I bought Jo Brand's previous book and found it very hilarious, in my view this one got off to a slow start as it simply describes her career and how it starts although its still interesting. I liked the second half of it better as it meanders through what Jo likes and I found this easier to identify with. I love Jo brand's depreciating style, her desire to protect her children and her sense of humour. Very good.
I already own "Look Back in Hunger" which was written in a lighthearted way regarding her background, career and life experiences. I expected this book to be more in a similar vein. Not so. Endless pages of which comedy venues she likes / dislikes and why, and similar uninteresting "facts." Found it mind numbingly yawn making and nothing like the former book. Big disappointment.
I'm think Jo Brand is funny and clever but I found this book a terrible disappointment. Having enjoyed Look Back in Hunger I was really looking forward to the next volume of her autobiography but I couldn't believe how dull it was. The few interesting bits were buried in a mass of padding and I felt that it should have been a shorter and therefore livelier book. Sorry Jo, but you've waffled on... and on... to the point of tedium.
This was recommended by a friend who has a great sense of humour. He told me he couldn't put the book down and that it was very funny. There is of course no reason why a comic should be able to write as funnily as s/he speaks or tells a joke, but I read about 30 or 40 pages of this and gave up. I'd rather chew aspirin. Perhaps I had been spoiled by reading Paul O'Grady's autobiographies starting with "At My Mother's Knee", mind you though P.O'G is almost twice my age there was so much in his books relating to family life, school and housing that I could relate to I couldn't help but laugh. Can't Stand up left me cold. I couldn't have been less interested, though I did feel milling sorry for Jo reading her account of her first live gig.
I love Jo Brand - comedian, writer, mum, actor, former psychiatric nurse - the woman's a legend! I am a huge fan of her comedy and it's this area that I'm really interested in. This books goes into loads of detail about how Jo started out in stand up and what she had to go through in order to become the success that she is today. Some of her early bookings sound like they were torture (I had no idea hecklers could be so horrible!) and it was interesting to hear how nervous she was when she first started - something that I don't think comes across in her performances at all. Really fascinating stuff, sprinkled with quite a lot of naughty stories, this is vintage Jo Brand.
I must admit to being slightly less than impressed by Ms Brand's first autobiography but as I'm a huge fan of her self-deprecating wit so I thought I'd give her books another go and I'm glad I did. I'm pleased to report that this book is a hotch potch of comedy reminisces which are very interesting to read if you're a comedy buff. I liked the summary of good and bad comedy venues plus the background gossip concerning various regional towns and the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. She also mentions her personal life which I'm aware that she's keen to keep under wraps, which is understandable given her public profile. The section on various panel shows is enlightening, I kind of guessed but certain shows are much worse for a female comedian to appear on.
My only slight beef with this book is the copious mention of Ms Brand's political leanings. It gets a bit tiresome after a while even if you have the same beliefs.
I like(d) Jo Brand but this book is clearly a rushed out, contrived, cash-in. It's mostly a boring list of venues, people she likes and so on without any real substance. Excerpts from her diary notes lack any facet of anecdote. I only scanned the final couple of chapters because it was so tedious. A lot of her justifications for what she does/doesn't do are very simplistic. Ok, that's how she is and she's probably trying to be honest, but I felt it largely came across as shallow. For instance, I don't understand why she chooses to turn down offers of advert work. Yes, some may see it as selling out, but surely, given the high rewards, just think of what good you could do with that money. 200k for a day's work is not unusual in celebrity endorsements. How many homeless could you help with that sort of money? Sorry if this is ranting but this book gets my back up.
I read this over the weekend after having read Jo's first book Look Back In Hunger which I bought in paperback and I SO enjoyed. This hardback looks lovely with some great pictures. I love this book, Jo is so warm and funny and generous, it's like meeting your best friend. In this one she writes about her career as a comic from when she first started on TV on Friday Night Live right up to now including all her touring, and stand up work, television radio, Edinburgh gigs, Getting On, Trinny and Susannah, running the London Marathon, rally driving. Her Ode to the Menopause made me laugh out loud, rather embarrassingly. It's full of amazing anecdotes and insights and she's very open about her family and getting married, friends. I love the story where her daughter asks her 'Are you Jo Brand?' Priceless. If you want some sunshine and laughter in your life then read this book.