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David Mitchell: Back Story Paperback – May 23, 2013
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
`One of the best celebrity memoirs of last year...his outsider geek personality translates just as well on the page as it does on TV.' Metro `It livened up about half way through with the appearance of me. But enough of David's life. The book is wonderful from beginning to end.' Robert Webb 'David Mitchell is an extremely funny man on screen, in person, in print and very probably underwater.' Sam Bain, co-writer of Peep Show `He can write' Evening Standard `Fluent, discursive, intelligent.' Evening Standard `If you like Mitchell on television, you will like him in this book.' Shortlist
About the Author
David Mitchell is a comedian, actor and writer. He stars in Peep Show, writes for the Observer, co-hosts 10 O'Clock Live, has appeared in every TV or radio panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Quote Unquote and A League Of Their Own and has been in two films neither of which made a profit. He is married, childless and the polysyllabic member of the double-act 'Mitchell and Webb'. Soon he will do more.
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I should've known David wouldn't disappoint!
The book is funny, as I'd hoped, but it's more than that. It's an inside look at the years of hard work and running in circles that go into an ultimately successful career in show business. It's a free admission that, although he worked hard, he also had turns of incredible good luck, and he has the good sense to see them for what they are and be grateful. And it's proof positive that renown doesn't have to make people into narcissists or egomaniacs. He makes no apologies for his good fortune, but he also never fails to mention that it is just that - good fortune; he's lucky and he's thankful, which is a refreshing change from so many celebrities who choose to be "entitled and prone to whining".
There are heartwarming accounts of his various friendships with fellow heavy-hitters of the British comedy scene (including but not limited to Robert Webb), and his description of his relationship with now-wife Victoria Coren was so sweet and sincere that it made me tear up. Repeatedly.
Ultimately, Mitchell comes across as funny and intelligent, which we already knew, but also down-to-Earth, self-aware, warm and vulnerable. I found myself highlighting words of wisdom and hilarious anecdotes right and left. If you're interested in British comedy, the creative process, the real story of what it takes to be a success, or you just like a good, uplifting story told well, this is the book for you :)
But David starts his story by talking about the daily walking exercise he started a few years ago to relieve a progressively deteriorating back condition (which is cleverly written in the title as a pun.) What he does as he takes you through his life and significant personal and professional events and anecdotes by mentioning in the first paragraph of each chapter a new and different landmark on his way along his exercise route. And a very interesting way to go about reading this story is by following it on Google Maps. I KNOW that sound creepy and stalk-y, but I live more than 4700 miles away, have no curiosity whatever about where he lives and the only hint he gives of where he lives is simply mentioning the name of the borough. He doesn't even give away his street name, much less his house number, but instead starts the story at the first main thoroughfare he reaches in his exercise route. And it is a doozy of an exercise route. But it was so interesting to call up each landmark or street name on Google maps and see what he saw and experience the physical journey with him. As an Anglophile, I found this method wonderful and educational.
It's a "wordy" book, which is silly way to describe any book; it makes one think that that the alternative would be a picture-y book. But he's educated and bright and his particular brand of humor is how he uses words to turn ordinary ideas into amusing ones. Again, a poor description of "wordy." This is definitely a "reader's" book, and I mean that in a way to convey that, if you aren't a devourer of books as a primary hobby and preference of how to spend an empty afternoon, this book will probably begin to weigh rather heavily along about the 4th or 5th chapter. But for me, I only craved more at the end. One of these days, I hope, he's going to write a series of books on a walking tour of ALL of London. It'll take him months, I'm sure. The best part is when he mentions his first (or 2nd, really) meeting of (the VERY pretty) Victoria Coren and his complete falling head over heels in love with her. But at that point, she's unavailable as she chose to pursue a relationship with someone else. And it can only be said that he quite literally pined for her. He pretty much admits it. Not in a crippling way; indeed, it was a motivation to turn a 20-minute exercise into an hour as a way to work through a broken heart. He mentions the other ways in which he tried to cope with a loss he was certain would be lifelong, none of which were fulfilling nor healthy, and most of which he regrets. Then, remarkably, a few years later, they meet again at the right time when she had run through that previous relationship. She was available and interested and he eventually got to marry the first, true love of his life. So it was amusing, interesting and, in the end, romantic. This last part would probably be considered a "spoiler," but his marriage to Victoria is public record and there are a few photos of his wedding online; the reader can hardly claim to have the story ruined because I told you how it ended.
His next book should be written as he walks through the very center of downtown London and describes his experiences with new fatherhood (if he wants kids; some people don't, which is fine.)
The thin conceit of telling the story while going for a walk is great. It enables stories and related thoughts to co-exist without having to over cook them with linking filler. It also enables a title that's both multi leveled and a pun. So he's snuck in a pun, and made it work and the title wasn't even his idea. The prick.
I enjoyed this s lot and the 2nd last chapter where the guy gets the girl (spoiler, meh you already know. By the time you read this he's 90 and his 3 kids are publicly fighting over the royalties to his wax statue in madam Tussaud's water closet) is especially great and bold of him to be so honest and open.
If you are a fan at all then have a read.
Most recent customer reviews
Why do I have to write over 20 words, those 4 are enough I think
of book I usually read and to be honest I am not really into showbiz and the minutiae of the...Read more