David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.
As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:
©2012 David Mitchell (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
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"A Total Joy"
Sometimes, just sometimes, you scan the 'New Releases' section on Audible and you see something pop up that you immediately know that you are going to buy, that you are going to love and that you are going to bang on about to your friends.... immediately!
This has happened only twice to me - once with the Alan Partridge autobiography, and again with this title. Both are unabridged readings of an original work that you want to read,, read by the only person that you would allow or trust to read the material out loud to you.
If you like David Mitchell and his style of verbose wit and dry humour, which often manages to be both down to earth and surrealistic at the same time, then you will love this, not least for the fact that he delivers it like he does all of his material - in a natural and fluid monologue.
My only criticism is that you must be fully awake to appreciate it all, because his delivery is so fast and rich, that you will miss a lot if you are either tired or not paying enough attention, but this is the listener's issue really - not David's.
I won't spoil any of the fun by discussing the content because that's why you will buy this book, but I will say that you might want to be careful listening to it on public transport, unless you have no qualms about sounding like and looking like a gibbering idiot to people who happen to either be looking your way or within earshot of you.
I was on a packed commuter train to Leeds when David started talking to me about the vagaries and consistencies of Agatha Christie's characters; Poirot and Hastings, and I had to stop because I was starting to shudder and cry. When he gets your funny bone, he REALLY gets your funny bone.
Personally, I do not care how revealing or non-revealing David Mitchell is about his personal life, I just love listening to him talk and rant, because he is better at it than I am, and I tend to agree with 99% of what he says.
Guilty pleasures? (listen to the book and you will find out.)
One of my favourite audiobooks so far. The book has a nice balance - part biography, part comic asides, structured around a wander around London. It's perhaps a little shy in places, and I suspect there are some warts left uncovered, but fair enough. DM is refreshingly candid about his desire for success and his pleasure in enjoying it, and if I ever met him it would be nice to clap him on the back and say "well done you". Except he would find that mortifying, and I would be mortified at having mortified him, and he would feel bad about my feeling bad, etc.
Anyway, the bit about why we should be grateful we don't live in a meritocracy nearly resulted in spittle on the windscreen.
Mitchell is an incredibly witty man, his misery cheers me up. His book is narrated by himself and is very well read.
"I loved this!!"
I have never seen Peep Show, but have enjoyed David Mitchell's dry wit on lots of panel shows. I was so glad that he was reading this as you cannot imagine anyone else. I listen in the car and he cheered me on my journeys. Also his paean of love to Victoria Coren was so touching. They seem to be a perfect match. Thank you David.
"This Man Has Issues!"
Yes he has issues, but frankly who doesn't! This is a very witty, incisive and elegantly written account / rant of events and related thoughts from childhood through to his professional success. It gets 5 stars on the basis of the excellence of the recounting, including amusing tangental perspectives of the more mundane aspects. Very good!
"Honest and Heartfelt"
Extremely well read by a man of more depth than his public persona permits you to see, a absolute joy to listen to.
Engaging from start to finish, the final chapter was especially moving in his comments about 'Victoria' - now what I expected, an altogether funny, moving and insightful audiobook.
"A funny and honest listen."
This is another example I think where listening to an audiobook being read, particularly by the author, is far superior than reading it from a book.
David Mitchell is both very funny and very self-efacing. Not a hint of smugness that some may have expected. He is certainly not complacement and is very quick to say how lucky he is to be where he is.
However it is the chapter on his now wife Victoria that is particularly poignant. He is so much in love and it is very nice to hear how two very well-suited people got together.
Oh, and have a streetmap of London handy if you can.
Another great listen from a funny man.
"superb read / listen"
an insight into the world of a comedy genius and his odd goings on. He's not so different to you and me, apparently
"Insightful and enjoyable"
I loved this book. I'm about the same age as Mitchell and share a lot of his quirks and neuroses, and it was great to hear someone I already admired be as open and honest about his life. The anxiety he feels at the appearance of new email, the relief when it's spam, and his feeling that parties are a largely horrific and hostile environment. Even if you can't identify with these feelings, he portrays them in a funny and straightforward way.
Mitchell had, by the sound of it, a really nice childhood, and it was nice to hear him talk about it in honest and fond terms, without obviously trying to turn it into something it wasn't.
I already liked and admired David Mitchell before reading Back Story, and having done so, I'm confident I was right to. This is a really good book.
"Good, but a bit of a downer"
I, like most people looking at this review, have enjoyed seeing David Mitchell on TV and always found him funny. This book has funny moments in it, but Mitchell is so self deprecating that to me the audiobook felt sad in places. I was looking for something that made my laugh on the train, and instead IT had me reflecting on loneliness and self-loathing.
Still a good book, but not something to have you in creases
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