Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for the general reader and the expert alike.
First of all I need to admit that I am a fan of Jeremy Hardy, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will be funny in print. Many comedians don't have the ability to extend a funny turn on the radio into a substantial book. Secondly I have dabbled in family history, so I started the book with an interest in the subject. The book is essentially a very funny memoir combined...
Published on 29 April 2010 by Kindle Customer

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A real let-down from a great comedian
Jeremy Hardy is, by his own admission, not famous enough to be asked onto the BBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" where a team of researchers unearth the drama in your family history- so he decides to set about the task himself.

Hardy can be incredibly funny, and the opening chapter of this book is utterly hilarious- it's like a finely honed stand-up routine...
Published on 19 Feb 2011 by Mr. Stuart Bruce


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lightly entertaining read, but disappointing overall, 24 Jan 2012
By 
G. C. Ewing "Garen" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
Like many other reviewers here I'm a big Jeremy Hardy fan, he can really make me laugh and I generally like and agree with his point of view on things. I also enjoy family history, so jumped at the chance to buy this unlikely combination of the two. On the plus side it's mostly funny, though not laugh-out-loud (well, maybe in a couple of places). It's also an easy read - I was ill for a long weekend and this book kept me company in a not-too-taxing manner.

But overall I was disappointed. Jeremy doesn't seem to have a lot of interest in doing his family history, and the more I read the more I thought this felt like a commission from a publisher who wanted to cash in on 'Who Do You Think You Are' with a slightly alternative 'celebrity', and not something that came from the author's desire to write a book on the subject. It shows, and the lack of desire is the big problem. Another reviewer pointed out the line at the end of the book - "without the fact of having a book to write, I doubt I would have done a fraction of this researching and exploring" and I think this ambivalence permeates the book.

The majority of the book sees Jeremy visiting the addresses of his ancestors, which isn't very exciting, even more so when the ancestors themselves aren't that interesting. The first chapter, discussing family rumours and stories, is very good and the book picks up again at the end where a real story about one of them starts to emerge, and he explores the life and times that would have surrounded the few documented clues. The other times the book comes to life is when he's not talking about family history, but about old friends in show business, or Irish politics - things he actually is passionate about.

If people write books for money, not out of genuine interest, it comes across. Jeremy (if you, like most authors, read your Amazon reviews) - I'm sorry, you're still marvellous, but next time write a book about something your really love - it'll be brilliant.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A real let-down from a great comedian, 19 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
Jeremy Hardy is, by his own admission, not famous enough to be asked onto the BBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" where a team of researchers unearth the drama in your family history- so he decides to set about the task himself.

Hardy can be incredibly funny, and the opening chapter of this book is utterly hilarious- it's like a finely honed stand-up routine where there's a laugh in almost every sentence.

Sadly, this sharpness doesn't continue through the book. He finds himself dragged down into the rather uninspiring world of church records and online census searches, and doesn't dig up any material that he can really make the most of. It turns out (with one exception that I won't spoil for you) that most of his family is rather unremarkable, and comes from a very limited geographical spread around Southern England. Hardy is clearly struggling to find something worth writing about and as he starts criticising town one-way systems, missing a train, or reminiscing about his own school days, you get the feeling that he's signed a contract committing him to write this book and he's just got to see it through to the end.

He also manages to cheat his way through the family history element, which will disappoint people who are reading from that point of view. Other members of his family have already done the majority of the research for him and he only manages to join together a handful of dots.

It's readable and it has a few very nice moments but it ends up feeling like a by-product of a minor mid-life crisis in which Hardy wonders how his family tree will look after he's gone, how he will be remembered, and so on. My Dad went through the same thing years ago, and we have the family tree to prove it. And to be honest my family tree turns out to be more interesting than Jeremy Hardy's. Who knew?!

Though Jeremy Hardy can be a brilliant comic and writer, this book is a disappointment. I'm giving it three stars rather than two purely for the opening chapter, which could have been the opening chapter of a really amazing book, but isn't.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 21 Mar 2011
By 
J. Morrison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Jeremy Hardy. I've seen him live, heard him on radio and bought his book 'JH Speaks to the Nation', so I bought this book and prepared for some insightful humour. But it's an awful, dreary, pointless book, and JH runs out of steam long before the end. Laughs are few, insights absent. He seems to be thinking about his own mortality, but that could have been addressed in a short, pithy essay. I kept going right to the end, unable to believe that JH would bother to write something so unentertaining... but now it's in a pile to go to the charity shop. I'm still a fan, but this book's target audience is the immediate Hardy family (and even they might find this a dull read)...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jeremy Hardy gets back to his roots, 21 May 2010
By 
Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
As I enjoy Jeremy Hardy's humour during his frequent radio & TV appearances I was expecting great things from this book about his efforts to discover more about his family history but for me it just doesn't work.

I think that there are a number of reasons for this. One major problem is that researching a family tree may be fascinating for the researcher but unless some juicy piece of scandal is discovered it doesn't hold much interest for the onlooker. Jeremy Hardy's family turn out to be disappointingly unremarkable.

Another problem is that much of the work that Jeremy Hardy had to do to discover his roots involved being either being sat in front of a computer screen, searching through dusty ledgers in equally dusty libraries or trailing around graveyards on the off chance of finding the last resting place of one of his relatives, activities that do not offer much chance for Hardy to make use of his sharp wit.

Instead of enjoying this book as I had anticipated I found it heavy going - I had to keep referring to a chart illustrating the authors family tree to remind me exactly who each person was - and found very little in it of interest to me.

A big disappointment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for the general reader and the expert alike., 29 April 2010
By 
Kindle Customer (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
First of all I need to admit that I am a fan of Jeremy Hardy, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will be funny in print. Many comedians don't have the ability to extend a funny turn on the radio into a substantial book. Secondly I have dabbled in family history, so I started the book with an interest in the subject. The book is essentially a very funny memoir combined with an honest diary detailing Jeremy's family history search. Anyone who has ever logged onto a family history site, or idly typed their surname into a search engine will enjoy reading this. But you don't need to be a family researcher to enjoy this book as at its heart is an autobiography full of Jeremy Hardy's dry wit. Enough funny one-liners to keep the general reader laughing out loud, and enough information to start a beginner off on their own history. A hugely enjoyable book detailing of the highs, the lows and the flights of fancy we all succumb to when looking back at our family.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unadventurous Me, 12 July 2010
By 
MHJ Finch "Henry Finch" (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
A great disappointment. Hardy wrote a piece in the Guardian about family history which I thought was a light discussion based on a serious book. Unfortunately for me it proved to be a serious introduction to a lightweight book. His attempts to trace his family are repeatedly foiled, he admits, by failing to do his homework first, or leaving something important at home, or looking at something else thus leaving not enough time. Fortunately for him other members of his family had already done the groundwork for him. The giveaway comes on p.300: "Without the fact of having a book to write, I doubt I would have done a fraction of this researching and exploring". Having a book to write? Surely an author entering a field new to him does the `researching and exploring' first, and then sees whether he has enough material for a book worth writing? Hardy is funny on radio, and no doubt in person, but on this evidence he is neither funny nor informative in print.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring & disappointing, 2 July 2010
By 
Petra Bryce "bookworm" (Malvern, Worcs) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
As a keen family historian myself, I'm still puzzled as to why Jeremy Hardy wrote this book as throughout it he displays virtually no passion for it and bemoans the fact that he has to deal with the past and dead people. Only at the very end of the book does it come across that he enjoyed part of the journey and that he may continue doing some research into his family history now that the book is finished. For a large part of the book one gets the impression that he mostly relies on other family members' research, goes to places completely unprepared, and quickly gets bored with what he finds or doesn't find as is more often the case. When he finally gets round to doing some searching for records at The National Archives in Kew, he hates the whole experience, finding it "oppressive". Maybe it is true that reading someone else's account of their family tree does not make for a particularly riveting read because it simply isn't one's own family and one therefore doesn't become emotionally involved. To me the whole book felt more like a sort of mildly amusing travel account with family history bits tagged on which would have been a more appropriate but less snappy subtitle than "Adventures in Family History". Not much of his sharp wit in evidence here, instead a few anecdotes about travelling through the Home Counties and Norfolk by train or car using satnav, with an excessive use of expletives. In one chapter he writes that he hopes his former English teacher will enjoy the book and that he'd be gutted if she didn't; well, in my view she'd be pretty disappointed by his unnecessary foul language. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was reading this book during a hospital stay and during the initial convalescence at home, when my brain couldn't cope with anything more demanding, it only would have got two stars. As it is, it was a diverting enough read that passed the time but nothing more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My family and other strangers Jeremy Hardy, 24 Aug 2010
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
I knew Jeremy Hardy when at Farnham College in the earlier years and found his comments rather apt for that chapter.The book was engaging and I could not put it down! I too am searching my family tree and could go along with some of his comments eg about the National Archives.It is better to talk and visit people & places to get a sense of one's history but some people are harder to trace.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Family and Other Strangers, 5 Jun 2010
By 
Mrs. K. Southall (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History (Paperback)
An interesting book. One that you can read from beginning to end very easily, plus you can also dip into it as and when you like.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History
My Family and Other Strangers: Adventures in Family History by Jeremy Hardy (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
9.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews