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Maps of My Life Paperback – 6 Aug 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099532247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099532248
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 744,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Witty and enjoyable....Practically every sentence has its en-suite drollery... This book puts non-misery memoirs where they belong: on the map" (Jonathan Sale Independent)

"A humorist with a gift for absurdity, Browning's account will bring a smile to the face of anyone born in the Sixties" (Emma Hagestadt The Independent)

"This good-humoured memoir charts the author's progress form his birth in Chipping Norton to the Alps, Niagara Falls, the Mediterranean and Central America...full of drollery, his mental maps include his mother's version of the isle of Wight, somewhere between the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea, and a hilarious graphic representation of the destruction of his ego during a relationship with a north Oxford girl" (Aimee Shalan The Guardian)

"A hilarious biography-meets-confession-meets-travel memoir" (Arena)

"Touching and very, very funny" (Pyschologies)

Review

Touching and very, very funny. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Bantam Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. After reading far too many books that reviewers have described as hilarious but have failed raise a smile, never mind a chortle, I found Maps of my Life to be genuinely very funny.

Humour is a subjective thing but I enjoyed every page of this book. The stories about the authors childhood misadventures, usually caused by his older brother, the Fatted Calf, are excellent reading. Chapters about his brothers make-over of their front garden and the school skiing trip are particularly entertaining.

Those expecting a book about maps, as the title would indicate, will be disappointed as the maps in question are there to illustrate where the events of the following chapter take place. These maps though are also amusing as they are wittily annotated and add to the overall entertainment value of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this just a couple of days ago in my local bookshop as a present for my brother on the strength of the review in Arena magazine but I started to read it and, although it is not my usual type of reading matter, I am keeping the original copy. Hence I'm here ordering another for my brother.
Opening the book for a quick peek, I laughed aloud at the first page which was a pretty impressive start. Browning, like me, was a second child and says:
"I wasn't the first child. It's difficult to write that and somehow not feel that you've failed in something important." ...... "Second children are like second marriages: you know that in general they're worth having but you've also learned from your first how messy and unpleasant they can be."
The characters in this book are Browning's parents and siblings, and the whole book is a humorous and witty take on his childhood, the places his family lived and the trips and holidays they made. Although a different location (in fact many including the US, Italy, France and Spain as well as the UK) and a different era (Browning was born in the 1960s), his good-natured humour and obvious affection for his family reminds me of the Gerald Durrell's reflections on his early life.
Absolutely brilliant!
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book for the maps,for the concept. I like what the author has done here and only wish I had come up with the idea first, but in the end, rather like John O'Farrell, the endless attempts to be funny become a tad tiresome.

Having said that he can be laugh out loud funny, and this is an antidote to all those books that "celebrate" a miserable childhood, but for me the overall sheen of smugness just takes away a bit, hence the loss of a star.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that proves humour to be a great way to view life. Browning's disciplined meanderings around the pathways of his past throw up the gems that you would expect from the Guardian writer. He excels at finding interest in the small things in life and vividly creates a picture of growing up in the 70s and 80s. Thankfully he didn't go through years of trauma so we view this time via intriguing characters and adolecent adventures. His story about his introduction to alcohol via cider is spookily familiar to mine. Political points are made lightly but are more powerful because of it. This is a great life affirming book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many people are familiar with Guy Browning's laconic and inventive columns in The Guardian. Here is a 'Long March' of autobiography written in a similar style, covering his Adrian Mole years. He's got a brilliant memory for all his childhood holidays, and he paints his family and friends as warm and eccentric characters.

It's an ingenious format for a book and the chapters are short and to the point. It's very funny, very English and does its bit to champion the joys of cartography. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Guy Browning's books, I love his sense of humour, and was delighted to find it running thoughout this biography of his early years up to just before he goes to uni. Particularly amusing is his friendship with a girl from north Oxford academia, where "if you aren't tri-lingual by four, with grade seventeen on the violin, you are regarded as having special needs"! It lasted nearly two years before he ended it by writing her "a disgusting sickly-sweet Battenburg cake of a letter where I talked about our different trajectories of growth and how I was blocking her sunshine and how I'd learned so much from her and other such execrable duck-billed platitudes"! Brilliant stuff! (The book is also delightfully illustrated.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and parts of it did make me laugh out loud! I love Guy's wry sense of humour and being a Botley-onian myself, had to smile about his description of Botley... it really isn't all that bad! Having met the Fatted Calf, I can confirm that he is much nicer in real life!

I'd definitely recommend getting this if you enjoy reading about other peoples' lives, although I wouldn't agree that the sense of humour is in anyway smug, or annoying (thats just being plain rude!) Anyway, if you enjoy a good, undemanding read, this is the book for you.
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