I was lent Russell Brand’s first memoir by a friend late last year, and have finally gotten around to finishing it. Some of my friends tease me that it took me longer to read than it took Brand to write.
But all jokes aside, this autobiography is full of them. Some hilarious (his middle-school penchant for groping fellow students—“but only through their clothes, though—I wasn’t a pervert” [p. 56]), some disgusting (when he visits a brothel for his MTV show, RE:Brand, and hears stories about prostitutes being forced to give head to men with “syphilitic”, “tumour-ravaged” penises, in chapter 25) and some I’ve already heard before on Ponderland and his live show (chapter four deals with Brand’s childhood dog, Topsy, and loving her so much he would sometimes squeeze her too hard).
I’d heard great things about My Booky Wook, and ever since watching Ponderland a few years ago, I’d been busting to check it out.
With such high expectations, though, I was left somewhat disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, this book(y) is funny and is written exactly how Brand speaks, but is overhyped in terms of the graphic depiction of his drug use: I didn’t find the decade he spent in a drug-hazed stupor to be particularly hard-hitting. Brand does have a knack for trivializing even the most terrible moments in his life (the death of his dog, his mother getting cancer, being molested by a babysitter as a youngster), though. Perhaps that’s just the comedian inside, but maybe he also does this as a way of better coming to terms with them himself.
Image via Paula Massarutti.