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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining (if short) read
I should say at the beginning of this review that I am not a fan of Frank Sidebottom's and that I wouldn't ordinarily have sought out a book with Frank as the subject. I vaguely remember him being around as I grew up, an eccentric musician/comic that occasionally warranted a second glance simply on account of his unique headwear but I never did anything than glance and...
Published 3 months ago by Steve Roach

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a "single" article not a book
Enjoyed it - wish there was more. This is not even a short story just an elongated article - bits of which I am sure I have read before. I really love reading Ronson's work but felt I'd been ripped off here. You can read it in under an hour.

I'd have paid money to read a "single" - I just wish I'd been told that's what this way.
Published 4 months ago by ourman


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining (if short) read, 3 April 2014
I should say at the beginning of this review that I am not a fan of Frank Sidebottom's and that I wouldn't ordinarily have sought out a book with Frank as the subject. I vaguely remember him being around as I grew up, an eccentric musician/comic that occasionally warranted a second glance simply on account of his unique headwear but I never did anything than glance and turn away. Until the news of the upcoming film, I'd forgotten all about him.

Earlier today, whilst browsing in a real book shop (as opposed to sitting in front of a pc and browsing Amazon's virtual shelves), something caught my eye and I bent down and picked up a hardback copy of this book. The compact, hardback design with the cartoon artwork is just beautiful, and even though I knew (after a quick skim) the content was going to be short, I happily paid the full price of 7.99 just so I could take the book out of the store and find somewhere quiet to sit and read it.

I've read a couple of Ronson's earlier books, so I sort of knew what to expect. And it was, by and large, exactly what I expected. If the content were a magazine article (which I think it was based on), it would be a fantastic article and a very satisfying introduction to Frank Sidebottom. As a book, however, it comes across as a little short on content and, sadly, something of a wasted opportunity to convert the curious (people like myself) into crossing a small chasm of indifference into checking out some of Frank's work. I would have liked to know more about Frank and not have to go out and do any research myself - it would be a reasonable thing to assume that if I were going to find out more about Frank, this book would have been the perfect opportunity to discover that information. Even something as basic as a few words from his contemporaries on the music circuit would have added an extra layer of enjoyment and help me, as a reader, to contextualise Frank's impact on the general culture of the times.

Part of the problem lies, from what I can tell, in an inability for just about anyone to really know and understand Frank on a more intimate level. Even Ronson, who was in Frank's band and wrote this very book, comes across as a stranger who only sometimes manages to puncture Frank's personal bubble of happy madness to register an acknowledgement of existence. So although Ronson was in the best possible position to write this book, I still came away feeling that I barely connected on any meaningful level with the subject. And this may be the entire point - the book may fulfill an aim of achieving in literature what Frank seemed to achieve in his act - holding an audience's interest, entertaining them with a unique brand of comedy, spiralling off on different tangents, the whole thing deliberately eschewing any sort of mainstream acceptance.

I need to read it again, but those are my thoughts after an initial read. In short, I enjoyed this book and I will read it again. It's certainly piqued my interest enough to check out the film version. I see that the Kindle price is very cheap and if I was reviewing that I would be giving a full 5 stars, and I would have considered it more of an article. For a hardback, despite the beautiful design, I'm going to drop a star simply because I would have like to have not emerged from my immersion in this book with more questions than I had when I started reading.

Steve Roach
Author of Coastal Carnage and Experiments With Humans E.P.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a "single" article not a book, 6 Mar 2014
By 
ourman (Hanoi, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed it - wish there was more. This is not even a short story just an elongated article - bits of which I am sure I have read before. I really love reading Ronson's work but felt I'd been ripped off here. You can read it in under an hour.

I'd have paid money to read a "single" - I just wish I'd been told that's what this way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth 1.79 (Currently 0.59 - which is more like it), 3 May 2014
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
I'm a HUGE fan of Jon Ronson. Am very disappointed that 1, this was a really short 'book' and 2, I've read the majority of the content in other Jon Ronson books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but too short, 22 April 2014
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
I remember hearing Frank Sidebottom on the radio late at night when I was at school and thought he was great. Most of my friends didn't like him but to me he was hilarious. Jon Ronson played in Frank's band, and as a fan of Ronson's journalism I was looking forward to reading this.

It's an enjoyable read but very, very short. As nice as the hardback edition is (about the size of a Ladybird book and with a lovely matt cover) I'm glad I went for the Kindle version because the hardback is very overpriced. I read the book in bed last night while my girlfriend was cleaning her teeth - it's that short, especially when you realise there are also a few pictures in the text too.

The book is more about Ronson than Frank. The early part explains Ronson's student days, squatting in London, then being called upon to play keyboards for Frank one night. A few tales are told of bizarre gigs and rehearsals before Frank's fortunes take a downward turn and the band breaks up. Years later Ronson and Frank are reunited, sadly only a short time before the man beneath the papier mache head succumbed to throat cancer.

It's a short, entertaining read if you were a fan of Frank Sidebottom, but it doesn't really reveal much about Frank or his creator, and instead it is more the story of Jon Ronson's time in Frank's band, an expanded magazine article rather than a book. Enjoyable, but not essential. If you want to know more about Frank Sidebottom the forthcoming Mick Middles book will be a better purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very short, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
Flimsy and very short. No real information or story, I don not think the book was good value at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Oddity, 5 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
This won't give you an insight into 'Franks alter ego, it's a bit like odd world section of Private Eye. Just highlights the fact that the author, nor anyone else was allowed to get to know the real man. He must have been a real troubled soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit sad - but quite uplifting book., 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
Probably the same comment could apply to Frank / Chris' whole career.
A brief but poignant insight into Jon's feelings about his time in the 'band'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down, Frankly., 2 Jun 2014
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A few interesting insights but overall this felt like a book written purely as something for Jon Ronson to sign at his talks about the film 'Frank' which is a film that's not really got much in common with the story of Frank Sidebottom. Short at under 70 pages many of which are photo pages, many of which are stills from the film. An brief introduction to Frank Sidebottom at best. Did I mention a film's been made...?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 29 May 2014
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Patchita (Leicestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Being a fan of Jon Ronson, I was looking forward to Frank despite only having a passing interest in Frank Sidebottom.

I think this is the only "book" that i've read from cover to cover in under 40 minutes.

The typeface can be read from the moon, there's scant information in the book, and it's basically a long article. There's next to no "on the road" anecdotes, and Ronson manages to make his time in the band sound like the worlds most boring experience.

The book could of benefited from some editing too. That said, doing so would of made this book the length of a menu.

It's worth a read for 50p on the kindle, sure. Don't buy the book though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into the film, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie (Kindle Edition)
If you enjoyed the film this is a must read, gives the film a lot of context. It's also an excellent biography of sorts, Ronson clearly liked Sidebottom / Seivey but is still very honest about him.
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