Omid Djalili's fascinating story begins with an unconventional childhood spent at his family's London guesthouse for visiting Iranians. At school he is kept busy with the beginnings of a passionate love affair with football but he hopes one day to live a more intellectually fulfilled life. For one wonderful summer in California it seems that maybe he will find his spiritual home at UCLA. Sadly his exam results don't quite hit the mark (it's difficult to study astrophysics at one of the world's top universities without O-level maths) and so, ever hopeful, Omid returns home to spend the next three years sitting his A-levels again, and again, and again.
Eventually, in a moment of madness, he concludes that the best way to achieve the desired A-level results is to 'improve' his certificates. Travelling to the university of Ulster he finds true connection and relaxing solitude despite the backdrop of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles and nearly being killed by paramilitaries. Here he decides that a life in show business is the only secure option he has left, and what follows is a hilarious and captivating insight into the life of a young performer who embraces his cultural identity, works harder than anyone else, and doesn't give up until he has hung out with Brad Pitt in Morocco, injured himself severely while showing off in front of Kate Winslet, and shared an 'intimate moment' with Oliver Reed in Gladiator.
Full of the warmth and intelligence that makes Omid such a successful comedian and sought-after actor, this memoir takes us on a joyously vivid journey through an unusually British life.
This book exceeded my expectations. I purchased it thinking it might be a light comedy about his life an a second-generation Persian immigrant, however i got much more.
Would you listen to Hopeful again? Why?
Yes, most certainly. Omid Djalili spins a tale like no other. Down to Earth, an hint of crazy, lots of humor and of course, honesty. One listening will not be enough.
The choice of Omid doing the narration is a true gem of a decision. I have admired this man's humor for many years and no one but him could do himself justice. You can picture Omid in the Studio having fun narrating this book.
Have you listened to any of Omid Djalili’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have his other two books and enjoy them immensely.
Any additional comments?
I have to say, in today's age there are jokes that would be considered wrong if said by any other person but Omid somehow gets away with it and makes us laugh doing it.
I find Omid a great comedian, I adore everything he does. He is able to, in this day of (as I see it) too much political correctness say what he does in a manner we just love, yet potentially said by others could be seen as racist, derogatory and offensive. Somehow Omid gets away with it - to our enjoyment. An honest comedian.
Well done Omid a fine book, a fine narration. And made a few travels on Public Transportation a lot more fun for me.
Really enjoyed this audiobook. An interesting character. And nice he was telling his own story.
From beginning to the end I was captivated by this very funny, interesting and just a bloody nice bloke!
Read with integrity, humour and pace it was an enjoyable listen. The story though felt like it jumped around too much.
I am also British-Iranian (English mother & Persian father). So Omid's autobiography has some relevance. His performance reading this book is very good and amusing, who could have done it better ? I have also seen him live at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith; he was very funny. My only criticism is that he could have written more about his comedy act and career. Recommended.
Would you consider the audio edition of Hopeful to be better than the print version?
Yes, Omid's character and wonderful delivery only add to the written text.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Undergraduate Omid was my favourite character because he was young and naive, and totally fearless of the ludicrous situations that he got himself into.
What does Omid Djalili bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
There were too many moments that moved me to list them all, but what has remained with me having long finished reading the book is his account of his family's Baha'i faith and the related cost for them.
This autobiography is disarming in its author's unflinching gaze on his past.
It literally made me laugh out loud in public (making people stare and think I'm a nutter) and even provoked tears at points despite that not being my habit.
Deeply moving in passages but never over sentimental, Omid is a romantic but not self indulgent.
This is perhaps the first audio book I have come across that I wouldn't want to read-his narration is brilliant.
All that said there is one word that must predominate and seems apt to end on; funny.
A sadly boring collection of childhood anecdotes. I wish I'd used my credit more wisely.
Not what I expected. It was a good read. Omid has had an interesting life so far.
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
Um ... nope, sorry, can't think of anyone.
What was most disappointing about Omid Djalili’s story?
That there was, in fact, very little "story". It was a surprisingly dull narrative which surprised me because his public image suggest someone full of banter. He's basically a blagger (who cheats his way into university) and probably blagged his way into a publisher's office and convinced them he could write. I would really like to get my "credit" back for this one but I kept going with it (hoping it would improve)- and didn't think it was fair to ask for a refund.
How could the performance have been better?
If the substance of the book had been more interesting.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Any additional comments?
As a performer, I like him. As a writer, not so much.
6 of 12 people found this review helpful