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Billy Connolly by [Stephenson, Pamela]
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Billy Connolly Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Length: 451 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Billy Connolly is loud, hilarious and contradictory. His biography, written by his wife, former comedian and practising psychotherapist Pamela Stephenson, is pretty much the same. Over the years Connolly has grown from Glasgow shipyard welder to folk-singing beardy hard man (yes there is such a thing) to darling of the good and great (or at least famous) around the world. That he is so many things to so many people while in no way compromising his core self can only be good. It would be no mean feat for Stephenson, then, to pen a history to that would satisfy Connolly audiences of fans and contemporaries from all periods of his life's journey. In most places, but in truth, not all, the author manages to do this well.

The first half of the biography is somewhat anthropological in tone. Not surprisingly, a post-war Glasgow upbringing is somewhat alien to the antipodean author and Stephenson errs towards Angela's Ashes intonation as she describes her husband's tenement childhood (Scots readers may also find her regular translation of seemingly self-explanatory Scots phrases--which Connolly would use--obtuse). In contrast her examination of her experience of living with the comedian and his life from that point on is much better. Anecdotes which Connolly uses in his live shows pepper the text and laughs are raised as he tells of the time he was mistaken as a drug dealer on Speyside, of his cheeky friendships with cinema's elite and even through the more difficult times; the difficulty of balancing an almost manic humour with a troubled life. Pages turn quickly as we grow to understand more of what makes the man tick.

Certainly fans of Billy Connolly will enjoy this book. It is not perfect but it is certainly entertaining and should fill a gap in the market until Billy--with his half-remembered stories and off-centre view of the world--decides to let us into his head as well as his history. There's surely one ideal way to do this and that's by writing his story himself. --Helen Lamont

Review

"Billy Connolly is my inspiration."---Eddie Izzard

"Billy Connolly is quite simply the most successful popular British stand-up comedian of modern times."--"The Guardian"

"A triumph of the will, an "Angela's Ashes" with punch lines."--"Publishers Weekly"

"Billy Connolly is my inspiration." -- -Eddie Izzard
"Billy Connolly is quite simply the most successful popular British stand-up comedian of modern times." -- -"The Guardian"
"A triumph of the will, an "Angela's Ashes" with punch lines." -- -"Publishers Weekly"

"Billy Connolly is my inspiration." Eddie Izzard
"Billy Connolly is quite simply the most successful popular British stand-up comedian of modern times." "The Guardian"
"A triumph of the will, an "Angela s Ashes" with punch lines." "Publishers Weekly""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 12484 KB
  • Print Length: 451 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0086VGZQ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,554 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I grew up in the same Glasgow tenements as Billy Connolly, jumped the same dykes and scurried to the same outside toilets on a dark night. I bought his records in the 70s, his videos in the 90s and saw him once live. I'm a fan and glad he's doing well.
I approached this biography with an open mind - keen to learn more about a great entertainer and a bit of a hero of mine. I have to say, I was left feeling somewhat cheated.
The book is structured chronologically and each chapter deals with a sizeable chunk of the Big Yin's life. The chapters are titled with Connollyesque catch-phrases ("Cop yer whack!" etc.) but, most irritatingly, introduced by contemporary vignettes of Connolly's current lîfe. Since the book was published in late 2001, most of these are very recent and recount events like Hollywood parties and Connolly's Glasgow University graduation. For someone reading the book within months of publication they serve to highlight its freshness but as time rolls on, the effect will stagnate and, five years from now, they will make this book seem past its sell-by date.
Other reviewers have commented on the relentless name-dropping with which Stephenson peppers the text and it is in these chapter intros that the celebs crowd - Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman and so on. Seriously, how well do any of these people really know Billy Connelly? So is their opinion important to our understanding of the man? Or does Stephenson think that celebrity brings with it a gift of character judgement that lesser mortals lack?
In the earlier chapters, when recounting Connolly's childhood, apprenticeship and early career, the book is interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
It turns out that he's infinately more complex than we ever thought. His ability to laugh in the face of adversity comes to the fore especially taking into account his revelations about his relationship with his father. With all the cards stacked against him he chose the stage as a career. I can't praise this book enough. Stephenson is a competent writer, slowly she extracts ever more revealing insights into the big man.
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Format: Hardcover
I found it a shame that the subject's own wife couldn't have done a better job of this. Yes, there is far too much gratuitous name-dropping in this book, and the sometimes muddled style of writing can make it confusing at first to keep track of the who's-who list of family members.
Many of the quotes and opinions used from the man himself appear to be taken from past television/public appearances (See the "Erect for 30 years" video for most of them) rather than from personal conversation. I could not help but feel that a great opportunity had been missed here.
The story which is being told, however, is what makes this book a very worthwhile read. Billy Connolly's unlikely life-journey is truly a triumph and an inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover
This book leaves you with mixed feelings about Billy Connolly but weary of his wife. When she is not name dropping about Billy's Hollywood friends she is reminding us of her adopted profession. Sadly she does not give us much insight into her husband's motivation and compulsions. This would have been really interesting. Perhaps she is too close to the man for anything other than hero worship. The material on Connolly's early years is really good and you feel great admiration for his fortitude. Sadly, by the end of the book I was wearying of him.
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Format: Hardcover
An extremely powerful and insightful book. The reader is taken on a journey through absolute poverty in Glasgow experiencing Billy coming to terms with real demons. At times Dr. Stephenson tends to add too much pyscho-analysis, but overall a real eye-opner that will make you laugh and cry in equal measures.
A must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An enjoyable book in so much that it reveals the
inner demons and very private incidents of Britains most loved and admired comedian. However, the writing of Pamela Stephonson was more and more
frustrating as the book went on. Her references
to herself were frustrating ( who is the book about? Her or her husband? ) and the twisting of the narrative to include her professional interpratations of his mental state was uneccessary. A biography should be neutral and filled with factual information so the reader can form his own opinions, not biased by the personal views of the author. By far her most annoying limitation as an author was her recollection of past incidents which were totally out of place with the story and were purely placed in the book to 'drop names'. For example, suddenly and with no real relation to the current narrative, there is a short paragraph where she explains how her son has never been sick, except once when he was sick on Joan Collins. There are continual examples of this throughout the book, odd little paragraphs with tenuous relevance and limited interest whose only purpose is to mention famous people they know.We know he has famous friends, he is a very popular famous man, it would be more interesting and surprising if he didn't have any famous friends! The most nauseating by far was when she mentioned how she, Princess Di and Fergie went out on the town dressed as policewoman. I'm afraid it comes over as being very vain, insecure, shallow and totally uneccessary, it just doesn't add anything to the book, it detracts. A real shame, as Billy Connolly is without exaggeration the closest thing I have to a hero, I truly admire and respect the man, and as such I feel he deserved a better biographer.
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