Review of 'My Booky Wook'

My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

booky.jpg In this first autobiography by the comedian and presenter Russel Brand we hear of Brand's early days then his becoming a stand-up comedian, MTV presenter then presenting on Big Brother. The book starts with his being admitted into a sex addiction clinic in (of course) the US and ends with his being reluctantly sent for drug rehabilitation as his life threatens to unravel. Throughout Brand exhibits his trademark self-deprecation and whit to keep the tone of the book quite humorous and light despite describing some rather nasty life experiences.

Brand had a difficult start in Essex where he was brought up in a single parent household by his always patient, adoring and supportive mother. He left home at 16 after disagreements with his mother's partner and quickly descended into drug use. He had a rather unusual relationship with his father who once took him on a trip to Asia where they visited prostitutes in various countries and saw not much else…

His first taste of show-business was with his school's production of “Bugsy Malone” (where he played Fat Sam) where he realised how much he liked performing and being the centre of attention after which he had some success as a film extra. He attended Grays School Media Arts College in Essex then Italia Conti Academy in London though was kicked out here after a year due to drug use. It was after this that he eventually fell on stand-up comedy, developing a reputation for discussing anything and everything – No taboo too strong (including a rather disturbing use of a Barbie doll). Throughout this period he escalated through the pyramid of drug addiction culminating in his use of heroin which he describes as the only drug he has found that delivers on it's promise (complete escape). This coupled with his insatiable desire for sex could have spelled an early end to a promising career were it not for those closest to him forcing him to do something about it. His more recent involvement in political and social issues is only barely touched on here and is presumably covered in his second memoir (“Booky Wook 2”).

There are periodic pictures and documents throughout the book making his unbelievable and often very scary story real. Particularly poignant are his admission papers for the clinics where he has been a patient (his class reports are also wryly accurate from an early date).

Mostly amusing in a slight chuckle-y sort of way the easy to read prose is very much a reflection of the man we have experienced on television and film - Dry, eccentric, frenetic and, above all, unapologetic - Here he is, like him or loath him. This has the feel of a very honest story detailing all of his indiscretions and you have to admire that. No sugar coating it here, that is for sure.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-07-28

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Hodder

Publication Date: 2007

ISBN: 9780340936177