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It's Okey Doke...
on 23 October 2010
... which is to say I'm very much on the fence about Booky Wook 2. I certainly don't think it punches at the weight that Booky Wook (1) managed. Book 1 was a real treat. Absolutely hilarious, searingly honest, well written and warm. The person you glimpsed behind the words had recovered from a terrible part of their life with kindness and decency intact, and you wanted them to be your friend. Sadly I get none of that with Booky Wook 2- it is very much missing the 'warm.' The first time he harped on about how deserved and inevitable his propulsion to the lofty heights of stardom was, I thought, 'good for you, Russell. No false modesty here. You worked for it- you should be proud.' The second time he devoted a flowery paragraph to the same subject I frowned. The third time I grimaced. The twentieth time I was starting to think I didn't like him after all. Yes, he always said he was egotistical, but what actually came across was a man humbled by life and grateful for acknowledgment. It seems hollywood has eaten that away and convinced him he's the best thing ever. This is just my opinion, of course, by it's a shame, innit?
I'm also not fond of the brown-nosing he lavishly applies too all named celebrities. Name dropping I can live with, but waxing lyrical on how they're all so bloody kind, gentle and wonderful just sticks in my throat. Not cool.
Last of the downers is that I don't think its as well written as book 1, either. The more ambitious sections of Book 1 were always hit and miss anyway, but some parts had a certain grace to them. Similar sections in Booky Wook 2 feel a bit too forced for me, and read like a considered exercise in verbose, creative prose- which he's actually not as good at as he thinks.
It's not all bad news though, because the book's saving grace is that it is absolutely hey-larious. I don't like his 'listen to what my friend said' sections, written in script form (in fact not one of those made me laugh) but when he casually throws a joke at a normal paragraph it hits you cross wind and kills you. In my opinion he's at his best when he not trying to be a writer and is just telling you about his life and jibbing around it. The stuff about Saint Francis marching up to someone and declaring he is "well religious" just ruined me. As did his thoughts of voodoo in prison. If you want to laugh out loud like a donkey and annoy all the people around you, this is the book for you.
So what am I complaining about? Well.. I guess I'm just a bit sad that I didn't emerge from this book feeling as warm and fuzzy about Russell Brand as I did before. I still like him and all, but just not quite so much. Maybe with the next book he'll win me back, not that he needs me. Anyway, if you want me, Russell, I'm ready and willing (wink, wink).