5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The dictionary definition of self-indulgent!!,
This review is from: How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of. (Paperback)If you don't know what the word "self-indulgent" means, and you don't own a dictionary, just read this book. It is a painfully exaggerated illustration of self-indulgence, both in the style of the writing, and in the actual content (narrative would be too strong a word).
On the telly, I like Richard Herring. He comes across as a bit of an oaf, but obviously intelligent and usually quite perceptive and witty. Being a few years older than him, I was interested to read what effect turning forty would have had on such a fellow.
Essentially he seems to feel unfulfilled, and like many of his age, he wonders if he has been wasting his life up to now. It's all too easy for him to claim that it's not all beer and skittles in the madcap world of comedy. Anyone sentient enough to pick up the book is aware of that - we all appreciate it must take a lot of hard work to do what he does, and his problem seems to be not that he doesn't/won't do the work, but that he still seems to see it as a weakness to admit that he does the work.
This book is Herring's apology for having fun for the last twenty years. He drinks a lot and often; he attends many functions you and I will never be invited to; his minor celebrity status is enough to get him groupies, and he sometimes takes advantage of that (probably more often than he lets on); he seems to have a number of decent close friends of both sexes, and many more (again, of both sexes) he can return to after lengthy breaks when he feels like it; and he is obviously financially secure.
He comes across unfortunately as rather immature, a little self-centred and sadly just plain unlikeable. Comments are made about a number of his peers (usually anonymous peers), and he seems to genuinely envy or resent the level of success some of them have achieved. It doesn'r seem to occur to him that they may be more talented than he is.
It's also a bit of a problem that many of the characters in the book are at least minor celebrities themselves, although Herring gives them pseudonyms to protect their identities. This might salve his conscience, but it does leave the reader doubting the veracity some of the incidents portrayed.
The cover of the book suggests it might be fun, but it is a tedious read. Herring is more fortunate than 90% of the population - he may not have everything he wants, but who has, and he is in a much better position than most of us to get it, whatever it is! I don't want to hear his self-indulgent whining.
After reading some of the other reviews, I re-read the final 50 pages or so, in case I had missed something. I hadn't - this piece of the book is the most poorly written. If you read it you will understand why - slight spoiler alert - that portion was written about a relationship which survived to the end of the book (it may even survive to this day - I don't know). It is cloying, sycophantic and soppy to the point of nausea. Possibly he really is that smitten, but I suspect it's more his sense of self-preservation - no-one's going to openly criticise a current (possibly permanent?) partner in print.
Finally, the editing is poor, with a number of continuity errors, including one character whose name changed sometime between leaving a pub and getting into a taxi!
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Initial post: 13 Jan 2012 15:42:01 GMT
Haha I was reading this and I got confused when the woman's name switched from Julia to Yasmin in one sentence and then switched back the following sentence in one chapter. I thought I was the only one who noticed!
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