on 9 October 2011
This is an easy enough read. I finished it, which says somthing. However it all felt a bit rushed. If I wanted a history of his career I would have just looked it up on wiki. People read bio's to find out about the person. Throughout the book it felt there was a bit of a 'oh god I've agreed to write this but I'm a bit rushed for time so can't think about it too much but my deadline is next week so I'd better write this fast" and also...genuine enough but....I lost count of who was 'the most amazing' 'most wonderful' 'just brilliant' 'best actor/writer/person/genius' 'kindest nicest person' in the world. It really could have been a more reflective book but he just didnt spent enough time on it. And seriously, please don't sell out and release another book in a couple of years about life as a father - or if you do, spent more time on writing it. I just felt the book was playing up to that lead and it finished with almost a 'to be continued.....' line.
on 14 May 2013
I came across this autobiography in my local library when I was wondering around pushing my four week old baby. I'm quite a fan of autobiographies and decided to borrow the book. At home, I left it next to the chair where I do my baby's night feeds. It wasn't long before night feeds became desirable! I found the book enjoyable to read and easy to dip in and out of. James describes his life in a manner that is both humorous and poignant. My husband asked me why I wasn't laughing out loud one day as I was reading a book written by a comedian. I explained that James is not a comedian...he is an actor (something I would not have understood myself a couple of weeks ago)! I found it really interesting to learn about James' past acting experiences and was pleasantly surprised to discover that he did not use the autobiography to name and shame or embarrass others. He just tells his story and comes across as very genuine and extremely honest. I respect the journey he has been on so far and I look forward to seeing him on the television, on the big screen and in theatres in the future. I would definitely recommend this as a great read, even if, like me, you haven't yet watched 'Gavin and Stacey'.
on 21 February 2015
There are several reasons I was pre-disposed and, indeed, determined not to like James Corden's autobiography "May I Have Your Attention, Please?" For one thing, I'm not a fan of young people (and Corden is only six weeks older than my younger brother) writing their autobiographies. After all, how can you sum up a life that's barely half done? It smacks to me of opportunism and a chance to cash in on fleeting fame as well as double the money when a later autobiography can also be released to fill in the rest of their life and career.
There's also the fact that I'm not a huge fan of James Corden. Admittedly, he was in "The History Boys", which is a film I always enjoy, but I managed to miss "Gavin & Stacey", the show that made him most famous, almost entirely. I've also been less than impressed with his hosting duties on Sky's "A League of Their Own", where he comes across as a bit of a lad and a show off, which doesn't endear him to me. But a colleague had a copy of the book on his desk just at a point where I'd run out of reading material, so I bit the bullet and gave it a go.
Corden takes us through his life in mostly chronological order, from his slightly disruptive behaviour in school, as he discovered that all he really wanted to do was be the centre of attention. He talks honestly, if slightly guardedly at points, about his relationships with family and friends and about how his fame went to his head and caused him to do things he's not proud of. Whilst there is a major focus on the writing and starring in "Gavin & Stacey", as seems natural, he also talks a lot about starring in and touring with "The History Boys". Many of his other projects are also mentioned, but they tend to be glossed over a little more, with stories being told about them, but with less depth than the aforementioned projects.
Corden's narrative style surprised me here. Whilst he does admit and does recount being a show off from a very young age, he doesn't really dwell on that part of things. Instead, he is surprisingly humble when it comes to recounting many of the people he's worked with and is able to count his blessings more than I expected. This attitude, combined with his fairly chatty writing style, makes this a very comfortable and quite welcoming read. He doesn't get bogged down in too much detail of who did what to whom and that means the pages go past rather quicker than I was expecting and there is often more emotion on display than I anticipated.
Although Corden tends to dwell on his successes, which is typical of an autobiography, he is also honest about his failings. He is aware, perhaps only in hindsight, but aware nonetheless, of the chances he had been given which he wasted. Whilst he's not making things right here, he apportions blame mostly upon himself and does take the chance to apologise to various people he may have wronged and expresses his regrets over the way he acted. This honesty made Corden feel more real to me rather than just some generic famous person, as many autobiographies can do.
I think that it may have helped that large parts of the book were written just as his first child had been born. This seems to have given Corden a new perspective on life and made him view some of his actions a lot differently than he may have done otherwise. It is disappointing that, with this new approach to his life, that the book doesn't go any further to watch him grow with his son, but it does make this book more accessible and less self-centred than it may otherwise have been.
If there is one disappointment here, it will come for those who read celebrity autobiographies to see them dish the dirt and delve deep into their personal lives. Corden focuses much more on his professional career than his personal life, with the exception of his childhood. He does mention a difficult relationship he had with actress Sheridan Smith, but doesn't say anything more than that and doesn't dish any dirt about that relationship, which will leave a gaping hole for those looking solely for gossip and the airing of dirty laundry. He is also quite reticent about his relationship with his long-term girlfriend when he was younger and with his current partner, talking about how they came to meet, but little about their lives together. In this respect, he is far more gentlemanly than I gave him credit for before I read the book.
Not being someone who reads autobiographies for the sensationalism, I loved this book. It is not only very readable, but it has changed my opinion of Corden significantly. I would still have preferred it not to have been released quite so early in his life, but he has packed a lot into his years and finding out about all of his proved highly enjoyable. This proved to be an unexpected gem and was certainly worthy of the attention I gave it.
This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
on 15 October 2011
So, being a fan of some of James's TV shows, The History Boys, One Man Two Guv'nors, and seeing the very low price for the Kindle edition, I bought this with no hesitation. I wish I hadn't bothered and I should have realised that there must be a reason why the book is being so heavily discounted - this is exactly the type of celebrity autobiography that gives books like this a bad name these days.
I agree with those who've said there's alot of dull anecdotes here, something I'm surprised about as I'm a huge fan of Gavin and Stacey, which James co-wrote, of course. As if that wasn't bad enough, many of the anecdotes are clearly padded out to fill space and my goodness I was almost losing the will to live several times reading some parts here, such as when he was in a nativity play, then when he starts a band at school, and how he got into rugby there. It gets a bit better once his career gets going, though. There's a funny story involving Steve Coogan at a strip club, his thoughts on Beaconsfield commuters are amusing and perceptive, and the inspiration behind Gavin and Stacey is interesting, but that's it. His writing style is bland and flat, which doesn't help and there's a huge lack of insight into the people around him. No-one really comes alive here and I found this disappointing considering the time he spent with the other History Boys actors as well as the Gavin and Stacey cast and crew. This book confirms to me how narcissistic and self-absorbed the guy can be, though he's certainly eager to come across as humble as possible, as if he's cynically using the opportunity to help rebuild his public reputation. He skirts over the Patrick Stewart row and doesn't even mention when he swore at a Guardian TV critic at an awards ceremony. I also sensed the book was done at a rapid rate to meet the deadline, though he says he went 5,000 words over. But the book is 352 pages which is average for a memoir and then there's the obvious padding out at the beginning so I'm not sure I believe that.
Why is there a picture of his girlfriend cutting into a steak?! Who cares?
I read that James reportedly signed a seven figure sum for this book and I suppose I don't blame him for doing it, especially because as he says at the end he's got a family to support, but still, I feel like I'm being a little generous giving this two stars as it's more one and a half star standard, really. I feel sorry that I wasted my time reading this drivel.
on 11 January 2012
I didn't really like the persona of James Corden but some friends met him and thought he was wonderful. So thought I would give the book a go and see what he was about. I thought that it was very readable and it had me laughing out loud a couple of times. I think that he knows that he has been really lucky with his breaks - however this did go to his head for a while which he admits - but he has worked hard to achieve his success. I think that he also needs to realise that we are constantly on a journey of self discovery, so he hasn't learnt it all yet - his constant references to him being over 30 now and has learnt from his mistakes were a bit annoying, as were the "best actor/writer/genius" of everybody he has met - with the exception of the Hollyoaks team. Although even that was couched in very diplomatic language. Saying that, he has been honest about himself and his personality does come through in the book. He definitely needed a kick up the arse when he was younger but I suppose he wouldn't be where he is now if he had been given one. I enjoyed the book and think that he has packed alot in, in his 30 odd years. So I wish him every success in fatherhood and the future and hope that he is able to further his acting and writing. I would recommend this book as an easy read which is enjoyable and amusing.