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on 20 November 2013
I remembered reading this book during a train journey when still in my teens. I recalled it as the funniest book I had ever read with a laugh out loud on every page. I now re-read it in my mid- fifties... older than Reggie Perrin when he had his mid-life meltdown. How this book has aged, the characters and situations described feel as alien now as D H Lawrence did to me when I read him 40 years ago.

This is now a period piece, probably only of interest to those oldies who remember the TV series and those old enough to have left their mid- life crisiswell behind.
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on 23 September 2000
Is that what Reggie Perrin's cliche-speaking boss CJ would have said? Well, proably something along those lines. Here it is. David Nobbs' original Perrin book in large print which probably makes it handy for several of Reggie's 'other identities'. But, also of course, its good for the rest of us who wish to experince the bigger, better world of Reginald Perrin.
"When Reginald Iolathe Perrin set out for work, he had no intention of calling his mother-in-law a hippottamus". Well, he did a few days later. He also haplessly tried to seduce his secertary, invited his co-workers and friends round for dinner but didn't cook them anything and drunk himself silly at an important speech. It's official, Sushine Dessert's senoir executive is having a one-of-a-kind nervous breakdown....one with spectacularly hillarious results.
David Nobbs' brilliant book of course also wound up as the superb TV series of the same name, skifully adapted by the author himself. Both book and show, are two towering comedy classics.
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on 31 May 2017
My teenage self couldn't forgive how different the book is from the 70s TV show, but I just re-read my 1976 TV tie-in paperback and it turns out it's much better than I remember. It's not as laugh out loud funny as the Ronnie Barker cover quote suggests, but the writing is warm and under control, and it's a much more human story.

Fans of the TV show will recognise supporting characters, at least by name, and the book presents the seeds of the series's set pieces - the safari park visit, the dinner-less un-party, the dessert industry conference speech, the frustrated seduction of his secretary, and C.J.'s fishing weekend are all there. But TV purists be warned, there's a lot more plot and a lot fewer catch-phrases.

It's clear that the book existed before and apart from the TV adaptation. Both are time capsules of England in the mid 1970s, but the book is much more explicitly concerned with the failed expectations of the post-WW2 generation. It leans heavily on tricky comic ground for the modern reader, the now profoundly compromised permissive society, which re-colours the relationship with secretary Joan quite a bit. On the other hand, Reggie's character is more rounded with the insights into his experience during the war.

With the benefit of insulating hindsight you can see how much the cast of characters was overhauled for TV. The Reggie on the page isn't physically or verbally the character as re-created by Leonard Rossiter. Both versions are adrift in a mid life crisis, but in the book it's a slower descent much more solidly connected to doubts about his hurried war-time marriage, and the physical and material delights he feels he's missed out on.

The only false note for me on the re-read was the sudden break in the fourth wall when we're told a character "drove out of the book". Sadly, as I've since learned, this is probably evidence of an editor more in control. The sequel is littered with intrusions by the author's voice.

As an informative complement to the TV show, though, and maybe as a historical document in its own right, this is well worth a read.
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on 20 July 2015
What is it about?

I remember watching the tv programme as a child with my father, but never realised it was based on a book. So when I came across a copy I decided to give it try. The novel follows Reggie Perrin, a senior executive in Sunshine Deserts, a man who’s daily routine becomes so monotonous that it edges him further and further into a mid life crisis. Reggie’s behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and we follow his descent into a near complete nervous breakdown. Struggling to hold onto his youth and unhappy with a seemingly bleak future he decides to dramatically change things.....

What did I like?

The tv series mirrors the book almost exact, but there were more than a few surprises with a number of the ‘riskier’ elements being left out (these will be more than apparent). Unusually for me I actually found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions. The book is extremely well written with individuals that we can relate to in our own lives and work places. We get to know Reggie so well that whether we like it or not there are certain aspects of his character that we begin to recognise in ourselves, and that just adds to the humour.

What didn’t I like?

My only criticism, and the reason for not getting 5 stars, was that at times the plot just became slightly repetitive and the situations a little unrealistic. I won’t go into that any further as it would spoil various plot lines, but now and again I found myself thinking ‘Would he really get away with that?’

Would I recommend?

I very rarely venture in to the comedy aisle in a bookshop, and to be honest usually steer clear of the genre, but this is one of those occasions when I am glad I tried something different. So would I recommend it? Definitely. So much so that I have just ordered the next book in the series, ‘The Return of Reginald Perrin’.
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on 18 March 2014
Lovely book that I couldn't put down until I'd finished! I was born in '77 and missed the whole Reggie Perrin thing on telly. My husband used to go on about the mother-in-law hippo thing....I didn't have a clue what he was on about so I looked at it on YouTube. After 2 mins I was sold and came on here to look for it on DVD. When I saw there was a book selling for pennies I decided to buy it and I'm glad I did. It's such a nice story and I loved it. I've since read it twice more and it still makes me smile. Thank you to the seller for such prompt delivery at a great price too.
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on 18 February 2017
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is the story of a regular man called Reginald Iolanthe Perrin who is bored of his monotonous existence as a sales execute at Sunshine Desserts. He begins to have a breakdown with hilarious results. I had only watched the series before and I have to say the book has even darker humour than expected. It is a fantastic read for those who are fans of David Nobbs or who saw the series but haven't read the book before.
I would definitely recommend buying the book if you want to have a good laugh.
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on 11 November 2014
An enjoyable read, and it revived memories of the TV series of the same name. It has survived the passage of the years fairly well. But then, I imagine that Corporate inanities, fractured relationships, bizarre behaviour, family tiffs, disillusionment, middle-aged angst and, finally, entrapment and despair are themes as old as the human race. Shift the action back to a hapless middle ranking official with a dysfunctional family in Pompeii in 79AD and I think it would all seem entirely plausible.
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on 23 September 2015
Loved, the original t.v. series when I was young so was intrigued as to what the book would be like. Loved it, especially getting the thoughts of other protagonists.
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on 27 October 2013
Most people know the TV series but the book is much more delicious than its sunshine deserts. Has you laughing out loud.
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on 30 August 2015
Brilliant, couldn't put it down funny, yet oddly relevant to the consumer society driven world we still inhabit!
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