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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Pieces Than Bits
William Leith is a journalist and the author of the bestselling book on over-consumption called, The hungry Years, in which his addictions to food, alcohol and everything else were torn apart in minute detail to great acclaim.

I will confess that I had never heard of William Leith nor his previous book until I read several other reviews of his new book, Bits Of...
Published on 23 Aug 2008 by Hector G.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...and bits of William Leith are, in fact, just dandy.
William Leith manages rather a winning line in breezy, breathless, rush-of-blood-to-the-head prose, here. It's a good job, though, because without it there'd be little to paper over the cracks in this bizarre hybrid of apocalyptic polemic, GCSE history text book, true romance and misery memoir.

Ultimately, however, one salient set of facts shines through the...
Published 19 months ago by Lutz Svensson


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Pieces Than Bits, 23 Aug 2008
William Leith is a journalist and the author of the bestselling book on over-consumption called, The hungry Years, in which his addictions to food, alcohol and everything else were torn apart in minute detail to great acclaim.

I will confess that I had never heard of William Leith nor his previous book until I read several other reviews of his new book, Bits Of Me Are Falling Apart. Immediately I was fasinated to read this book. Firstly, I'm about Leith's age and it sounded as though we shared some common ground in the fact we both feel at that time in life when you are more old than young and things are never going to get better. And secondly, the author of the book I had just bought lived just down the road from me via a couple of villages, so we were off to a good start.

This book could have been written for the fortysomething bloke who may feel washed up and in despair as to what to do next before time runs out. But it is a book for anyone who enjoys reading what a skilled writer can do when they wish to weave their web in a casual and direct way. Of course, Leith has had years of perfecting his art, and his style has been honed to taking the trival and everyday and turning it into wriiten gold.

Leith begins by waking up on a mattress in his office and from then on we are treated to just over two hundred pages of a day in the life of William Leith and his thoughts on just about everything for the banking system to the state of his left shoulder. This is done in an almost rambling, stream of conciousness style. His body is falling apart, cells are conflicting with each other causing everything to go wrong, and this in turn is Leith's metaphor for what is happening in society: everything is falling apart.

From the start Leith tells us all about his particular falling apart and I found he sounded more like a sixty-seven year old suffering from hypochondria rather than a forty-seven year old with the same complaint. Leith must have played hard to end up in this condition and he seems preoccupied with all types of illnesses which he may or may not get.

This of course all adds to the writer's arsenal of material which fellow journalist, the late Jeffrey Bernard used so successfully in his Low Life columns in the Spectator magazine. Rather than Bernard, I immediately thought of Simon Gray's diaries when reading Leith's thoughts on the human condition and the way he so brilliantly slides off his subject and on to another and another. If Leith is very, very clever at this then Simon Gray was the ultimate master of it, chewing and mulling over words, paragraphs and then almost throwing them away and then catching them again.

Leith can't quite take away Simon Gray's crown with this book nor has he intended to; he is far too good a writer for that. There is a certain take on a subject that may leave some readers feeling cold and there is a lot of bleakness here as well. Leith's day has the feeling of just coming out of rehab and having to face the outside world again without the booze and drugs in a nervous fractured way.

But if like me you want someone to sum what semi-middle age is all about then they will do no worst than to investigate Leith's thoughts on the subject. I'm glad to have found William Leith but I'm not sure if I like his world. This book is at times too near the truth, and that is why it deserves to be a best-seller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...and bits of William Leith are, in fact, just dandy., 24 May 2013
By 
Lutz Svensson (Deptford, London, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bits of Me are Falling Apart: Dark Thoughts from the Middle Years (Paperback)
William Leith manages rather a winning line in breezy, breathless, rush-of-blood-to-the-head prose, here. It's a good job, though, because without it there'd be little to paper over the cracks in this bizarre hybrid of apocalyptic polemic, GCSE history text book, true romance and misery memoir.

Ultimately, however, one salient set of facts shines through the murk: that Leith, for all his "I'm in my forties and feel like c***" whingeing, is not actually ill... has been blessed with a more-than-average-y affluent upbringing... is the author of pretty much all his misfortunues... doesn't have to get up every day in order to do a day job he despises... hasn't suffered any close bereavements... and has really, REALLY indulged himself getting to the place he currently (or at least, at the time of writing...) is.

Hard to sympathise with the lad, then. Harder still to empathise.

Entirely incidentally, I've a close relative who's in the final stages of MS; less than a year to go before at least one of his major organs packs up, and still younger than thirty. I'd have to say that his observations on human decay and mortality (unpublished, naturally) are a dozen times more profound than Leith's. Think on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, mad and so utterly true to life., 14 Jun 2009
By 
Bobby Smith (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
If, like me, you look around at the world, shake your head and say: "I can't relate to what is around me any more," then this is the book for you. Mr Leith seems to share the same feeling - and his memoir is a classic mid-life crisis account of a middle-aged man. For sure, it could have been edited a bit better, but I guess that is part of the attraction of the book; the way it goes off on tangents attacking all sorts of targets - the economy, Sept 11th, etc. So many books are predictable and meander on in a way that is expected. This book dares to be different and so deserves to be a success. If you like this I also recommend: One Love Two Colours: The Unlikely Marriage of a Punk Rocker and His African Queen by Margaret Oshindele - another book that looks at life in a varied and wonderful way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, 3 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Bits of Me are Falling Apart: Dark Thoughts from the Middle Years (Paperback)
I just reread this 3 years after reading it the first time, and now at the same age as Leith was then. While I enjoyed it the first time, I absolutely loved it this time. It's frequently hilarious and genuinely interesting on topics as diverse as James Dean's last thoughts or how Samoans found Easter Island, or how Nelson climbed up a ship with only one arm, to the banking crisis, to house prices, to the aging process and the basic stuff about how and why we are here... There are more quotable lines that any book I've read recently (my girlfriend is sick of me quoting them) and it has the best lack-of-money anecdotes I've ever read. It also covers the feelings of being a middle-aged father to an only child beautifully and movingly. I love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More genius from William Leith, 21 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Bits of Me are Falling Apart: Dark Thoughts from the Middle Years (Paperback)
Reading Mr. Leith's previous book 'The Hungry Years' prompted me to read this one, and it has proved equally insightful and a real page-turner. What William Leith does best is to document his thoughts and feelings with tremendous clarity and honesty, showing a rare ability to analyse them at the same time. His wry humour garnishes some seriously painful recollections, such as the repeated callousness of his family's refusal to consider his emotional welfare during their frequent relocations and the resultant destabilisation of his schooling; and the piercing anguish with which he recalls past holidays with his beloved son and 'the mother of my little boy', knowing that this time mother and son will be going alone, Dad not having been invited.

Sometimes Mr. Leith comes out with an expression which makes me laugh out loud. One, from 'The Hungry Years', was that cheese is 'the corpse of milk' (I'd never looked at it like that!) In 'Bits of Me' when he has no money for a train ticket to visit his girlfriend and is reduced to bursting at full tilt through the ticket barrier to board the train, he prevaricates in order to seem like an 'above-board burster' (even typing that has reduced me to helpless mirth.)

William Leith accurately describes his dalliances with OCD, which I can relate to, and as I have had a lifelong obsession with teeth, I am plucking up courage to read a previous book of his: 'British Teeth'. Watch this space.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money, 26 Aug 2009
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Once upon a time a middle-aged, middle-class man had a mid-life crisis. The end.
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