Journalist John O'Farrell's second book of fiction is a tour de force about fame, celebrity and the tacky, flimsy world of showbiz! The central character, Jimmy Conway, blends into the background, drinks in the same pub with the same friends and seems as normal as instant coffee. But lurking in his past is a dire secret; Jimmy has always yearned for stardom and even wrote letters as a teenager to his future self with advice on how to handle it. After accidentally meeting Billy Scrivens - a more Dickensian name you could not find in modern fiction - and consequently being interviewed for television on the event of Scrivens' death Jimmy is launched on a crazily out of control ascent to the peak of stardom. For Billy Scrivens is (was) Britain's favourite TV personality and Jimmy builds on his tenuous friendship with the deceased to convince the populace that he is in fact Scrivens' successor and the brightest unknown stand up comedian for years.
The truth will out and when it does it is in the most unpredictable and sharply observed form possible. O' Farrell's wit and biting satire strip the celebrities and their status of all dignity, revealing them as sordid, shallow back stabbers. This Is Your Life is probably the funniest British book I have read since Jonathan Coe's hilarious What A Carve Up and is destined, like Coe's, to be read time and time again. A comic masterpiece!