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A Nice Approach, but Not a Towering Success
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.