Customer Review

135 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A catchphrase-free if admittedly gushing review, 29 Sept. 2011
This review is from: I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan (Hardcover)
This is quite honestly the funniest book I have ever read. You'd be forgiven for thinking that an entire book written in character from one of these isles' and comedy history's most successful, developed and believable creations could fall short of expectations on many levels, but it doesn't. Not one facet of the superbly titled "I Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan" (even the TITLE is 100% character-accurate) didn't live up to my expectations.

Coogan, Iannucci and newcomers the brothers Gibbons have created a very complete history for Partridge that effortlessly (and again, believably) takes in aspects of his storied past from the events of I'm Alan Partridge right back to anecdotes recounted in the lesser-seen (or heard) radio version of Knowing Me, Knowing You (whose referenced Steven McCombe is given a further verbal thrashing by our vengeful Alan). If you've felt that some of Coogan's ventures with the character have seen disjointed (how, precisely, did he get from I'm... to the excellent Mid Morning Matters, for example, and what's become of his supporting cast?) this book should serve to tie things together, though don't misread me- this is not a loosely assembled retread of common ground. There's not a page that doesn't boast a fresh tale, an exaggerated recollection or a declaration of excellence in some mundane field. Iannucci and Coogan's belief in the character (who they attest in the DVD extras for one episode dresses the way he does because it's the way Roger Moore started to in his later Bond appearances, and in another discuss - in detail - what numbers they think Alan would find funny) is what makes this rich, rich fictional history such a compelling and comical read. If you've ever wanted to know more about his relationships with Michael, Carol, Lynn or Sonja or precisely how someone so socially inept landed a gig presenting a primetime chatshow, you'll not be left wanting.

I, Partridge contains absolutely everything I would have wanted from it (Partridgeisms as disparate as using abbreviations only to have to explain them and thereby diminishing their usefulness or boasting about reading books aimed at 12-year-olds at age 9, to name but two of many) but adds a whole new layer of idiosyncrasy (the use of footnotes herein, for example, is particularly inspired) and is bolstered by Alan's unique (if clearly derivative) and acutely observed sense of prose, which is so commonly featured that to single out ay one example seems pointless.

The book's appeal is wide-ranging enough to accommodate those like myself who've devoured every audio commentary and Youtube-sourced guest appearance they can get their hands on in addition to relative newcomers or even those with no frame of reference for the character at all, simply because it's so well written and so fully realised that it functions as a great read no matter how you engage with it. You don't have to have heard Alan's recollections of youth in his televised outings to find his here-recited tales of being prone to nosebleeds or awkward first forays into sexual exploration amusing. It's a great comedy read in addition to being a great celebration of a character worth celebrating.

I'm not exaggerating when I say this book has made me laugh out loud more than any book I've ever read (in one sitting, no less), nor am I exaggerating when I say I'll probably re-read and re-read and analyse this tome to death much as I have Partridge's previous exposures. It is, as much as a book written by a fictional character could ever be, absolutely perfect.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2011 21:51:13 BDT
S Morgan says:
Thanks for the review! I was pretty excited about the book (still awaiting delivery), but, if it's as good as you describe, I'm even more excited now!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2011 22:26:52 BDT
Paul McNamee says:
Thanks, there's not a word of hyperbole there, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Posted on 29 Sep 2011 23:18:17 BDT
Ben Fox says:
It sounds like I am a very similar Partridge fan to you, who both yearns for new content and wishes there was more consistency with what we do have. I'm awaiting arrival of this book and I pray it delivers to the extent you describe. Brilliantly written review also.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Oct 2011 05:56:37 BDT
Paul McNamee says:
Thanks, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted on 3 Oct 2011 12:11:20 BDT
Missy says:
Great review. Do you actually live in Truth or Consequences? Very cool place.

Posted on 6 Oct 2011 12:11:59 BDT
Would you describe the book as morribund?

Posted on 7 Oct 2011 04:20:14 BDT
mister joe says:
Thought this was one of those cash in christmas books.I mean i love the Partridge so after reading this glowing review i may add it to my santa list.What is all this "preserving the intregity" stuff?Intregity of what?Taste?And why would you be in charge of this?Plus i take it you are not based in truth or consequence.Sorry to rain on the parade,thats what i do.A thoroughly nice,helpful,decent review.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2011 10:22:09 BDT
Paul McNamee says:
Oh, that, well, the idea is that I've tried to limit the amount of five-star reviews I dole out because it's been devalued by overuse, but I've never professed to be in charge of anything, and it's only within the parameters of Amazon's forced star-rating system, wherein I've no choice but to apply ratings out of five. What's the point in writing reviews if you're not going to be at least a little snobbish? The implication of ultimately arbitrary authority is something I think reviewers ought to try and create.

Get the book, Mister Joe. It's not one bit the Christmas book you seem to expect, and better at least than last year's Thick Of It annual, which is a good example of a lazy Xmas tie-in from a seemingly reliable property.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2011 01:15:41 BDT
mister joe says:
Cool,yeah i think i will ask for it for my stocking.Sorry about my slightly aggressive tone of previous post,i have had severe man flu,aching bones,snotty nose,hacking cough.The missus will not under any circumstances give me any sympathy so therefore i have been left like a bear with a sore head.Good review and thanks for reply.

Posted on 11 Oct 2011 15:22:47 BDT
Brilliant review. And, PERHAP, a Partridge fan as big as I?!

I'm reading this tour de force (My words, Alans agreement) as I type (I can multitask with the best of 'em) and it's literally making Coffee come out of my nose, and I'm not even drinking Coffee!!

Thanks babe, love, Magnum (the last one).
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Paul McNamee
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: North Ireland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 657