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Customer Review

on 12 February 2013
At points in this autobiography of a reality TV star from a well-to-do background who gets breaks on day-time TV and moves on to "extreme adventure" telly, Ben Fogle refers to himself in the third person - as though regarding himself from afar. "The transformation of Ben Fogle had reached another stage and I was ready for a new challenge..."

At other times he refers to a lack of self-confidence stemming from his time at a boarding school - a recurring theme. "I had placed another bung in my leaky childhood complexes... I had proved I was more than just a posh daytime presenter from a reality show."

He moans a bit about being mistaken for the pop singer Chesney Hawkes and Prince William (with whom he one time travels in Africa... and is subsequently invited to the royal wedding).

On one occasion, he admires his own "good chin", which he believes he shares with his friend James Cracknell, the Olympic rower.

He lives in Notting Hill and fancies himself - perhaps - as a "great explorer", even though almost every adventure has been for television, with cameras in tow and few real risks taken.

Fogle's life seems to me to consist of one (admittedly extreme) charity challenge-style adventure after another - rowing across the Atlanic, reaching the South Pole, taking part in extreme marathons. I found the most interesting parts of the book to be his early years on a gap year in South America when he finds himself in various close scrapes with the law, climbing dangerous peaks unprepared, and on dangerously dodgy planes. There is also an interesting later section on Noma, a disfiguring disease affecting people in Ethiopia.

But behind it all there is the feeling of Fogle 'building a career' and enjoying himself as 'celebrity status' kicks in. One senses his ambition and can clearly see that he feels lucky to have been presented with so many opportunities. But there is no grit of a Bradley Wiggins here... or common touch either.
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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