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This Is Your Life [Paperback]

John O'Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2003

It's a big night at the London Palladium. As Jimmy Conway steps out blinking into the spotlights live on national television, he can't help wondering whether he should have perhaps shared his little secret with someone by now. Jimmy has never done any performing of any sort ever before...

Just as 'bogus doctors' are occasionally discovered working in hospitals, Jimmy Conway has become a 'bogus celebrity'; winning an award for something he never did, being photographed in Hello! in someone else's house, and ultimately making a fool of the entire mad and shallow celebrity merry-go-round.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552998494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297777168
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 301,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Excellently done...O'Farrell gives an extra squirm to the traditional English comedy of embarrassment' -- The Sunday Times

Book Description

A compelling and very funny novel about how we define 'success'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the funniest book I have ever read 5 Dec 2002
By Tora F
I cannot believe how many times I laughed out loud when I was reading this book. It is a very funny, clever book. Jimmy Conway rediscovers the expections he had of life when he was 15. At 35 it hasn't really turned out like he had expected and once again he lets his teenage self take over and go all out in pursuit of his earlier goals i.e. fame. If the idea sounds tempting to you then you better read this book and find out what happens when Jimmy Conway does just that. I have to say that the book got mildly annoying towards the end, but I guess the character is meant to be annoying. Still I it worthwhile to keep reading because you will never guess the great twist towards the end. I really recommend this book for anyone who is wondering when they got a normal boring life and what happened to their high flying plans and goals or for anyone just after a good laugh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A witty look at the effects of fame... 9 Jun 2003
I read O'Farrell's first book "The Best a Man Can Get" in pretty much one sitting. It was witty and dry and I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, this one never quite lives up to the expectations.
Jimmy Conway spent his school days fantasising about how he would behave when he became famous. On reaching the age of 35 none of his fantasies have managed to come true. Yet somehow, following the death of a national celebrity and some fairly far-fetched coincidences, he blags his way into becoming a celebrity - without ever having to perform.
The book explores some serious issues - the effects of celebrity and how we see our friends - but mostly manages to do so in a light-hearted way. It is witty and the characters are charming.
It's not quite as good as O'Farrell's first fiction work, but I bought it on a Saturday and finished it the following Monday evening, which for me is quite good going. It's not that I couldn't put it down, it's just that every time I did, quite soon after, I wanted to pick it up again!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satire Is Alive and Well 11 Feb 2003
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!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this book is going to be a movie some day... 31 July 2004
...I want to see Simon Pegg in the lead!
A friend gave me this book and predicted, that I have read it within two days. Well, he was absolutly right. I really could have read it in 48 hours, but I streched it a little bit 'cause this is one of the rare books you simply don't want to end.
Buy it right now and have a balll!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 23 Jun 2005
I read this after finishing The Best A Man Can Get hoping it would be as witty and laugh-out-loud funny. I wasn't disappointed.
John O'Farrell has a hilarious way with words that has you smiling at every page turn.
Feel you've missed out on fame? Read this book and you'll be glad you have!
Highly recommend it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY THIS BOOK!!!!! 3 Dec 2002
I have also read "The Best a Man Can Get" and though that was great, this book exceeds it in so many ways. It is about time the shallow world of celebrity was covered in this very entertaining way. I found myself laughing out load on the bus, train or wherever I was at the genius of O'Farrell's observational humour - a genre sometimes thought of as being old-hat. It is easy to identify with the lead character as so many 30-somethings are written off as being safe and married, this acknowledges how at that age you you still have ambitions and aspirations which are not too different to when you were a teenager. The flashbacks via adolescent letters to the older self and the mix of real and made up celebrities works well and I can definitely see this as a TV mini series or a movie. That is, if the producers would dare make a film which ultimately shows their own industry for what is really is. Well worth the read, it is a long time since I have been so absorbed in a book (that is, apart from "The Best a Man can Get") !!
Buy this Book!!!!! I dare you to be disappointed!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very, very funny 29 Nov 2002
By Tora F
I don't think I have ever laughed out loud as much reading a book as I did reading this. I love the premise of the book about rediscovering the expectations you had of life before reality set in. To find in your thirties that your actual life doesn't come up to scratch with the one you imagined as a teenager and decide to make do something about it makes for great reading (because it is not something you would do, or even want to do. I know I don't want to marry Michael Jackson any more)
I must admit that towards the end the main character did start to get on my nerves but I think that was the point, the pursuit of fame is annoying. The suspense leading up to his big performance was tense and the outcome was quite a surprise! This a refreshingly funny book whith lots really funny moments and characters. I recommend it to anyone who would like to find out what would happen with their lives if the teenager within took over.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing at first but got better
Not as good as some of his other books. Initially I was very disappointed but I stuck with the book as I have enjoyed his others so much. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Julie
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and insightful
Really enjoyed the read and possibly deserves 5 stars. The characters were well developed and even betty the dog had a voice and purpose.wry observations and lots of humour. Great.
Published 1 month ago by B. J. Raby
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought it would be
Its OK, having a job finishing it. It is made up a little stories about famous golfers who found his methods to work well, It didn't do much for me I have to say, but then its not... Read more
Published 13 months ago by G. J. Wedge
4.0 out of 5 stars a laugh out loud funny read
another classic from john o'farrell. love this authors books (if not his politics!). if you fancy an easy to read comedy then this is for you. You wont be disappointed.
Published 21 months ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars laugh out loud funny
This is one of my favourite comedy books ever. I am surprised more people don't rave about it or know about it. Read more
Published 21 months ago by geralddelapascua
5.0 out of 5 stars A good funny read and so true about celebrities
I enjoyed this novel more than The Best a Man Can Get, though that was readable too. I think because of the examination of fame and celebrity, which is so ripe for satire and... Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2011 by EddieMan
2.0 out of 5 stars O'Farrell would make a better stand-up than he does a novelist
I've decided to get rid of this book, which I read about a year after its 2002 publication after I was given it as a present. Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2009 by Greshon
2.0 out of 5 stars Continuity
My first ever review, never been tempted to write one before.
I found 'Utterly impartial history of Britain' brilliant, and that tempted me to buy more by O'Farrell. Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2008 by Frugal Dougal
3.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book by John O'Farrell
I really enjoyed this book by John O'Farrell. It told the story of Jimmy Conway who always dreamed of being famous but the real truth was that he hadn't done any stand up comedy... Read more
Published on 12 July 2008 by Andy Capp
4.0 out of 5 stars The value of surface over content...
At times hilarious, this book is about the superficiality of fame and how 'celebs' club together to maintain their 'celebrity' even when they have no idea who anyone is. Read more
Published on 26 July 2007 by Brian Levine
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