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Customer Review

15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I read this so you won't have to, 25 Jun. 2004
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This review is from: The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers (Paperback)
Whilst this book did not make me physically ill, it has come closer than anything I have ever read.
Firstly, the book is interminably long- 890 of the 1050 pages are devoted to the years up to 1963, effectively dealing with the first ten years of Sellers' significant work. The years from 1963 to 1980 (from marriage to Britt Ekland) are rushed through on the excuse that Sellers was basically repeating himself. I suspect that the real reason is that the long suffering publishers balked at the prospect of a further 1,000 pages.
The most infuriating thing is that having laboured through the author's endless deviations and detours (is anyone interested in 4 pages on Lewis' views of the non-Sellers Kubrick films), he explains finally that the style was deliberately artful, and that he had inserted a fallible narrator into the text.
Whilst this may be a thrilling joke for anyone reading for a degree in English, it is too glib and does not excuse Lewis' appalling writing style. Not since Will Self has an author so delighted in obscure words; the book is padded with endless footnotes and agents' letters (most of which are simply source material and not interested other than to an entertainment lawyer. Lewis' insertion of his own opinions and 'goonish' sense of humour grates more than I can describe.
Lewis's essential point is that Sellers was a mother-loving monster who was dreadful to his family and anyone he worked with. Repetition adds little, and the organisation of the book is so chaotic that I began to feel as if I had read the plot of 'Being There' over ten times by the end of this book.
Sheer bloody mindedness got me through this mess of a book. How it ever came to be published is beyond me. It is a testament to the arrogance of the author and the feebleness of the editor (was there one?) to control this beast.
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