Most helpful critical review
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
Given how unsatisfying most TV tie-in books are, especially non-fiction ones, it was foolish to get my hopes up too much for this book. But this is Pointless, one of the most charming and funny shows on TV! I'm massive fan of the show, so of course I was quite excited by the prospect of this book.
Inevitably, it doesn't quite deliver. There are certainly good things about it. It's actually been written by the show's two hosts Xander Armstrong and Richard Osman (which is more than you can say about the fifty billion QI books out there) and their voices and humour definitely come through on the page. The premise is a good as well, a run down of 100 pointless things being a good structure in which to light-heartedly whinge and mock things.
The trouble is that the book feels very slight and phoned in. A lot of the 100 entries are very short (and that's ignoring the comically short, one line entries for some things, a joke which is unfortunately over-used a tad) and don't really seem to get going anywhere. When Armstrong or Osman do get stuck into a topic, like Osman talking about 'toner', it's a lot of fun. But an awful lot of this book feels like padding. Osman reuses the cryptic clue fifty US states quiz he did on Twitter earlier in 2012, which is fair enough I suppose, not everyone's on Twitter. Many chapters are just questions reused from the TV show though, with a scant few lines introducing them. Given that quite a lot of the people reading the book will have seen the show, it seems a waste of space to repeat them. And if they're that worth repeating, why not do a proper Pointless Quiz Book?
This all makes the book a very quick read. The publishers have nicked every student's trick for making the work seem longer than it actually is - large font, big line spacing, massive paragraph spacing and huge gaps between the chapter titles and actual text. The book runs to a little over 300 pages, but could have easily fitted into half as many as that. It all conspires to make for a brief, familiar, underwhelming read