I was full of anticipation when I opened up Graham Norton’s latest memoir, The Life and Loves of a He Devil. And it didn’t disappoint. I guess I should say from the outset that I am a fan. I was a fan of the younger and much more camp Graham Norton, and was always a bit surprised when the BBC gave him his latest show. But, just as his comedy has calmed down with only a hint of sexual innuendo, so has Graham the man and I think that is inherent in this book.
Norton has divided his book (neatly) into ten chapters: Dogs, Ireland, New York, Divas, Booze, Men and Work. And he ends with a few brief comments about things he hates (not much actually). As he takes us on a journey through his life, he is honest yet circumspect – for example he doesn’t reveal too much in his section about men, just enough so that readers get the picture and not enough to put off the main stream viewers and listeners that are his fans these days. Norton’s made no secret of his sexuality and the way he describes his coming out is just fabulous.
Throughout The Life and Loves of a He Devil, Norton’s wit and precise timing and delivery carry you on his journey; laughing, sympathising and musing alongside him. There is a slight shadow of loneliness throughout, giving the reader the sense of the sacrifices that come with this level of celebrity. Although when he describes his movements through the NY gay scene I sense he does so with more freedom than I had imagined.
I love how respectful he is of his guests, mostly leaving the more salacious details alone. Norton deviates from his self-imposed rule of “those are their stories and not for me to tell” enough times to make those interviews come alive, but he is never gratuitous with his language, stories or description.
If you love Graham Norton, or simply enjoy his Friday night show a little, you will find this an interesting and enjoyable read.