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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra-ordinary
I'm writing this without reading any other review. Simply because this is a most extraordinary book about depression and, although I may repeat sentiments contributed by other review authors, I wanted this to be untainted by what I can only imagine is their (the reviews) just-worthy praise.

On one level the book is an extraordinary inisight into the machine of...
Published on 4 July 2004 by Julian Williams

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many warts and all.
Nobody could doubt the author's insight to the world of a comic genius. However I do not feel it does any favours to those who suffer from depression. Spike could lock himself away for days on end and generally be a pain to those who tried to befriend him. However most of us similarly afflicted have to get out and punch the time clock. It leeches sympathy away to read how...
Published 10 days ago by Anthony Steadman


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra-ordinary, 4 July 2004
By 
Julian Williams (Stourport -on-Severn UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spike: An Intimate Memoir (P.S.) (Paperback)
I'm writing this without reading any other review. Simply because this is a most extraordinary book about depression and, although I may repeat sentiments contributed by other review authors, I wanted this to be untainted by what I can only imagine is their (the reviews) just-worthy praise.

On one level the book is an extraordinary inisight into the machine of 50s-80s British comedy.

On another level the book is an extraordinary insight into the work and life of a genius.

On yet another level this is an extraordinary life story from a quite wonderful woman - the kind of woman that every good and creative man needs in his life. I am fortunate to have that woman in mine

But on the most extraordinary level, this book paints the graphic, wild picture of uncontrollable depression that seems to be born to the best and most productive minds.

For all those who suffer from depression PLEASE READ THIS. There is no other book written on the subject - the disease or gift? - that comes close to explaining to others how one feels when life tumbles from the peaks and hits the troughs.

And unfortunately, still today we with depression must master the art of explanation first before trying to conquer the demon. As Norma quotes Spike "if a man had a leg removed would you ask him to walk?"

Profound, deep, enlightening and extraordinary. Thank you Norma.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight, 30 Aug 2004
This review is from: Spike: An Intimate Memoir (P.S.) (Paperback)
Fans of Spike's earlier career (including the Goon Show years) may be disapointed by this book as it dwells primarily on the latter half of his life as told by his long-term manager Norma Farnes.
The initial chapters provide a brief overview of his earlier career plus some background to the author before continuing with some priceless insight into the man behind the legend. The book is easy to read and provides a highly personal account of what made Spike Milligan tick but if you want a more academic biography then you're probably better off getting hold of Humphrey Carpenter's offering.
However, 'An Intimate Memoir' should be on the bookshelf of any fan of british comedy. Spike was a pivotal character in the development of british humour from the post-war years unto the present day. It would be impossible to imagine where british comedy would be without him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike Milligan-By Norma Farnes, 14 May 2006
By 
Trevor J. Foster "whofreak" (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
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I found this book to be quite remarkable. How this lady managed to put up with the often bizarre mood swings of the genius that was Spike Milligan has to be read to be believed. A superb insight into a Great Great talent.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too many warts and all., 19 Aug 2014
Nobody could doubt the author's insight to the world of a comic genius. However I do not feel it does any favours to those who suffer from depression. Spike could lock himself away for days on end and generally be a pain to those who tried to befriend him. However most of us similarly afflicted have to get out and punch the time clock. It leeches sympathy away to read how he indulged himself. The author perhaps unwittingly also brags about his/her/their contacts' lifestyle. My sympathy to Spike. My appreciation to Norma for her fortitude, but both have been well rewarded.
Actually regarding the content it skims over events and keeps returning to Spike the pain. Also the inevitable factual errors. Michael Bentine did not leave the Goons in a fit of pique. He had contractual responsibilities elsewhere which he took seriously. Spike doesn't seem to have been so reliable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best biography for ages, 2 Jan 2014
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Very well observed and written account full of real and enduring love and affection between these colleagues and friends. A moving and amusing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to describe how good this is., 23 Sep 2013
By 
S. Owen "Steve O" (Sheffield England) - See all my reviews
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The best most honest thing I have ever read. no polish, no spin. brilliant. If you want to know what the real Spike Milligan was like then read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended., 22 Nov 2012
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A good read and an interesting insite into a comic genius, would recommend all Spike Milligan fans to read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Narrative, 7 Nov 2011
This is the most insightful work on Milligan's life I have ever come across (other than his own memoirs!). Norma Farnes was his agent from the early sixties and this book is her hugely entertaining account of Spike's life from then on.

Norma was Spikes agent, manager, confident and minder and it seems she may have been the closest to him of anyone. Yet, this is clearly about Spike the man: Norma does not impose her life on the narrative but rather enhances it with an understated and touching style.

It is not a treatise on his comic genius - it's a memoir afterall. But it's all in there: his work, his moods, his relationships (including HRH Prince Charles) and his depression. I'm an avid Goon fan but found that the book not covering the "The Goons" period, does not detract one bit from its significance or entertainment value.

It's very well written and highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book of spike milligan, 24 July 2011
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A great book for those who loved the humour of this man.If you aren't a fan, then its probably not the book for you. Great value for money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly honest account of life, laughs and depression, 28 April 2008
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This review is from: Spike: An Intimate Memoir (P.S.) (Paperback)
I loved this book. I didn't know anything about Spike Milligan beforehand having been too young for The Goon Show; but of course everybody knows his name. Written by his manager and long suffering friend Norma Farnes this intimate biography allows us to see behind the closed doors and celebrity image to the real man.

His shrewd wit and larger than life personality drew people towards him and yet his at times manic depression hurt him and others time and time again. Often retiring to his room for days leaving a note on the door saying only 'I'm Sick' to fend off the outside world.

I can understand that fans of Spike's comedy might be disappointed by this book because it's not a comedy. Although to understand the man is to understand the whole, and to understand the whole we must see everything, warts and all.

I found this book uplifting. If you want to understand Spike, or if you want to understand depression, read this book.
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Spike: An Intimate Memoir (P.S.)
Spike: An Intimate Memoir (P.S.) by Norma Farnes (Paperback - 4 May 2004)
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