Alexei knew he was doomed to be different the day he was taken to see Sergei Eisentein's Alexander Nevsky instead of Walt Disney's Bambi. Born on the day that egg rationing came to an end, Alexei grew up with his parents and the Soviet Weekly. Each year they holidayed in Eastern Europe, where they were shown round locomotive factories and the sites of Nazi atrocities.
Very funny and (almost) stranger than Alexei's fiction, this is a memoir about how Liverpool, Communism, and a mother that his teachers were frightened of, made him want to leave home and make people laugh.
©2010 Alexei Sayle (P)2010 Hodder & Stoughton
He ticks all the boxes: Vivid memory, healthy disregard for convention paired with acute attention to detail, not to forget having a good laugh at oneself. In this instance, having the author read it himself is a great advantage. Recommended.
His story mainly deals with his very young and early life growing up with his communist parents and his holidays in eastern europe. I was hoping that he would talk about his later life on tv etc but perhaps that will come in a later book. Notwithstanding that I enjoyed the book, his narration and his very very unusual young lfe.
This is really funny. I was born about the same time as Alexei, and know what was going on at the time. So it really is an extraordinary story, full of humour. I highly recommend this book
Alexei Sayle delivers a very accessible autobiography of his early life up to the age of 17. Using a very punchy writing style that doesn't dawdle or drag out stories, but rather packs in a series of coherent anecdotes that sometimes leave you wanting to know more, but certainly not getting lost in unnecessary detail and self indulgence. He is dry, honest, and self-effacing in his observations about himself. As such, I felt the book was packed full of pathos, and was often sad and touching. That said, I have rarely laughed out loud so much on the two long train journeys over which I listened to his captivating naration. Although he is at times quite ascorbic in his observations of his nearest and dearest, he is never cruel or bitter, except perhaps in the admissions of his own failings.
Full of the stuff that an ordinary flawed life is full of, and giving some account of how he would become such a unique anti-hero of the modern entertainment world. A wry and guilty pleasure. Not something I would normally listen to. So glad I did.
"Brilliantly funny memoir"
Alexei Sayle has always been a funny man and his presentation of this book is no exception. I suspect I would find the written version just as funny, but having the book read by the man who lived it seems to add something in this case. A very interesting life he has led.
Alexei obviously because it would be pointless to buy an autobiographical book about someone you are not interested in.
Brilliantly funny if you like Alexei Sayle...if not then go away and stop wasting your life looking up stuff you don't like online.
Great stories from an unconventional childhood. Lovely writing, amazing characters, great narration. Had me in stitches on several occasions, looking forward to the next instalment.
"Excellent comic tale of a unique upbringing"
Great book that is wonderfully read by Alexei himself, from start to finish you are in tears of laughter while hanging on his work to hear what happens next,you don't have to be a fan of Mr Sayle's stand up or TV work (or even his odd hit single) to enjoy the beautiful tale of growing up in Liverpool with looney left parents.
Most biographies of comedians are not as funny as the comics material, this is the exception, it's funnier.
"A Real Treat."
If you are familiar with Alexei Sayles work as a ground-breaking comedian, being both original and exceptionally honed in his craft, and thought to yourself, how did he get like that? Well, this book explains it all (ish).
The book is touching and endearingly well written and with Alexei reading it, it is probably the best way of experiencing the story. Did I mention that it is also extremely funny too. Alexei Sayle comes across as a really nice man from a wonderfully loving and interesting family.
Enjoy, I certainly did.
What an interesting read/listen! Alexi sure had an elaborate childhood that shaped his comic genius. Very easy to listen to.
"Had to be audio."
Yes because it is in turn, funny, touching and informative.
I expected to be amused but I was thrilled to find the book to be much more than that. It is an excellent picture of a very specific time in a very specific circle. I was rapt.
Having the book narrated by the author in his deadpan scouse tones was the perfect way to consume it.
Most of the depictions of mum and the isolation experienced by Sayle at various points.
This kind of book is almost made for audio because the narration adds so much to the experience.
Alexei has so much depth and thought about a childhood of living with a left wing family. Very well told story of life up north.
Alexei and his mum.
Life up north in the 60's.
Well worth a listen.
"Brilliant and eye opening"
The first 3/4 of the book was excellent and enjoyable in its pace, description of The Party, his amazing holidays and Liverpool. Alexei reads his book fantastically and I cannot believe his early life, it's so incrediblel. Unfortunately it slows, gets bogged down and gets stuck for an ending.
Nope, first one.
Excitable, multilayered, odd
Yes. I want to know what came next.
"Mad as a box of frogs"
Bonkers, Individual, Honest.
His mother, Molly.
If you are looking to find out why Alexei turned out to be the individual that he is then this book explains his formative years. It is not a consistently funny book but one that will make you laugh regularly at the absurdity of his upbringing. It also provides an insight into the life of a political agitator, through both of his parents and himself. It is excruciatingly honest when dealing with his feelings. I came away feeling that i could finally understand, on some level, a previously baffling person.
My only complaints are:
1. It ends when he leaves school and further education (so around 16-17). I would like to see another book that continues his life story.
2. His narration style means that he often ends a sentence in a lowering tone and volume, which made it difficult to listen to in a noisy environment (I work in a factory).
Other than that i recommend this book as a funny and honest insight into a very complicated and intelligent person.
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