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How To Lose Friends & Alienate People Paperback – 18 Jul 2002
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I'll rot in hell before I give that little bastard a quote for his book (Julie BURCHILL)
This man, Toby Young, is a rat and a snake and, to hear some tell it, also a raccoon. He deserves all these nasty blurbs (Dave Eggers, author of A HEARTBREAKING WORK of STAGGERING GENIUS.)
In How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Toby Young--columnist and former co-editor (with Julie Burchill and Cosmo Landesman) of The Modern Review--portrays himself as a man pulled to the New York media set by twin desires: to trade one-liners with modern day Dorothy Parkers and Robert Benchleys over very dry martinis, and to drink Cristal from a supermodel's cleavage in the back of a limo. In the event, neither is fulfilled and desire shows itself up to be the snake that eats its own tail--endless and ultimately encircling a big fat zero. (How to Lose... is Young's own telling of his disastrous five-year career in New York journalism, initiated when he is offered a job at Vanity Fair, Conde Nast's flagship star-fest. Young may have been hired for his snappy prose, but his real genius turns)
Fiona Buckland, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
* An Englishman in New York - by a man who survived to tell the tale.See all Product description
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The attitude of the author to his surroundings strongly appealled to my generally rather cynical nature towards both Americans and the media.
I think that Toby Young has a great sense of humour and I'm glad that he has made some money doing something.
All that said, I found that the book seemed to take too long to read and, at times, felt that the name dropping became a bit too much as the author seemed to assume a level of previous knowledge in the reader - which I didn't have!
Where the book was written in the "tongue in cheek" manner it was fabulous - when his tongue fell out it became a bit more of a slog!
While I found How to Lose Friends and Alienate People a really entertaining read, there were times when I found myself cringing. I kept thinking "what if your children ever read this?"
The book is full of amusing stories and, somehow, Young manages to become the hero of his own downfall.
It is also a cautionary tale - drugs and alcohol and his obsession with women's breasts feature heavily in his demise.(At one point he is so smashed that he gives away his mother's gold ring to a teenager he meets in a bar. It was matter of huge regret since his mother was dead and he had no way of tracing the girl.)
I have seen the film of the book - Young is played by Simon Pegg - but I wish I had read the book first. A lot of the material that the film-makers did not use is funnier than the extracts that did feature in the film.
Young has obviously grown up since writing this memoir and is currently doing a lot to highlight the problems with the education system in Britain and working on a project to open a free school in London. He's come a long way since he hired a strippagram for a work colleague on "Take Your Daughters To Work Day!"
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