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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somebody I'd Like to Know...
I've admired David Mitchell's TV work for a long time - much preferring his panel shows, with their lightning fast wit and theatre-sports improvisation to the scripted stuff like Peepshow or the sketch shows. "Would I Lie To You?" is, I think, one of the most delightful shows to screen on British TV in a long long time, just because of the its unpredictability. In fact,...
Published 21 months ago by peekayinhk

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing - apart from...
I'm a fan of David Mitchell, I like his work, his intelligence and his outlook on life, even though he twists himself in knots about it. So I purchased this in hardback straight after Christmas.

He struggles to explain his steady rise to success, but basically it's because he is a swotty, very intelligent man. A combination that eventually pays off. There's...
Published 19 months ago by Hodderz


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing - apart from..., 22 Jan 2013
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I'm a fan of David Mitchell, I like his work, his intelligence and his outlook on life, even though he twists himself in knots about it. So I purchased this in hardback straight after Christmas.

He struggles to explain his steady rise to success, but basically it's because he is a swotty, very intelligent man. A combination that eventually pays off. There's some funny anecdotes - cooking the lobster stands out - but overall it was rather disappointing. Apart from the penultimate chapter in which he matter-of-factly describes his adoration of Victoria Coren (me too). That one chapter is a beautiful love essay, completely out of style with the remaining chapters in the book. I could have done with a bit more detail, like how on earth he survived three years knowing she was with someone else. But to be honest, it just about makes the entire book worth buying. Or you could read the chapter standing in the bookshop I suppose.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Somebody I'd Like to Know..., 5 Nov 2012
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I've admired David Mitchell's TV work for a long time - much preferring his panel shows, with their lightning fast wit and theatre-sports improvisation to the scripted stuff like Peepshow or the sketch shows. "Would I Lie To You?" is, I think, one of the most delightful shows to screen on British TV in a long long time, just because of the its unpredictability. In fact, the only thing Mitchell's ever done that I wasn't impressed with was the big red Mitchell and Webb book, which I think tried just too hard.

So I was hoping that this would contain more of the naturally warm and funny Mitchell that I love on TV, and less of the over-written comedian - and I'm really delighted to say that I think it does. Mitchell shines through every page as an intelligent, caring, warm person with a really sly sense of fun coupled with a very real humility. His chapter on meeting and falling for Victoria Coren is genuinely touching (pity the other reviewers here who have sneered at this chapter) and overall he's re-confirmed himself as someone I'd really be pleased to call a friend. Sometimes, less really is more, and to have overdone this memoir would have been a shame.

God, but he was a dorky-looking teenager though....!
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115 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right David Mitchell, 12 Oct 2012
I don't usually leave reviews but I have made an exception in this case, partly due to how useless i found the only other review currently available.
Yes, it's David Mitchell the comedian. Hence his face on the cover....and in the amazon video explaining how he isn't the guy who wrote Cloud Atlas (another great book btw!)....and in the book jacket... etc.

That established I found it to be a thoroughly entertaining read, part life story and part general observations of life, all told with humour and humility. Several times I actually laughed out loud and I found the honesty very refreshing. There are no great tragedies in this book, it's not a hard luck story, but it's full of the little things that some of us find awkward or uncomfortable at times. Right down to buying pants in Marks & Sparks - well I'm not even famous and I don't really like it!

I haven't seen too much of his work on TV, but having watched a few episodes of 'Would I Lie To You', detailing some funny (if slightly odd!) truths from his past, I thought the book might be a good investment. In my opinion, it really is. And (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending. My kind of book.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and moving, 12 Oct 2012
This is brilliantly written, laugh-out-loud funny and also surprisingly revealing. I found the chapter about his love for Victoria Coren really moving, while anecdotes about lobsters and Olivia Colman are hysterical. Definitely recommended.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clown Atlas, 14 Oct 2012
By 
Donald Lush "lushd" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Well someone was going to use that heading. I just got there first. And now it's mine forever.

This book is a tricky proposition. An autobiography of an amiable, witty and talented chap whose general amiability, talent and wit have been justly rewarded with a successful career making people laugh, enough money to prevent him worrying about not having enough money and, ultimately, the love of a good woman to end his loneliness.

This is no misery memoir. Young David spent his extreme youth pretending to be a French King, succeeding at exams and watching TV. Of beatings, divorces, drug addiction and crime, all of which have been triumphed over with remarkable character and determination, there is not a sniff. And he is not even that old. Certainly not old enough to write a whole autobiography. With luck, he's not even half way through his life. So the book lacks dramatic tension and the satisfaction, for the reader, of experiencing terrible illnesses and disasters at second hand.

Which is not to say that it's no good. It's very good. Mitchell's honesty and generally amiable approach to a life in which the greatest trial is not dating his true love for a while shine through. It's often extremely funny, in a self deprecating English sort of way. It's also sort of inspiring. After all, our hero set out to achieve a nearly impossible career and succeeded. It's only his modesty that makes it seem less than it is and the modesty is quite inspiring too. And there is a marvellous hint that there's more to him than he lets on. The chapter about his relationship with Victoria Coren is really beautiful and touching and romantic.

So what about the clown atlas? In the absence of a really major narrative thread, Mitchell has built the book around a walk across London. And very entertaining it is too and it sort of works, ending in a rather sad tribute, for one so young, to a world he loves which he sees as passing. I hope he will be back with part two, in about fifteen years. I'm looking forward to it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warm, light and highly readable, 22 Nov 2012
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Dr. Simon Howard "sjhoward" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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As with all celebrity autobiographies, if you're a fan of the celebrity, there's a high probability that you'll enjoy the book. If not, you're unlikely to read it anyway. That's a point that's made often, but that probably bears repeating.

The structure of this book is slightly novel, in that it follows Mitchell on a walk around London, with reminisces and comic riffs inspired by things he sees along the way. I think it's fair to say that little of the content is deeply insightful: it's mildly embarrassing to buy underwear; membership of Footlights provides a firm footing for launching one's career in comedy; and most ideas pitched to television companies don't get commissioned.

That said, I like David Mitchell, so I enjoyed the book. The content isn't groundbreaking, but it is at least communicated with warmth and a degree of endearing self-deprecation. And I found the last chapter, in which Mitchell discusses his relationship with Victoria Coren, genuinely heartwarming. Others have described it as overly syrupy, but I disagree - I thought it was lovely.

It's hard to know what else to say, really. Mitchell comes across as a thoroughly likeable guy, and this is a highly readable but equally forgettable walk through a life that has been lived without all that much trauma, distress or heartache. It's a light read that, as a fan of Mitchell, I find it hard not to recommend. But it's hardly life-changing stuff.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So it's not just me...., 8 Nov 2012
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I really admire David Mitchell's work, but I never expected to be able to empathise so much with him. A delight to find out he's not just a posh rich boy - let's face it, anyone who places himself lower on the so-called social scale than Lee Mack, but has also scaled his heights, is worth a read.
There is some meandering blather in this book - the reason I dropped one star- but ultimately it is a fascinating insight into a normal person's difficulties in finding out where he fits in the world and trying to get a longed-for career off the ground. Ultimately it is surprisingly touching. It left me with a much deeper understanding of an undoubtedly talented man, and an even warmer affection for him.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished and Entertaining, 17 Oct 2012
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The structure of this book is a surprise and a delight; David Mitchell has clearly thought seriously about how to present his (relatively short) life in as satisfying a way as possible. He addresses the reader occasionally, but doesn't overdo this, meaning that the book feels pleasantly inclusive rather than fake-matey. It did make me laugh out loud at points, but I also really liked his self-knowledge and self-castigation. As for the penultimate chapter.....it made me cry. There won't be a better celebrity memoir this year.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, readable; also thought-provoking and ultimately heart-warming., 29 Nov 2012
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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Anyone who has read David Mitchell's column in the Observer knows that he can write with humour and insight on a wide variety of topics. This book proves that one of those topics is himself.
It's no surprise that his book has been short listed for book awards, it's a tremendously enjoyable read.

As with many of the best of recent 'celebrity' memoirs, the construct is a clever one. Advised to walk more to strengthen his back, David did. He found he enjoyed it and in doing so gained a deep knowledge of London.

So the book is a walk across London from his flat in Kilburn, but the different points of interest en route serve as simple introductions to David's life story, from being the loved son of Oxford lecturer parents through school and student life, to his life as a TV actor-comedian, culminating in his symbolic arrival at the now closed BBC TV centre in Wood Lane.

What lifts this way above many similar memoirs of those in the entertainment industry is David's honesty, self-awareness and intelligence. His appearance on many TV panel shows, along with his sit-com Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look has made him a well-known face that we think we know. He speaks of his 'panel persona', so that person isn't quite the same as the real David Mitchell.

The real David Mitchell as revealed here comes across as being enormously likeable, even when revealing his less likeable side, by acknowledging professional jealousies, for example.

David gives massive insights into the way TV programmes are put together. His chapter 'The Magicians' should be read by all in the upper echelons of TV. As recent events have shown spending vast amounts of cash on PR rather than on ensuring programme quality can have far-reaching effects. Cuts are being made in the wrong areas.

For me one of the best parts of the book comes towards the end with a beautifully written revelation from David's personal life that made me cry, it was so touching. (He also made me laugh out loud many times. Especially with the industrialist meets Hitler joke, ironically not one he wrote, bur one line that he definitely delivered.)

As with Stephen Fry's acclaimed biography, I finished the book wanting to give David a great big hug - and to thank him for such an enjoyable read.

David Mitchell opens the book by asking himself the question 'Surely it'll sell?' I really hope it does. Very highly recommended, not just as an insight into a truly interesting person, but in the way that TV programmes make it on to the screen. Five stars, no question.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Soon?, 3 July 2013
By 
A. Marczak "mazzarak" (Mordor) - See all my reviews
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There's a lot said about the celebrity auto-biography genre. Too many, too early in their career, not done enough etc. This one teeters on the edge a little. Mitchell takes us on a symbolic walk through London, remedial treatment for his back (Back Story, geddit?), while landmarks trigger memories that happily lead us into the next chapter.

It's in huge contrast to Camp David by David Walliams that Mitchell is happy to concede that he had a very happy childhood, albeit that much of the dating scene passed him by. A brief trip through the Cambridge Footlights leads us to a few shows in Edinburgh, the genesis of Peep Show, various sketch shows, ending with the panel show stalwart that we know and enjoy.

It would be wrong to say that I didn't enjoy it, it's funny, it's charming and it's intelligent. Did he need to write it yet? After all, Arthur Smith has crammed twice as much into the same space, and there is a part of me that feels that a life needs to be fascinating or at least long before it is worthy of a memoir.
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