never having had any fun in my life because I'll have been too busy trying to achieve."
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No-holds barred confessional 12 Nov 2004
If you liked Hugo Young's "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People", this'll be right up your alley. It's a weird book, in that the author behaves like a tosser throughout, but because he's brutally honest about his life, you have to admire him. Some incredibly accurate chapters on bad drug experiences had me almost having a panic attack by proxy. And it's not often you can say that about the paperback you're reading.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's done it at last 28 July 2003
By A Customer
I have long been a fan of James Delingpole's journalism and have always made a point of reading his novels. The first, Fishshow, is full of brilliant set pieces - the cod (no pun intended) restaurant reviews are anthology-worthy - but the plot does become rather convoluted. Also, the deeply intriguing mystery established in the book's first third is not quite satisfactorily resolved at its climax. His second novel, Fin, is a marked improvement. It's full, like the first, of tremendous moments, but this time the story-telling is far more streamlined. Both are well worth an intelligent reader's time and money. But his third and latest, Thinly Disguised Autobiography, is a triumph, and a thrilling flowering of all Delingpole's early promise. What he's done here is abandon plot completely. He's simply telling the story of a young, Delingpole-like (presumably) character's progress from Oxbridge to Fleet Street, from puppyhood to a kind of manhood, via not always happy experiences with, inter very much alia, drugs, women, and the celebrities who the narrator would love to love him. His character learns little and what a relief that is during the current Oprah-inspired vogue for heroes and heroines who triumph over adversity. As the Charles Kaufman character says in the excellent film Adaptation (and let's hope the real Kaufman gets to adapt Delingpole one day - they are made for one another), life's just not like that. By employing the "thin disguise" of fiction, Delingpole frees himself from the friends-and-lovers-protecting, libel-dodging mealy-mouthedness that blights so many "true" memoirs. One of the many delights of his book is spotting - and it's not hard to do - which famous character he's revealing in an outrageous light NOW. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
Unflinchingly honest - just like his journalism his honesty shows a writer who has the guts to tell it like it is and bugger the consequences.
Published on 16 Aug 2011 by Young Goblin
1.0 out of 5 stars Whingeing, insecure drivel from a right wing idiot
I thought this book was OK until I became aware of Delingpole's journalism, recent posts of which deny the impacts of climate change, support the British Empire and leant sympathy... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2009 by Ray L
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
I read this book about two years ago and I thought it was one of the best books I've read ... very funny, some very cringeworthy moments but ultimately I loved it and cannot... Read more
Published on 26 April 2008 by Tink
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly honest; daring to say what others only think!
"It's a beautiful song, the sort that makes you tight in your throat; that makes you yearn for a golden time you probably never experienced but would sell your soul to... Read more
Published on 15 April 2007 by Bethany Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinly-disguised self-reviewer?
It would be very much in keeping with the spirit of this book if all the rave reviews it has received were actually written by Delingpole, and he was secretly hating and loving... Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2006 by Rex Slater
5.0 out of 5 stars All too true
The is an absolutely brilliant book.Horribly true to life.As someone else said if this is thinly disguised autobiography then it is the most truthful i have read in a long long... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
Superbly written in a manner that will not allow you to put it down, this has to be the funniest book that I have read this year! Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars An uncomfortable pleasure to read
This book was a pleasure to read; witty and amusing, but also quite poignant, it reminded me of Weedon & Grossmiths' "Diary of a Nobody" but written from the perspective of a... Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2003 by Isabel Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars it's brilliant, just buy it
It's a great book, very funny, very open, very full of all human insecurities, do I look good, what do they think of me, how can I fit in and so on. Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2003 by so addictive!
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