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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 October 2013
I was quite shocked by the eejits 1 star review.

I heard about this book on Radio 4, the interview was amazing because you have a stereotypical view of the guy. He isn't actually Johnny Vegas, this is a character that he's created, in someways to deal with what he's gone through.

As a Catholic I've read with so much interest, I knew about Upholland, Id heard the rumours, you could hear the pain in Johnny's voice when he was talking about this subject, it really struck my heart.

This IS NOT your typical, generic vacuous celebrity garbage. It's the one celebrity book where you feel that he has really lived, he has had life experiences you couldn't imagine looking at the guy now. We're not talking Katie Price & other Z Listers this really is an interesting read.
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on 8 April 2015
Anyone who follows my reviews will know that I only give 5 stars sparingly, because I think it demeans the currency if every mortal thing gets 5 stars. Having said that, I would willingly give this book 6 stars if that was an option. It is, quite simply, brilliant! Searingly honest, painfully so at times, it is not for the squeamish or easily affronted. This story charts the simple and happy life of Michael Pennington in his childhood through to his time in a seminary, at which point it all rather goes off the rails and the path to Johnny Vegas begins. I suppose the reason that I enjoyed this book so much is that aspects of it strike a faint echo in my own life. Morbid hypochondria in my teenage years - check, need for copious amounts of alcohol to be funny - check, lack of success with the opposite sex due to early bad experiences - check, check and double check! There were times when I found his accounts so painful that I had to walk away from the book for a while. On the other hand, there were many laugh-out-loud moments (and I don't have too many of those these days) - the magazine behind the bath panel being a particular example. Whether you're a fan of Mr. Vegas, or not, I would strongly urge you to read this book. You'll be a better person for it.
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on 26 September 2013
Having known Johnny for nearly 20 years I knew Johnny Vegas was created by Michael Pennington but not how it came about. This autobiography, which at times reads like a novel, shows how and why this symbiotic relationship developed. A wonderful read with many funny and touching times captured in its pages. I would recommend it to anyone particularly those people who don't like Johnny Vegas, this will change your minds.
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on 3 January 2015
If, like me, you thought that Michael Pennington aka Johnny Vegas, was one of those loud, drunken abusive Northerners albeit with an eloquent turn of phrase, then read this book. I was inspired to buy this book after watching a TV programme several years ago where he traipsed across the USA asking various clerics some rather pertinent religious questions whilst learning that JV actually studied for the priesthood! The book covers his early years up his breakthrough at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and, as you will expect, is incredibly funny amongst the more sombre tones of the book. It is very perceptive of human nature in general and, by the end of the book, the reader can almost understand the whys and wherefores relating to the persona of Johnny.
And that's why I've knocked a star off. Michael has "conversations* with Johnny which is very intriguing, but whose idea was the monstrous gothic typeface for the thoughts of the latter? It is difficult to read and spoils what is otherwise a great read. Nevertheless, this autobiography is well worth reading; just goes to show how you can't judge the book by it cover.....
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 September 2015
Michael Pennington has lived an interesting life. If you’ve ever wondered what doing a ceramics degree or training to be a priest is like then wonder no more and buy this book. Michael’s head is a crowded place. The book follows Michael and also follows the embryonic Johnny Vegas into full glory. As well as these two affable chaps up in Michael’s noggin there is also a hypochondriac named Doctor Death. I don’t like him, he’s a buzz kill and he tormented Michael for too long. The three way personality split eventually gets resolved and Johnny triumphs. This was genuinely one of those books that was hard to stop reading. You felt desperate to see Michael get some luck with the ladies and find his way in life. I hope there is a follow up book written by the Johnny Vegas aspect of the personality. This is about the early days of the Vegas career so if you want loads of showbiz anecdotes it might not be for you.
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on 9 February 2014
The story of Michael Pennington's youth is quite interesting - although his fixation with masturbation does get quite tedious. It tells of his emotional journey, and how the ranting self-pitying Johnny Vegas took over and became popular. Repeated descriptions of him getting drunk also start to get boring, but I suppose in order to get to know the 'real' Micheal/Johnny you have to read all that stuff, but I found myself skim reading when he droned on about yet another preparation for a gig, involving getting completely hammered.
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I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I've always enjoyed watching Johnny Vegas on TV but surely an autobiography - a long one at that - would be pushing things? Thankfully it was a hugely enjoyable read.

The book is the story of Michael Pennington, better known as Johnny Vegas, and how he developed from childhood to his first successes on the Edinburgh Fringe. He's often startlingly honest, and there were occasions where I was surprised he'd had the guts to put some of the stories into print. It's also funny, often hilariously so, and by the end I was viewing Johnny / Michael in a different light, the man we see on TV being a character rather than a human being.

Yes it's long, and some may find it boring. Yes, it's very "northern", but he grew up in St Helens so what else could it be? And yes, the interruptions by the hypochondriac Johnny (printed in a strange font in the paperback and hardback, but just rendered in a slightly larger typeface on the Kindle so not as easy to pick out) are a little tiresome at times, but they're few and far between.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the only negative thing I can say about it was that the Kindle formatting wasn't great regarding the "Johnny" interruptions.
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on 14 October 2013
This is an entertaining read - and for someone who grew up at the same time in the same town, more than nostalgic. I could smell home.

But I am not sure its as well put together as it needs to be to pull of what is an ambitious - at times three voice - concept. I would have liked to know more about day to day life in the seminary - just to contextualise the other stuff that happens there. You gain great insight into how MP thinks, but not necessarily why. Similarly around Edinburgh.

Maybe more distance on his new understanding of his experiences would have helped. Its a bit like meeting someone who's just walked out of their therapists office.

But all in all I did enjoy it, just maybe not as much as I might had it been written ten years hence.
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on 1 February 2016
Surprisingly one of the best memoirs I have ever read.

I had wanted to read this for a while after seeing Johnny being interviewed about it when it first came out. It wasn't until last year that I finally got round to reading it with our book club.

Wow. I have never read a book where I got such a rich, psychological insight into a person. Whatever you *think* you know about Johnny Vegas, trust me, drop your assumptions now. From Johnny's childhood to eventual stardom, the book is studded with moments that make you scared, sad and, as you would expect, laugh. It is, like life, a spectrum of emotions.

Our book club came to the same conclusion: it was a pleasant, richly rewarding surprise to read this book. It certainly makes you think about the twists and turns of life.
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on 16 February 2014
Got this to listen too in the car - and because of the excellent reviews. It certainly was not a disappointment and has made me like this complex and intelligent man even more than before. I would recommend this even if you are not a fan of Johnny Vegas as his story is so interesting and honest. Also very well written and shows his intelligence in his well thought out memories and reflections. Hope he writes another one in a few years time. The CD brings it even more to life being narrated by the great man himself.He had me laughing, cringing and crying all in one journey - and at times I did not want the journey to end as I was enjoying listening so much.
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