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Unreliable Memoirs Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1900


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Picador (1900)
  • ASIN: B003BX8WQ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This would have to be the best offering from Clive James that I have read. His acerbic wit makes for great reading. I found this text on a bookshelf in a beach holiday house and was immediately captivated. I lost count of the amount of times that I not only laughed out loud, I snorted with appreciation and had to wipe tears from my eyes (much to the consternation of those around me) He captures the innocence of childhood with fleeting glimpses of maturity like no one has before, proving that he is not just a television presenter but a Rhodes Scholar to boot. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would. It would be a shame to tell you more because this is a book that just has to be read to be believed!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Bently on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Unreliable Memoirs" is Clive James' description of his upbringing in a Sydney suburb lasting up to the time of his university education. I was expecting it to be funny but wasn't quite prepared for the raw emotion and literary skill displayed on virtually every page.

To me this is the most impressive of James' autobiographical writing. He has a gift for describing childhood and a kind of relentless honesty which is hilarious and provides something of a turbulent rollercoaster ride for the reader, as he describes the trauma of being a single child to a single parent in the aftermath of the Second World War.

I felt a little left behind by many of the historical and literary references James makes but this is more than made up for by the relish with which he uses the English language. For example, he describes a friend's mother giving him buttered bread covered with hundreds and thousands as like "eating a slice of powdered rainbow".

"Unreliable Memoirs" made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end - I wish I had read it years ago.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gareth on February 7, 2000
I am only 13 but i could appreciate every bit in sheer briliance of a book. I could not put it down it was so funny. I strongly recommend this book, carefull through if you read it in public be prepared to laugh out loud and humilate your self.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D Campion on January 13, 2000
The imagery used in this story is the best I have read.
I could not put the book down and embarrassed myself by laughing out loud on the London Underground!
As a female with no brothers this book was an amusing insight into what goes on in (not so) little boys' minds.
Definately a must read book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 1999
Clive James fans will not be disappointed.
James writes as he speaks. He is quick witted, self-effacing, and sees the humour in the common incidents of life. Memories of the dunny collector, the kids down the street, and of his odd-shaped adolescent skull - all told with self-reflection, and always with a "glass half full" rather than "glass half empty" attitude. James seems to view his young life as a product of fortuitous circumstances, and he gives himself very little credit for the path he has taken. I found that quite unexpected, and pleasantly honest.
One small criticism. Occassionally James uses eloquent language, much of which will pass over the heads of anyone other than an ancient history and literature buff. But it doesn't detract from the quality of book. Instead it makes it even more obvious how intelligent and admirably self-educated this man is.
Highly enjoyable. I'm looking forward to starting on the second of the three volumes of his life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a reader on May 23, 2007
What can I possibly add to what has been said by the other reviewers? This book is short in length and long in content. *EVERYBODY* whom I know and who has read the book has claimed to have laughed out loud while reading it in a public place. That's 5 people, myself included. Years after reading it, I still recall with great amusement the stories about James' alter ego, the Flash of Lightning. And although this is a book about James, it also is a subtle homage to his mother, or at least it read that way to me. Such is James' command of language, he can turn his experiences into everyone's experiences, even if you haven't lived through similar situations. A wonderful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Once again Clive James proves that he is a master of sarcastic humour in his extremely entertaining autobiographical account of his childhood in Australia. Starting with his life as an energetic and imaginative boy, with vivid descriptions of his experiences and adventures, James manages to evoke a picture of a lost era in the mind of the reader. Progressing through the turbulent adolescent years, his time at university and the beginning of his journey to well deserved fame, James gives an insight into the path which led to his popularity as a writer and entertainer. As likely to appeal to a mature twelve year old as it will to an immature octogenarian, prepare to find yourself chuckling uncontrollably as the pages unfold to reveal the unique mind of Clive James.
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By Dark Entity on April 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read this book a number of times over the years. This is probably my third copy of it having lost the others when loaning it to people. Its a good book, funny and well written. It loses its way towards the end and the best material is in the first two thirds, but overall its well worth reading.
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