Tuesday, 24 February 2015
I'm a big fan of Miranda Hart's sitcom Miranda and I may have been told by one or two people that there are some similarities between myself and her onscreen persona (I'm not sure if I'm supposed to take that as a compliment but I will anyway) so I was, of course, anticipating that I would love this book.
Hart's 'Miran-ual' covers the basics of adulthood from jobs to pets to love and everything in between. The book is written in typical Miranda style and so it feels almost as though the reader is in conversation with the author, as though she is telling you all of these anecdotes face to face. If you enjoy the humour of Miranda then I'm sure you'll enjoy Is It Just Me? because it has that same jokey, personal style and plenty of stories from Hart's life that wouldn't be out of place in her sitcom.
Throughout the book Hart has conversations about her past and future with her 18 year old self, which at times I felt worked wonderfully but at other times felt a little bit like too much of a deviation from the more interesting stuff. When they did work though these conversations were endearing and funny, just like the rest of the book.
Although I perhaps didn't laugh out loud as often as I had been led to believe I might, I did thoroughly enjoy Is It Just Me? and I would highly recommend it to fans of Miranda Hart or Miranda. Is It Just Me? may not have the tell-all quality that people sometimes expect from celebrity memoirs but it is funny, honest, and everything you would expect from Miranda Hart.
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Tuesday, 3 February 2015
I first saw the film version of Starter for Ten, starring James McAvoy, on TV at least a year before I went to university. I got the book shortly after but it sat on my TBR pile at home, at university, and then at home again until now, and though I enjoyed it as much as I knew I would, I'm actually glad I waited until now to read it.
Brian does not have the most amazing time during his first year at university. In fact he's a bit of a loser, but endearingly so. He may have a wealth of advanced general knowledge, but he knows nothing about people, especially how to conduct himself around girls. He's a very believable teenage boy. One of the triumphs of Nicholls's writing is that even when Brian is at his most awkward, his most weird, his most teenage boy-ish, he is still so optimistic and full of hope and self-deprecation in equal measure, that you can't help but like him. Even when he's making an absolute tit of himself in front of Alice's parents or being kind of a git to his old school mates Spence and Tone, Brian is never really mean. Which is really his big saving grace because he can certainly be a bit of an ass.
Although my university experience bared very little resemblance to Brian's (I'm not sure my uni even has a University Challenge team) Starter for Ten made me weirdly nostalgic for that time. Even though it was only a little over a year and a half ago that I was there. Nicholls perfectly captures Brian's feeling of expectation and hope that university will be different and better than school - that he will be different and better. He also perfectly captures Brian's disappointments. And always with humour.
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