Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This is your life

A couple of months back, I walked into the British Library and to my utter amazement, discovered a whole set of good books to take home, among them John O’Farrell’s This is your life. I had read his ‘I blame the scapegoats’, a collection of essays, and found them hilarious, so I had high expectations of this book. And did he deliver!

This is your life is the story of Jimmy Conway, who dreams of becoming a celebrity. He’s working on a screenplay, the only problem is – he hasn’t got past the first page! A chance encounter with Britain’s top TV star Billy Scrivens makes him sought after in his own circle of friends and family. But when Billy dies, Jimmy is invited to comment on his death. And so begins his foray into the world of stardom. He becomes famous as a standup comic who ‘won’t do television’ by faking newspaper reviews and articles of himself. Soon he plunges deeper into the quagmire of lies and is rewarded for it by winning a ‘Best Standup Comic – Newcomer’ award.

Eventually he is invited to perform at a major event that is broadcast live to TV audiences all over Britain, and has two thousand people in attendance at the show. Does Jimmy get through this? Read the book to find out!

The book has so many laugh-out-loud lines I lost count after the first read. But here’s a sample to get you going:

Her face had so many piercings that passing ships lost track of true magnetic north.

Jimmy’s mother asks him ,’and how is your part-time teaching job?’ in a tone as if she was asking him the question ‘How is your homosexual Iraqi boyfriend?’ or ‘How are things in the world of pre-school heroin dealing?’

How does one fake their way through heart surgery?
‘Let’s move that grisly lump over here.’
‘But that’s the heart, doctor.’
‘Blimey, it doesn’t look like that on the Valentine cards, does it?’

Since global warming Eskimos now have twenty different words for water.

Remember to pick up this book the next time you see it in the library!

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