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117
3.7 out of 5 stars
Look Back in Hunger
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142 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2009
I am a big fan of Jo Brand and couldn't wait to read this. Having bought it yesterday I have to say that I wasn't disappointed - it is totally brilliant. I didn't know much about Jo's upbringing and her personal life before I read this, but it's all here and I can't believe what an interesting life she's led. From her teenage rebellion, to her first love who led her astray, to her 10 years as a psychiatric nurse to the abuse she got when she started out as a stand up comic - there is nothing this woman hasn't been through! What I loved in particular is the way that she can talk about all this personal stuff in detail without ever sounding like she's feeling sorry for herself or losing her comic touch - parts of book made me double up with laughter. Anyone who likes Jo Brand should buy this - it's a fantastic insight into a brilliant comic.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Ok folks, this book is good, it's fine, it's an enjoyable read and it made me laugh out loud in places (not that I bought it hoping for or expecting that, but it was a bonus). BUT - it left me feeling as though I'd had the first course of a meal and then been ushered out of the restaurant before I'd even sniffed the entree, never mind looked hopefully towards the dessert trolley. I wanted MORE! I just can't shake the feeling that she didn't really want to write this book, because it is so superficial. I believe she is a private person, and fair enough for that - but as this is an autobiography I had hoped for a deeper insight into the mind of a very talented woman. It seemed to me that all the defenses were still up and there was little really shared. A shame, and ultimately unsatisfying...Jo, you're so much more succulent than this!
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2009
There are so many celebrity autobiographies around these days I was wary of buying one, but I really like Jo Brand so I thought I'd take a punt on this. Well, I bought it yesterday and I've already finished it cos I couldn't put it down. This makes such a refreshing change from a lot of the other celeb books out there. Why? Well, for the first thing she wrote it herself - it wasn't ghost written - and that really comes across. The book is warm, funny, sad, shocking and uplifting - like spending a few hours chatting in the pub with someone who's really interesting and funny. I won't spoil it, but there's a bit where she's playing hide-and-seek with some co-workers that made me laugh so loudly I nearly cried. I am so pleased that Jo Brand has written such a good autobiography. I loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2010
Put up your hands those who did not get drunk and become a bit of a tearaway in your teens. Most of us did - it's what your teens are for. Unfortunately Jo Brand seems to think she is the only person who did this, else why would she have taken up so much of her biography telling us about them. To top that she then does what is becoming a rather annoying trend in celeb biography - she finishes it just before her career takes off (which is the bit most of us want to read about!), leaving us waiting for the second instalment of her memoirs. That's a book I'll not be buying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2010
I requested this for Christmas, I quite like to listen to Jo Brand on TV quiz shows and she can be very funny but I was disappointed with the book. It started off ok but I became bored with it. There were moments in between the boredom that were funny and interesting when she made a comment about how she feels about certain aspects of the NHS or about men or whatever but these are few and far between. Most of the book seems to be about how she got drunk in different places. I read it through to the end hoping it would get better but it didn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jo Brand's a bit of a national institution/treasure these days but I've been a fan of hers since her 'Through the Cakehole' series which dates back to the early 1990s, hence why I thought I'd give her autobiography a whirl. Jo certainly writes well: her prose filters through the page and you can hear her 'voice' whilst reading, however despite this I did find the chapters detailing her childhood rather too long winded and more than a little bit boring. She also chronicles her 'difficult' teenage years which seemed to consist of dressing strangely, getting drunk and doing various 'crazy' things. The chapters which cover her nursing training and career path are infinitely more interesting, as are her sensible and down to earth views about the state of mental health provison in the country.

It seemed rather odd to end this book with her flegeling comedy career hardly getting off the ground! I can understand why celebrities do this but it's a bit annoying all the same. Also, couldn't she have included a little more about her relationship with the late, great Malcolm Hardee whom she bizarrely calls 'Graham'? Juxtaposed with Arthur Smith's excellent memoir this book doesn't really compare, which is a bit of shame really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2010
I bought this book because I like Jo Brand and I was interested in knowing about her life and what makes her tick. The book does detail the highs and lows of her life, the emotional trauma of her younger years and is in many ways quite forthright. And here is the but, I didn't feel the emotion of the events was conveyed to the reader. For this reason the book seemed a bit flat. Later years and events were not detailed and after I had read it obviously I knew more about Jo Brand, but not as much as i expected. I expected her to be gutsy, in your face and a very difficult teenager but I didn't feel the book got me under her skin. I leant nothing which spooked or surprised me and I suppose I felt a bit short changed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2012
I never used to particularly care much for Jo Brand.

Her regular appearances on TV, to the best of my memory on late night Channel 4, left me cold, I remember her black spikey hair, bright red Doc Martins and her all-black baggy clothing; I found her to be very negative about men, and her humour strewn with stereotypical gags. However, I have to admit I will have been in the early part of my teens then and have since come to realise that my age meant that I did not realise how clever a lot of Jo Brand's humour was and also did not appreciate that she was leading the way for many female comics, at a time when the field was very much dominated by men.

Since that time I have grown to love Jo Brand.

I deliberately seek out televison appearances of hers now, enjoying her numerous appearances on the channel 'Dave', and programmes such as 'Have I Got News For You' and 'Book Club'; most importantly though is 'Qi' (my favourite show), she is just about the most regular 'non-regular' on the show, she comes across as highly intelligent and so funny, the shows with her in are always my favourites and for me the respect and fondness that clearly emanates from many of the other panel members, particularly the well respected male comics, shows me how this remarkable lady has made such an impact amongst the comic fratenity.

Anyway, onto the book..............

I was so pleased when I discovered that she had chosen to write her memoirs, and purchased them almost on the day of their release. The book is a page turner, and I devoured it cover to cover in just a few days.

The book covers Jo Brand's life from birth/childhood up to the early days of her comedy career, ending more or less with her first tentative steps into this unforgiving profession.

I enjoyed the desciptions of her childhood, she had a good time and this was refreshing to read (it can be depressing reading autobiographies, when so many of them seem to feature sad/damaging childhoods; I appreciate this happens and is a regrettable part of 'real' life, but like I said its just nice to read of someone you like and respect, and find out they had a happy childhood!).

Jo Brand paints a picture of someone who was strong minded since a young age, and the self deprecating humour that has become a cornerstone of her act was clearly evident throughout her earlier life and beyond.

My favourite part of the book was the time when she joined the medical profession; there are some very funny stories, but mixed in with this are experiences that show what a caring and good person she was/is.

The book is very well written, and I think its clear that she wrote it herself because of the way her real character comes off of the page.

Highly recommended, particulary to those that are fans of Jo Brand, but also to anyone who enjoys a pleasant, relaxing, interesting and funny read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2010
I recognise that any autobiography takes time and effort to write, and Jo Brand is a comedian not an author, so all credit to her for tackling this. But - maybe it would have been better to get someone else to write it for her because this does not make a very good read, I'm afraid. There's often no proper sense of timeline - it seems to jump about a lot and one minute we're in present day and the next minute we're back in the 80s. I never got a sense of atmosphere or felt immersed in her world, which is surely what an autobiography is about. In addition, it ended with such strange abruptness that I honestly thought that the rest of the book must be missing.

Most of the book is taken up with her teenage years and nursing in mental health. The stand up comedian part takes up only a very small portion towards the end of the book.

I like Jo Brand when I see her on stage or on television, but this book didn't really do anything much for me other than to give me some background information on her. It does have a few laugh-out-loud lines in it (but only a few).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2010
I love Jo Brand and first saw her perform almost 20 years ago. So I was really looking forward to reading this book after my husband bought it me for Christmas.

I was so disappointed. I had to force myself to keep reading through the childhood years as they were so ordinary. It was written in her style of speaking, so it was easy to read, but it was very clumsily written with lots of mistakes and typos. Somehow I kept going in the hope that I would read about her career and family life. Eventually I got to the end but felt very let down as there was little mention of anything of any interest at all. There were a couple of chuckles, but that's it.

Ending an autobiography at the point where a very successful career starts is theft in my opinion. I would not be at all surprised to see a second instalment next Christmas.

Don't bother reading this one. Perhaps the next one will be more interesting. If you're looking for a really good read - try Sharon Osborne's Extreme instead.
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