People are fascinated with celebrity these days with an ever increasing appetite for information about our favourites. And the best place to hear about them is from the horses mouth so to speak. Autobiographies use to be an end of career venture summing up their fabulous life but now it seems that celebrities are putting them out as soon as they find fame and ‘writing’ new volumes for each new chapter of their life.
At 32, Katie Price already has five autobiographies and YouTube sensation Justin Bieber may only be 16-years-old but he has already released a ‘tell-all’ book about his life (what he has had of it before he has even hit adulthood) and rise to fame.
But not all are bad. Some are witty, insightful and a great read – even of they are the chapter two for many of these stars!
The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry
Moab Is My Washpot covered Stephen Fry’s childhood and adolescence, and Stephen’s latest tome, The Fry Chronicles, takes over where it left off. We begin by joining Stephen as he swaps one institution for another, leaving prison for Cambridge University, where he makes his first forays into writing and performing. He develops a love of both and soon finds he’s able to turn his passion into his career, by working with some of his closest friends – Emma Thompson, Rowan Atkinson are Ben Elton are among those he heaps generous praise upon, while the greatest admiration of all is saved for his long-term collaborator Hugh Laurie, to whom the book is dedicated.
At times he’s clearly embarrassed by aspects of his younger self (“I want so much to go back and slap myself sometimes,” he admits), and cringes with self-consciousness when his hard work begins to bear fruit, telling the reader: “I decided that I should have a house in the country. Look, I can’t keep apologising, but I will say one more time how horrible this must be to read.”
What emerges is a portrait of a man at once unable to believe his luck at the way his life has turned out, but also constantly berating himself for – as he sees it – his failure to make the most of the talent he has been blessed with. It is honest, revealing and phenomenally entertaining – the only thing more pleasurable than reading this book would be Mr Fry handing you a mug of cocoa, tucking you up in bed and reading it to you himself.
Memoirs Of A Fruitcake by Chris Evans
If It’s Not What You Think was the story of Chris Evans’s inexorable rise to fame, then Memoirs Of A Fruitcake is the story of his spectacular decline – not for nothing is it subtitled The Wilderness Years. The top 10s that started each chapter in the pervious book are back, but this time they’re indicative of a more battle-weary Evans – Top 10 dodgy decisions I have made, Top 10 ways drinking too much leads to fooling yourself, Top 10 things drinking can destroy.
He’s the first to admit “As you may have deduced by now, I’m an all-or-nothing guy” and readers expecting tales of his legendary impetuousness won’t be disappointed – his decision to propose to Billie Piper after one date, the 1.7 tonne limestone bath he imports from Italy and – most jaw-dropping of all – the decision to move house purely because he wanted to live somewhere easier to pronounce to cab drivers when drunk.
He’s also quick to own up to his mistakes. Whether it’s his decision to turn down a cheque for £56 million, or his failure to be a proper father to his daughter, or his less successful work projects (“That was it – I had scored a hat trick of high-profile, expensive flops; huge, big belly flops into bottomless pool of dismal ratings so low
they barely managed to register”) he knows where the blame lies. He’s also not afraid to show his vulnerability – his description of the end of his marriage to Billie really is heartbreaking. Far from being the egomaniac he’s so often portrayed as, he comes across as rather humble, an incredibly likeable man who is unbelievably grateful to
have been given another chance at marriage, another chance at fatherhood and another chance to do what he loves most – to be a DJ. All in all, he’s a man who can’t quite believe his luck.
Booky Wook 2 by Russell Brand
While his first Booky Wook dealt with his childhood, adolescence and battle with drugs, in Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal Russell Brand is drug-free and desperately seeking fame (“without fame, my haircut just looks like mental illness”). He soon finds it, and it’s not long before he’s reaping the rewards and sleeping his way through the female population of London and, when he’s exhausted that, through large parts of America. He’s not shy about revealing the extent of his excesses – he prefaces one anecdote with: “Get ready for one of those bits of the book where I demonstrate such a lack of compassion that you may be tempted to track me down and hurl your copy at my selfish face.” And what stops the reader doing just
that? Two things – the first is his unflinching honesty; he takes full blame for the Sachsgate scandal, and he’s not shy about admitting that, despite all the orgies and one-night stands, what he really wants is a girlfriend. The second thing is the fact he’s a wonderful storyteller and an incredibly entertaining writer. No, it’s not PC
(“There are four Hawaiian words you have to learn if you are to survive the constant goodwill… they all sound pretty much the same to me – like a deaf person asking for a Polo”) and no, it’s not for the easily offended. But for everyone else, it’s the most wonderfully entertaining romp. In every sense of the word.
The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman is a household name in the States, but less well known over here – if her name rings a bell, you’ve either seen the film version of her one-woman show Jesus Is Magic or her video I’m F***ing Matt Damon. Anyone with a passing acquaintance with either will know this probably isn’t a book for your nan.
The jokes come thick and fast (even the chapter subheads are amusingly named, from ‘the happiest I have ever been in a public toilet’ and ‘it is brought to my attention that I am scum’ to ‘I am diagnosed with not having enough insanely addictive drugs coursing through my veins’) – and yes it’s funny, but it’s also surprisingly moving. The title refers to the fact Sarah was plagued by bedwetting throughout her childhood and into her late teens. She describes in painful detail the shame of wetting the bed at friends’ houses and having to wear an adult nappy on overnight trips as a teenager and the ever present dread of her secret being revealed. She reprints pages from her teenage diary, with a note at the top of each entry declaring the previous night to have been ‘wet’ or the triumphant ‘dry’. Most poignant are the descriptions of her teenage diagnosis with depression, and it seems at one point to be the only subject to avoid her jokes – until she describes a trip to visit her therapist, only to find he has hanged himself while she is in the waiting room. She’s incredibly entertaining – and rather filthy – company. Just don’t invite her to tea at
by Zoe Hill