Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #52: Only When I Laugh by Paul Merton

Number of pages: 344

Paul Merton is a comedian well known over here in Britain for appearing on the comedy quiz show, "Have I Got News for You".

His autobiography is well written, and he mostly comes across the same way that he does on TV, telling of his childhood and his lucky break followed by his rise to stardom.

I found it to be a gripping read, and I loved how he developed his surreal sense of humour very early on, writing very tall stories about what he did in his school holidays and then getting into trouble when it rubbed off on other kids. The depiction of the strict Catholic school I attended was very striking.

However, the best bit was probably his account of spending time in a psychiatric hospital following a breakdown; like many TV personalities, you sense that he has a slightly troubled background, and the brutal honesty about how he coped came across very well, as did the stories of his previous marriages, one of which ended when his wife passed away.

Overall, I loved this book and thought it was one of the best autobiographies I've read.

Next book: Where's the Doctor? (Jamie Smart)
Tags: autobiography, grief, humor, memoir, mental health, misery memoir, non-fiction

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