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on 28 December 2011
Overall a pretty entertaining read, Work! Consume! Die, has three recurring sections:

firstly there are surreal short stories apparently based on the author's life. These are very inventive, satirical, and dark. They generally paint a portrait of the writer as a drug-addled, envious, celebrity-hating sociopath. I'd like to see Frankie Boyle write more short stories based on these samples.

Then there are sections where the Boyle gives seemingly straightforward criticisms of aspects of society, and how people kid themselves.. I find these sections extremely refreshing, both in their honesty, and in their harsh indictment of the consumer based culture we have. Boyle has the gift of being funny even whilst he is preaching from the pulpit. These were my favourite parts of the book, but also, sadly, the shortest.

The majority of the book, and the one that I expect will play to Boyle's largest fanbase, are the long sections of risque jokes about celebrities and politics and so on. Pretty much typical stand up routine stuff, about how fat James Corden is, or how Jordan has fake breasts, just a bit riskier jokes. I understand that parts of W!C!D! are culled from the author's Sun columns. I haven't read these columns, but I am guessing that these are those parts. The gags are pretty funny, and even if you don't like a few, they come so thick and fast, that there's bound to be a funnier one coming up in a few sentences time.

The uneasy feeling that I got from all this was the contradiction between the parts of the book. Frankie Boyle obviously sees himself as the heir to Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce: a comedian who tells it like it is about our sick, celebrity obsessed culture. The problem is that Frankie Boyle comes across as more celebrity-obsessed than anyone, since all his jokes are about D-list celebrities. It could be an ironic stance, but I suspect it is more about paying the bills. I understand his justification for doing Sun columns is that he is sugaring the pill so he can spread his message to a wider audience. Based on what's on offer here, it's all sugar, and no pill. Interestingly, at this point in his career, Frankie Boyle is stuck on the fence between taking cash from the Sun for saying daringly rude things about celebrities we love to hate, and making interesting and truly subversive comments about our culture. He could go either way. I, for one, hope that he forsakes some of the fast money and drops the celebrity bashing in favour of his more interesting stuff. After all, in twenty years time, nobody is going to know who James Corden or Katie Price are, but people will still listen to Bill Hicks recordings.
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on 20 December 2012
When I first picked up this book in the shop, I could not tell by the back cover or the sleeve what it really was about, I soon discovered it is because there is no coherent structure to the whole book. It's a mixture of acerbic jokes, surreal journeys into a celebrity fantasy, and intellectual rants. I liked all three but would say only the first category is the only one he really pulls off with aplomb. To be fair, the other two are not developed fully enough to be properly judged and seemed more like starters to fuller ideas on the subjects.

Frankie writes well and has the ability to cover hilariously vast areas of low culture. I would not recommend reading it in one sitting as you soon develop 'joke fatigue', which does the quality of jokes a disservice. I found particularly funny and interesting the chapters on sport and technology, they are near the end of the book and there is some gold in there which is worth finishing the book for alone.

I read somewhere he is concentrating on his writing now he has retired from stand-up. In some ways this is disappointing as the best stuff here is the pithy allusion or metaphor. Ironically, it is our low-brow quick-fix culture which he so brilliantly punctures which is also the form of culture which has allowed him to become such a huge success and what he seems best at engaging with.
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on 19 December 2011
If you think the world around you is absurd and just plain wrong, then this nihilistic-existentialist book provides a welcome catharsis to your hellish existence.

Conversely, if you read and enjoy the Daily Mail and write letters to Ofcom, which complain about the profane vernacular of BBC panel shows, then reading this book will make your head explode, whilst simultaneously smashing you through the space-time continuum.

Not every joke lands, but most of them do.

Frankie is one of the funniest comedians in the UK, which is probably why he's not allowed on television any more.
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on 24 September 2013
Like everyone else who bought this book, I am a big fan of Frankie Boyle. However, the book was disappointing.

It is made up of two components. The first is topical one-liners which are no longer topical and, without Frankie's delivery, just come across as flat insults. The other component is a twisted story that seems to try to copy Irvine Welsh badly.

If people want to read something dark, real, disgusting, Scottish and funny they should just read an Irvine Welsh book instead.

I really wanted to finish it as I am a fan but the book just didn't seem to have a point to it.
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on 13 November 2011
A fair account of a man contemplating suicide in an absurd world, but being too sociopathic to get the job done. A great antidote to reality and welcome return from one of the most important comics of his generation!

Frankie lays waste, in typical Frankie Boyle fashion, to the banality of existence through a series of hilarious vignettes on popular culture, politics and world affairs. One gets the sense of Boyle as a latter day Oscar Wilde; had Wilde been straight, foul mouthed, Scottish and a world weary harbinger of a doomed future.

In a culture so marred with demogogues trying to manipulate our worldview, in the most superficial and mundane way possible, Frankie emerges as somewhat of a comic 'Christ' figure or 'Neo'; showing us how far the rabbit hole really goes.
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on 1 November 2015
I didn't like the fantasy story that much and didn't really see the point of it. The rest of it is quite tiring to read, as it reads like separate lines (I imagined each being delivered by Frankie live) - hilarious as he always is! - clumped together into paragraphs, without any real kind of narrative flow.

The quotes were really interesting and have inspired me to future reading. Frankie's clearly a very clever man, and I agree with his assertion that nothing should be off limits in comedy. If you don't like it - switch off the telly or put down the book.

To sum up - I liked much of what's in this book, but I found it an exhausting read.
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on 22 February 2012
If you've seen Frankie Boyle in action you know the kind of thing, a razor wit with nothing off limits. He certainly puts it out there in the intro, almost like he's drawing a line in the sand, "I refuse to play safe and be commercial".
I often find those bits too much, and feel that he sometimes uses the 'I can't believe he wrote that' reaction as an easy laugh. Though he does say he believes that laughing about things takes the sting out of them, cuts them down to size. And then, later, much to his credit, wonders whether laughing about something is a cowardly way to avoid doing something about it, so that we should only joke about things we can't change. Like... disabilities. That's our Frankie.
And when he's being genuine like that you gotta love him. He often seems to end chapters on a passionate note. Not as downbeat as the title might suggest, nor as flippant.
A lot of the names he mentions in his rants on popular culture are unfamiliar to me. I guess he doesn't have much of a following outside the UK, so he didn't have Australia (for instance) much in mind. I found it pretty funny even without knowing the people, though I did eventually skim just a little bit. I may have given it more than four stars if I were British.
There's also an interesting idea (i.e. I don't think I got it) for a TV show woven into the start of some of the chapters, a surreal kind of parable and some day-to-day Frankie snippets. All very readable.
Frankie, why do you hide behind the yucky stuff? Let us love you!
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on 4 November 2011
This is Boyle's best work in some time. Its been a thoroughly entertaining read so far. His 'everything is fair game' approach Isn't for everyone and he's come in for some stick over the years of course. Its interesting that he does touch on this in the book, many wouldn't have.

As ever he pushes boundaries, this isn't what I'd call a 'family' book, but perhaps it should be as an antidote to the insular, nanny state where caution and risk adversity reign supreme.
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on 20 October 2013
There are some good laughs to be had here if you are a fan of his work, does not work quite as well as his stand-up shows however. Not something I could read for a long time either, kept coming back to it. The novel sections were interesting a provided me with the most laughs, it was a shame the whole book was not like that. The main part of it feels like a lot of jokes strung together one after another with nothing in between, which is fine but can get tiring after a while. This works fine live or on tv but less so in a book.
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on 13 December 2011
I Rate Frankie- in the days when everyone harks back to Billy Connoly, just look on youtube at Billy and then catch Frankie in free flow- they are utterly incomparable. He makes Jack Dees Surly utterances look like those of Lulu.

The problem with the new book is that it alternates chapters fiction with non fiction. This is not good if you suffer from Aspergers as its unliekly you can manage the non-fiction bits. This makes the book 50% less value.

It still stacks up as a 5 but I felt a bit cheated!
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