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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2008
If you have read Doonan's 'Wacky Chicks' you'll be familiar with Narg, his lobotomised grandmother. In 'Beautiful People', Narg is back and in full effect rampaging through the pages and what a joy she is to behold!

In 'beautiful People', Doonan describes his early years in Reading, his move to London and eventually America. The joy of the book is that it is so camp and over the top that you can't help but smile. Early on, Doonan describes writing this autobiography as like having a 'psychological enema' and he lays even the most embarrassing details open for our enjoyment.

Delights include; Narg (of course); his mother's quest to get bigger and higher hair; the wine making attempts of his father (parsnip wine?? I don't think so); a joyous holiday at 1950's Butlins and Blind Aunt Phyllis's guide dog, Lassie, who guides Phyllis into an open grave.

A pure joy! Camp, delicious and just what the doctor ordered!
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on 19 May 2008
This was my holiday read and I recommend it. This book, drink, sun-lounger, pool... perfect! It's very funny. Simon Doonan has a wicked way with words. I especially enjoyed his zany (?) but true-to-life view of things. I grew up in a different town and moved to London a bit later but the stories still reminded me of lots of things. I feel like I've met some of these people... or people like them over the years. Can't wait to see the TV series.

Charles Jamieson
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2008
If you have read Doonan's 'Wacky Chicks' you'll be familiar with Narg, his lobotomised grandmother. In 'Beautiful People', Narg is back and in full effect rampaging through the pages and what a joy she is to behold!

In 'beautiful People', Doonan describes his early years in Reading, his move to London and eventually America. The joy of the book is that it is so camp and over the top that you can't help but smile. Early on, Doonan describes writing this autobiography as like having a 'psychological enema' and he lays even the most embarrassing details open for our enjoyment.

Delights include; Narg (of course); his mother's quest to get bigger and higher hair; the wine making attempts of his father (parsnip wine?? I don't think so); a joyous holiday at 1950's Butlins and Blind Aunt Phyllis's guide dog, Lassie, who guides Phyllis into an open grave.

A pure joy! Camp, delicious and just what the doctor ordered!
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on 4 February 2009
Simon's account of his life is a very interesting and humourous story.His childhood with the crazy Doonan clan. His yearning to escape from small town boredom and seek out the "Beautiful People"is full of things you may recall.This book inspired the BBC2 programme of the same name which borrowed much of Simon's syle of writing.
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on 11 February 2009
This book is a great read, entertaining and funny. It is the original story (the original title is Nasty) the tv series Beautiful People (hilarious!) was based on. Simon Doonan's descriptions of his family, friends and their adventures and misadventures is great fun but never cruel, he writes with great warmth and affection.
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on 12 June 2013
Rich, warm and entertaining, this book is a good read but very different from the TV series of the same name. The overall sense of place and adolescent confusion are the same but the TV series is a much tighter set of stories and the characters and setting updated considerably. Both are worth reading/watching!
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on 14 June 2012
Simon and I were both born in 1952, but how different our lives. I enjoyed his, through this book, more than I did mine. This was an absolutely joyous book that I didn't want to end. He has a great gift for writing life - kind, generous and so very funny. Each to his own of course, but I have never deeply enjoyed a book as much as Beautiful People. Thanks Simon.
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on 22 June 2009
This is a wonderful read for those who were 'there' in the decades mentioned in the book and for those like me who were not! I thoroughly enjoyed the BBC series that the book was based on but of course they have only a passing similarity with each other as the BBC decided to bring the time period right forward - probably due to the budget constraints of filming a period drama.

The book sets out a rather heart-warming tale of one mans desire to be with the 'Beautiful People' only to realise that the truely Beautiful People were those he left behind.

I enjoyed the references to places I went to in later years and I defy anyone not to see something in themselves in many of the characters.

This would be a great read for almost everyone - I bought a second copy for my mom!
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on 21 January 2010
If you expect this book to be a mirror image of the TV programmes you would be wrong but not, I think, disappointed. The TV series is very loosely based upon the book so you will find a very different set of colourful characters. The TV series is also set twenty years later than real life and a lot has changed in that time!

The real Simon Doonan's story is rather different.It certainly has its hilarious moments - like the time the mare he was riding gained the amorous attentions of a randy stallion! It also has its poignant episodes - like the death of a former lover from AIDS. "Mundo's diagnosis was my diagnosis", he says.

Enjoy this book. There are no 'girlfriends' but there are 'daughters'.
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on 6 October 2009
A very lighthearted (and perhaps sometimes flippant) account of life lived through the 'glory' years. It brought back happy memories of my own mispent youth and formative years in the sixties and early seventies. How wonderful it all was, no health and safety, no political correctness, no worries about the future, ample personal freedom and no big brother government watching our every move. Depressing to think it's now all gone down the pan ! It was a very easy read (cover to cover during one lazy Sunday) and I recommend this book for what it is, an easy going and fun account of an early life lived to the full when pressures were not so great.
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