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How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of. Paperback – 6 May 2010
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"A thoroughly entertaining confessional... cheeky, self-deprecating and very human" (Metro)
"If you've ever secretly wondered when you're going to grow up, How Not To Grow Up is one for you..." (Lauren Laverne Grazia)
"Razor sharp and very funny" (Shortlist Magazine)
The misadventures of an immature man in an adult worldSee all Product description
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Richard Herring's has written a book of absolutely hilarious jokes and one liners and quite frequently shows how his father has influenced him (or at least he often gives him the best lines, the reponse to the one above - "I think that students know full well how to spend all afternoon sleeping and watching television. The jokes are interspersed by a years anxiety of Richards life as he perfects his show and tours the globe. Richard doesn't exhibit the manic depression of Steve Martin's Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life rather it follows the idiom of "i was depressed all the time but never realised because i was so happy" by playing for laughs all along the way.
Ultimately this is a hilarious read; rather than exploring the roots of his humor as Steve Martin did he plays it for laughs and its great for it.
Don't get me wrong, there's a great deal of warmth and wit in How Not To Grow Up, but it's one major shortfall is pace. Not being a fan (or even that aware) of Herring I can't comment too much on his stand-up, but as a writer of books he struggles at times, and cries out for a major edit. There's clearly a great writer in Herring, should he choose to move into novels, but on the strength of How Not To Grow Old, he desperately needs to pick a direction, find his focus, and employ a more aggressive editor. Which, I guess is rather apt given the subject of the book in hand.
He's clearly a great chap (and, as with all comedians, more balanced at root than his mask would suggest), but I strongly suspect the gravitas of committing his life and inner self to public view weighed down on him too much, and in the process he lost sight of what he wanted this book to be. One minute How Not To Grow Up is up for being a snappy comedy work, the next a soul-searching reportage on what it means to be a single British hetro-sexual male of suitable means at the start of the 21st Century, the next it's all musings and valued memoir. The consequence of which generates a pace that is all over the place, and as a work of entertainment tends to challenge attention (well, mine anyway).
In the process, he also gets so wrapped up in either apologizing for the very subject matters he raises for comedy effect, such as sexual mores, booze consumption or money - the things he fears mean he's stunted as an adult - that he not only repeatedly halts proceedings whilst he analyzes every point from all conceivable angles (sometimes going round in circles), but also ends up defeating his own purpose somewhat. Said musings would no doubt fuel a great Herring stand-up show, the arena in which he is most at home and in which the audience knows there is a fiction at play, and the man can clearly write, but as an author and on the strength of this first work, he's got some way to go before he nails his form; or, if I' not being too critical, justifies the need to commit what aren't necessarily insane antics, unique observations or celebrity-fueled revelations of great value, to an eternity on the already heaving shelf marked comedy 'biography'.
That said, if you want a book to keep you entertained, How Not To Grow Up is amusing enough, and if you like the cut of this man's jib - and let's face it comedy is subjective - you could do worse than invest in Herring.
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