Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now flip flip flip Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



on 9 January 2018
I've enjoyed much of what I've seen from David Mitchell on television and therefore I looked forward very much to reading this, his autobiography of his story so far. However, while I enjoyed it on the whole, I found it less than completely satisfying in the end.

David uses a nice device to act as the backdrop through his pretty much chronological memory of the stages his life moved through. It turns out that he, like myself, enjoys a good walk, in his case for differing reasons, partly because of the need to stay on top of his propensity to put on too much weight if he's not careful to exercise sufficiently, but also because he simply enjoys the practice. As a result he gives the mental image of taking a walk from where he was living at the time of writing the book, (Kilburn), down through Hampstead and its environs, Belsize Park, Abbey Road, Primrose Hill, Regents Park etc etc, while recalling the major incidents of his life story along the way. I enjoyed the walk with him very much.

He covers his school days, his initially failed attempt to get into Oxford, before Cambridge eventually took him in instead and then, in common with so may of his peers, the entry into Footlights, the performing at numerous Smokers and then the Edinburgh Festival, and so on, before he eventually made it on to the BBC with, once again, so many others who've trod the same path and already regaled us with the details.

And that's where the world-weary familiarity kicked in for me. Quite simply, although as I say I like David and in particular his fabulous rants, I've simply heard far too many versions of essentially the same story from Stephen, Emma, and many others going all the way back to Peter Cook's day. They all recount that they didn't really attend many, if indeed any, lectures and just used their time at Oxbridge to get a foothold into and establish connections by which to join the others who've preceded them. I'm not denying the talent of any of them, just expressing my boredom at hearing it over and over again.

So sorry, but because of all that in my own mini-rant, I've only awarded 4 stars and not the maximum.
3 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 8 June 2017
The autobiography of popular sit-com and panel-show comedian (not the novelist) David Mitchell is suffused with his trademark lowbrow verbosity.

Structured around an imaginary walk around London, designed to help ease his back pain, the narrative sees Mitchell link various landmarks to key moments in a life whose principal focus has been to develop a career in comedy. Those who are familiar with his TV persona will recognise the combination of nerdy erudition and ranting exhibitionism.

Starting with tales of middle-class life in middle England, he takes us via Cambridge University and Footlights, to his celebrated partnership with Robert Webb, and their rise to fame - which might have seemed rapid to the outside observer (they became TV regulars while still in their twenties), but was, from their perspective, painfully slow.

With moments ranging from the hilarious (e.g. young David reluctant to answer his parents doorbell because he was embarrassed about the home-made kingly regalia he was wearing at the time) to the moving (the long yearning for his eventual wife, Victoria Coren), this is a consistently entertaining read, proudly fixated on the trivial - his thoughts on weightier matters can be found elsewhere.

Anyone wishing to gain an insight into the peculiarly English combination of self-deprecation and egotism, awkwardness and loudness, emotional constipation and profound insight, could do much worse than start here.
3 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 23 November 2017
I loved every second of this book. Have always found Mitchell hysterically funny and reading this book was no different. While it’s obviously an autobiography, which by nature, is not necessarily funny, David Mitchell managed to make it so in his typically David Mitchell way. If you’ve any interest in the man, BUY THIS BOOK! You will not regret it.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 24 November 2013
I do enjoy an autobiography and this one is right up there with some of the best that I have read. I have been an admirer of David Mitchell for a long time and am probably one of the few people on the planet who was not surprised when he married someone beautiful who appears to be every bit as witty and intelligent as he is. I like a smart funny man and David Mitchell is exactly that, as anyone who has watched his hilarious rants on TV panel shows will know.
One of the most appealing things about this book is how strongly his own voice comes across; the mildly ranty way he explains to the reader in the introduction to the book that he is the David Mitchell off the telly and not the novelist is just like listening to him speak. We take a long slow walk through David's life (and his back pain) and even though parts of his early life are not so remarkable, there is still warmth and wit in the telling of his childhood escapades. He is only a few years younger than me so recollections regarding 70s and 80s television felt very familiar as did some of his social awkwardness.
David Mitchell writes a regular column for The Observer and has written for both radio and television so the fact that his autobiography is an accomplished piece of writing should not be a surprise. I thought the book was very well written, laugh-out-loud funny in many places and the chapter devoted to his gorgeous wife is very touching indeed.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 1 October 2015
To be honest, I was looking forward to reading this as my only knowledge of David is what I'd seen him do on panel shows and the peep show (which was great and hugely funny) but this book was a bit of a let down. It started well but somewhere in the middle it became slow going, name dropping and a little bit boring, maybe it's because David is a normal bloke and no major disasters have happened to him, so I ask was there really any need to write this book other than to pass on to family????
Sorry but this could have been so much better.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 23 December 2013
This is a good book. It's not really in depth enough to be called an autobiography, as it only really skirts over David Mitchell's life. There are brief chapters on his upbringing and his parents etc, the bones of what a traditional and proper biography usually have. For the most part the book is a 'how to' guide on breaking into television and having a successful comedy career on both TV and film, as well as revealing his comedy roots were planted at Footlights of Cambridge as so many others are.

This for me is not a bad thing, as I find Mitchell very funny in virtually anything I've ever seen and heard. So, while a let down as an autobiography the humour present more than makes up for this.

I haven't marked it as four star for this however. The missing star is due to the ebook version as what I downloaded as having errors when it came to the photographs at the back of the book. The best way to view these is to click backwards when reading having reached the end of the book as they do not display on normal reading.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 26 July 2017
... or even better as an audio book with David Mitchell narrating! Makes a commute a much more enjoyable couple of hours each day!
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 16 December 2012
This is a witty book, but it is an autobiography. He writes it in a wonderful style that's warming and amusing... my main question, and the reason for this review, is: Why there are so many low reviews essentially saying 'I like him in Mitchell and Webb / Peep Show, but this book isn't as funny'.

This is a very good memoir, but it is just that... Perhaps there should be a warning on the cover for people who are unaware of the differences between a book about person's life and the person's scripted/fictional role in comedy shows. Read without preconceived expectations of the kind of funny life he should have had and you'll enjoy this book. Read expecting to hear about his shenanigans with Jez in their London flat and you'll apparently be disappointed to realise that this is David Mitchell's book, not Mark Corrigan's.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 28 July 2013
I'm a fan of David Mitchell and I think his best work is on panel shows such as "Would I Lie To You" and guest appearances on "QI", which is the stuff he enjoys doing most (according to this book).

This book takes us on a walk through his locale (which he takes regularly to mend his bad back) and it's interspersed with a potted history of Mitchell's life from school days, through Cambridge Footlights to his success on television.

The book comes across as honest - he's a man who openly admits his flaws. That makes it an engaging read that I thoroughly enjoyed. There's humour too of course and he's an eloquent writer.

Recommended.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 26 May 2013
Loved this book. You see a lot of David Mitchell on the TV and I've always wondered if he would be the same in person so when I saw that the book came out I was intrigued. I also read that it was one of the recommended books of 2012, top ten books etc. so I ordered it. I wasn't disappointed, I was actually quite surprised though because it was more revealing than I had anticipated. It talks about his early years, his thoughts as a young boy, family relationships and some typically David style observations. Quite sweet actually. It then moves through his life, schooling and experiences whilst growing up, going to university etc. He also refers to he chronic bad back and demonstrates how his increasing walks round London helped to cure him. Anyway enough said or I'll give it away..I was especially interested in his experiences within Mitchell and Webb in terms of his friendship with Robert. I have just noticed that he has a paperbook out and he has released a couple of funny videos. He is also releasing a weekly episode through YouTube and social media which runs alongside some of the chapters of the book so I'm really looking forward to it, it will be quite a personal experience having a video diary as it were that I can follow with the book...definitely a good read, I like him much more now that I have seen his vulnerable side. Check out the new videos here http://youtu.be/zjs4Kc00Fr4 and the new paperback is out sold by amazon here David Mitchell: Back Story
|0Comment|Report abuse