I’ve became a fan of Jo Brand after discovering her as a regular panellist on the UK TV programmes, ‘Would I Lie To You’ and ‘QI’. Being of a near similar age, it is refreshing to see a woman commanding such a high profile in the comedy space that tends to be dominated by men.
Jo Brand has a unique style of wit. Her comedy is dry and often self-deprecating. Having said that, here is a woman who is comfortable with who she is, what she looks like, and doesn’t give a bollocks (to put it in her terms) about what other people think. In this book she shares her approach to life – all the things she has learnt, all the things she wished she had known in her life journey, and some things she hopes will happen in the future.
Jo Brand has lived a colourful life to date. She recalls her early years and candidly shares details of her not-so-happy home life, which led to her leaving home at 16 and living with her heroin-addict boyfriend. Her disastrous first experience at stand- up comedy would have made most people toss in the towel, but she’s a tough woman, and so she carried on, building herself an early reputation as a feminist, man-hating, no holds-barred comedian. She dispels the rumours that she is a lesbian (she is married, with two daughters). In this book she reveals her softer side.
She shares her ‘advice’ on a range of topics, from managing relationships to drug taking (don’t do as I do, do as I say). Every chapter is suffused with her deadpan delivery and wit. She’s not telling her readers what to do, just offering some interesting ways to think about things if they so choose. Take it or leave it is definitely her style.
Initially I wondered who this book was for – her current fans, or young women who she wants to impart her advice to. I decided it’s for anyone and everyone. You will take from it what you want. Whatever your age and gender, it’s a great read. Funny, poignant and the kind of book that you can dip into and read over again. It’s fairly UK based in terms of some of the references given in the Help and Advice section, but that won’t stop NZ readers from enjoying it. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Rachel White
John Murray, RRP $37.99