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How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of. Paperback – 6 May 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091932084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091932084
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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)

Book Description

The misadventures of an immature man in an adult world

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a long-time fan of Richard Herring (yes, I was at the Lee and Herring live recording all those years ago...), I was really looking forward to reading this book. And it gave me everything I wanted, albeit not in the way I was expecting it. I anticipated a peek into Richard's private and professional life - which I got - but not the amount of self-doubt, soul-searching and downright personal feeling that the book is filled with. I can't remember reading an autobiography with such honesty before - honesty that doesn't always paint Richard in the kindest of lights. And that's where you'll be surprised, possibly shocked. If you're expecting a showbiz biog about how great and blessed a life the subject has enjoyed - look elsewhere. But if you want to know what life is like for a single man approaching what he's always been told is the age he should have everything sorted by - you'll keep turning the pages as much as I did. My only disappointment was that I would have liked to have learned more about the ins and outs of Richard's career (the only glimpse we really get is of a fight in the office with Stewart Lee!) but I guess we'll get that when he's approaching 60! Great stuff!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Casting himself as the everyman that (a) enjoys stand-up as the other rock & roll, (b) still reads music magazines, and/or (c) refuses to move out of jeans into slacks and slippers, How Not To Grow Old, Richard Herring's memoir-of-sorts is a wry look at what it means to finally reach that complicated age of 40; part ode to youth and adolescence, blended with a quietly scathing look at the seeming second childhood of being a thirtysomething in our media-defined day and age. And what an odd book this is; a fine idea, and one that was clearly written from the heart (and you can probably tell there's a 'but' coming)... but, grief, doesn't Herring go on!

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.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The comedy event book has become a staple of my reading diet since the likes of Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace started to write accessible non fiction with a ladish hook. People have attempted to replicate the mix of humour and self awareness that makes these two authors my favourite, but many have failed. Unfortunately, the latest in this line is the talented stand up Richard Herring, whose `Fist of Fun' and `This Morning with Richard and not Judy' was essential viewing when I was younger. As a book there are some very funny moments and these are mostly linked to Herring's inherent intelligence and funny nature. This comes in the form of a turn of phrase h or a witty anecdote. The book is at its best when it feels like Herring's stand up, but unfortunately this means that moments in the book shine out, whilst the whole does not.

Unlike many of these lad lit true stories there is not really much of a hook. Herring turns 40, but that is not really something that stands out from the norm, most of us hope to reach this accomplishment. It basically feels like a 2 year diary that it is perhaps too personal. Herring is a very introverted writer and he likes to explore his feelings. He is constantly apologising for his lifestyle which, although I find it a little depressing, I actually think each to his own. The joy that an author like Danny Wallace brings to all his work is not present here. Wallace comes across as a naturally happy man both inside and out, who embraces life. Herring appears on the outside to be jolly, whilst internally he struggles. In the end I enjoyed the book because Herring is a talented comedic writer and with the addition of a hook, that was more than himself, he could go on to write something more entertaining. As it was, `How not to Grow Old' left me feeling a little depressed.
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Format: Paperback
If you only read one book this year, then you're a moron and I don't want anything to do with you.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Brilliant, I thought as I chose this book - something right up my street as I love reading biographies written by comedians. I remember Richard Herring from one of my younger brother's favourite programmes `Fist of Fun', his collaboration with Al Murray on `Time Gentlemen Please' and the various appearances on comedy panel shows over the past few years. Herring writes about his childhood, career and most recently, the time surrounding impending fortieth birthday in 2007, where he seems to be questioning his current single status/career/lifestyle etc. Don't be put off by this, his prose leaps off the page in a light, but humorous way.

Like Mr Herring, although I'm thirtysomething, I still find an awful lot of things to laugh about in life and some of his observations were really poignant, especially being dubbed `puerile' by others and finding funny names amusing. Some parts made me laugh out loud, especially his love of the CBeebies show `Big Cook Little Cook' and the time he purchased an inappropriate t-shirt to wear to an impending gig.

The narrative is beautifully self-aware and Herring isn't afraid of listing his faults: laziness, sloth, fickleness etc, but that makes it much more readable in my eyes than some ghost written rubbish churned out by the latest `celeb' on the block. I took vicarious pleasure in reading high and lowlights of his love life and the Nintendo DS anecdote is especially amusing. It was quite romantic towards the end too, which is an unexpected bonus and not something I'd expect to encounter in a book of this nature.

In conclusion, it's an excellent read and particularly good if you're a comedy fan. It's made me want to read/watch more of Herring's material, which can only be a good thing. I'll pass this book onto some of my male colleagues for them to enjoy too.
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