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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an autobiography that does dish the dirt in a charming way
One of teh things I hate most about celebrity biographies is that they rarely deliver what they promise, no dishing teh dirt on celebrities. What makes this different is as it is written in diary form you get what the author really thinks about people and the situations he finds himself in. It is by no means a celebrity kiss and tell book, but the authors diaries from...
Published on 27 Aug 2010 by Michelle

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Bought for my husband but not as funny as he was expecting but will try another of his books at some point.
Published 5 months ago by N HUTT


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an autobiography that does dish the dirt in a charming way, 27 Aug 2010
By 
Michelle (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
One of teh things I hate most about celebrity biographies is that they rarely deliver what they promise, no dishing teh dirt on celebrities. What makes this different is as it is written in diary form you get what the author really thinks about people and the situations he finds himself in. It is by no means a celebrity kiss and tell book, but the authors diaries from young boy to the year 2000, and as it was written as it happened it's detailed, witty and entertaining. The author is just as deprecating about himself - when others criticise him or things go round he records it faithfully.

I discovered loads about GB that I didn't know, the people he knew and were friends with range from Michael Redgrave, via John Gieguld to Barbara Windsor and his depiction of their friendship and his work and life is just touching, hilarious and a complete page turner.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to meet the real Gyles Brandreth...., 2 Sep 2010
This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
As Gyles Brandreth reminds us towards the end of the book in a touching letter to his now departed but closest friend Simon Cadell, the likelihood is that he (Gyles) will mainly be remembered for wearing silly jumpers on breakfast TV. Indeed that is the perception which I have labored under for many years and thought there was not much more to him than a smug grin and the ability to find his way on to trashy day time television programmes.

How wrong I have been. In these diaries (covering the period 1959 to 2000) we meet Gyles the boy and the man. There are many things which make this an absorbing read.The first is the quality of the writing. Even the diaries he wrote as a teenager convey a huge intellect and his comments on some of the great plays and performers he saw at that age show huge shrewdness and perspicacity of judgement.

We also get to know a man of enormous intellectual curiosity whose life seems to have taken him down many paths from a young age: prison reform, Lord Longford's pornography committee, broadcasting, columnist, fund raiser, entrepreneur, politician etc.

There is no doubt that what makes this book so readable is the fact that he met and carefully recorded the anecdotes of so many of the great (and not so great) and good of the not only the show business and theatre world but also politicians, royalty and the business world. Many of these are laugh out loud funny. For those he liked, he avoids sycophancy. There were also those he disliked but generally he refrains from being judgmental about people. As another reviewer has commented, he does dish the dirt although I imagine there was plenty more stories where discretion may have been chosen!

He is also an excellent story teller himself so his accounts of the events of his own personal life also have their measure of interest.

In the end he knows his place in the world and much of the warmth of the book comes from the way he can retreat to family life and the enjoyment of occasions with close friends. There is also honesty, truth and self deprecation which allow us to warm to him as an individual as well.

If the book drags at all, it is the years when he is an MP. I suspect this was because his work prevented him from having the time to get out and enjoy himself as much as he would have liked. Even then, his account of the disintegration of the Major government is fascinating as are some of his comments on the British parliamentary process.

His diaries also record the major historic incidents of the years covered which act as a point of reference to those of us who can remember these times.

A wonderful piece of writing - I have found it hard to put the book down. I will be recommending to all my friends! I hope he gets round to providing us with his diairies of the noughties soon!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 21 Dec 2011
This was a really good read; touching, endearing and highly entertaining throughout. My only real gripe is to do with the formatting on the Kindle which meant that the huge numbers of footnotes weren't terribly accessible but this didn't really detract from the overall experience. Mr Brandreth is an outrageous name-dropper but that's a big part of the appeal of the book; it's an insight into his life and how it touches on the lives of the (generally theatrical) famous. What astonished me was how anyone could build a career on being an after-dinner speaker and knowing a little bit about virtually everything and perhaps that's why I loved the book so much - it seems like an insight into a bygone era.

This is warm and witty and I thoroughly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting, 5 Oct 2010
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
I can't help thinking there has been a bit of judicious back filling with some of these entries (Edwina Currie given her married name 4 years before she actually got married for example) but Brandreth comes across as a likeable if somewhat self-obsessed man and boy (why else would one keep a diary I suppose) who manages to name drop his way through life. I LIKE memoires such as this and this indeed will keep you amused on any train journey.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, 5 Oct 2010
This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
I wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a Gyles Brandreth fan. But after reading an excerpt from this book I was intrigued, bought a copy, started reading it and couldn't stop. It's really a very good read - charming, cheeky, silly, sharp and surprisingly perceptive and wise at certain points. Some published diaries are very hit and miss affairs, with long periods of dull detail, but this one skips along at a lively pace and always works hard to keep you interested and entertained.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very fascinating, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
A strange mildly eccentric character who isn't a politician in his blood and craves a certain amount of celebrity, honest and outspoken yet amusingly sycophantic. Didn't want it to end then immediately lent it to my sister. A very entertaining diary to dib in out of.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK, 29 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (Paperback)
Bought for my husband but not as funny as he was expecting but will try another of his books at some point.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Recommended read, 3 Oct 2013
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A jolly and engaging read. My appreciation of GB has certainly improved. Don't let the silly jumpers be your resounding impression, Brandreth is immensely intelligent, funny, self aware and politically astute. The open letter to Simon Cadell is also very moving. A good buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well done,Giles!, 12 July 2013
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I should say that I have not read the whole book at this stage, but what I have read is brilliant. Mr B has kept several diaries from a very early age and has kept a record of events from starting school, all the plays, films and concerts he has attended. He can drop names at the tip of the hat, but it never feels that he is boasting the fact - well, perhaps a little! I want to shake his hand to that I can say I've shaken the hand of a man who has shaken hands with a man who shook the hand of Oscar Wilde! That'll make more sense when you read the book.

If you like a good autobiography, then look no more. This is one of the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read, 15 April 2013
By 
L. Haynes - See all my reviews
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Gyles has done it again. This book is funny, poignant and informative. The second part about parliament was an eye opener. he writes so well you don't want the book to end. Easy for the train as you can pick up the story at any time and don't need to spend time flicking back pages to remind you of the plot. Recommended
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