Shortlisted for: Biography/Autobiography of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.
As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:
©2012 David Mitchell (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Sometimes, just sometimes, you scan the 'New Releases' section on Audible and you see something pop up that you immediately know that you are going to buy, that you are going to love and that you are going to bang on about to your friends.... immediately!
This has happened only twice to me - once with the Alan Partridge autobiography, and again with this title. Both are unabridged readings of an original work that you want to read,, read by the only person that you would allow or trust to read the material out loud to you.
If you like David Mitchell and his style of verbose wit and dry humour, which often manages to be both down to earth and surrealistic at the same time, then you will love this, not least for the fact that he delivers it like he does all of his material - in a natural and fluid monologue.
My only criticism is that you must be fully awake to appreciate it all, because his delivery is so fast and rich, that you will miss a lot if you are either tired or not paying enough attention, but this is the listener's issue really - not David's.
I won't spoil any of the fun by discussing the content because that's why you will buy this book, but I will say that you might want to be careful listening to it on public transport, unless you have no qualms about sounding like and looking like a gibbering idiot to people who happen to either be looking your way or within earshot of you.
I was on a packed commuter train to Leeds when David started talking to me about the vagaries and consistencies of Agatha Christie's characters; Poirot and Hastings, and I had to stop because I was starting to shudder and cry. When he gets your funny bone, he REALLY gets your funny bone.
Personally, I do not care how revealing or non-revealing David Mitchell is about his personal life, I just love listening to him talk and rant, because he is better at it than I am, and I tend to agree with 99% of what he says.
Guilty pleasures? (listen to the book and you will find out.)
One of my favourite audiobooks so far. The book has a nice balance - part biography, part comic asides, structured around a wander around London. It's perhaps a little shy in places, and I suspect there are some warts left uncovered, but fair enough. DM is refreshingly candid about his desire for success and his pleasure in enjoying it, and if I ever met him it would be nice to clap him on the back and say "well done you". Except he would find that mortifying, and I would be mortified at having mortified him, and he would feel bad about my feeling bad, etc.
Anyway, the bit about why we should be grateful we don't live in a meritocracy nearly resulted in spittle on the windscreen.
Mitchell is an incredibly witty man, his misery cheers me up. His book is narrated by himself and is very well read.
Comedy and history (or a combination of both) are my listening choices. Oh, and Bill Bryson.
This is another example I think where listening to an audiobook being read, particularly by the author, is far superior than reading it from a book.
David Mitchell is both very funny and very self-efacing. Not a hint of smugness that some may have expected. He is certainly not complacement and is very quick to say how lucky he is to be where he is.
However it is the chapter on his now wife Victoria that is particularly poignant. He is so much in love and it is very nice to hear how two very well-suited people got together.
Oh, and have a streetmap of London handy if you can.
Another great listen from a funny man.
I have never seen Peep Show, but have enjoyed David Mitchell's dry wit on lots of panel shows. I was so glad that he was reading this as you cannot imagine anyone else. I listen in the car and he cheered me on my journeys. Also his paean of love to Victoria Coren was so touching. They seem to be a perfect match. Thank you David.
an insight into the world of a comedy genius and his odd goings on. He's not so different to you and me, apparently
Yes he has issues, but frankly who doesn't! This is a very witty, incisive and elegantly written account / rant of events and related thoughts from childhood through to his professional success. It gets 5 stars on the basis of the excellence of the recounting, including amusing tangental perspectives of the more mundane aspects. Very good!
Extremely well read by a man of more depth than his public persona permits you to see, a absolute joy to listen to.
Engaging from start to finish, the final chapter was especially moving in his comments about 'Victoria' - now what I expected, an altogether funny, moving and insightful audiobook.
I loved this book. I'm about the same age as Mitchell and share a lot of his quirks and neuroses, and it was great to hear someone I already admired be as open and honest about his life. The anxiety he feels at the appearance of new email, the relief when it's spam, and his feeling that parties are a largely horrific and hostile environment. Even if you can't identify with these feelings, he portrays them in a funny and straightforward way.
Mitchell had, by the sound of it, a really nice childhood, and it was nice to hear him talk about it in honest and fond terms, without obviously trying to turn it into something it wasn't.
I already liked and admired David Mitchell before reading Back Story, and having done so, I'm confident I was right to. This is a really good book.
David Mitchell is a likeable man with a very honest take on how his comfortable middle class life has not exactly held him back. He writes well and by reading his own words he gains a star from me. He loses one though for the last 45 minutes or so in which he seems to lose some of the momentum built up by the rest of the book.
I was thoroughly engaged for the most part and laughed quite a few times. The structure of the book, supposedly based on a walk around the area his live in North London to relieve chronic back pain, is clever and works very well.
"One of the Funniest, Clever Brits around"
I admit, I already went into this book a little prejudiced in its favour, as I became somewhat addicted to watching David Mitchell on various British Panel Shows. This book did not disappoint. I prefer my comedians to be clever, with witty remarks about interesting subjects, current events etc. I am not really a fan of the Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler style of humour and this is so far off that style as to be in a different category altogether.
Mitchell is just so likeable, currently being one of the most popular comedians in Britain. Even when being critical of whatever subject he is currently on a rant about, that you can't help but chuckle, whether you agree or not with his views. I also love his self-mocking admissions of what he sells as his faults, vulnerabilities and weaknesses. He plays up the whole nerd, or dysfunctional loser persona, but in actuality he really isn't at all. He also sometimes pretends to be an arrogant know-it-all, and yet he can't maintain that with a straight face for long, so you know it's all just a funny act. He is such a gentleman, even if he does drop the odd "F" bomb, it comes across more as charming, rather than crass, but even so, you won't find that sort of thing in this book.
If you are undecided on whether his style would suit your taste, check him out on Youtube with some episodes of "Would I Lie to You" or "QI" and that will give you a good idea of the humour in this audiobook. Or check out his podcasts "David Mitchell's Soapbox." He also has a couple of other series, The Mitchell And Webb show, which is a comedy variety type show and another series called Peep Show, which while funny, is a little darker, with ruder language and situations. Those two shows are a little less indicative of the style of this book and might not be to everyone's taste.
This book is a mix of biography and just his ramblings on all manner of subjects, told in a very different style, as we are taken on a walk with him around his neighbourhood. It's narrated as though you are out for a walk and a chat with him.
My only problem with this audiobok was that the few times I listened to it in public on my iphone and headphones, I couldn't help grinning like an idiot, or even laughing out loud, which did cause a few strange looks my way.
"Hilarious, honest and a bit touching"
I love the way David Mitchell's mind works. This book is heavily peppered with extremely clever observations, turns of phrase, and all the dry wit that David Mitchell is known for.
I enjoyed every bit of this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of British comedy.
"David Mitchell is David Mitchell by David Mitchell"
I'm not British & therefore only know who David Mitchell is because of Netflix. He is the sort of person I thought he would be, based on his characters in Peep Show & That Mitchell & Webb look: nerdy, neurotic, & a bit stuck-up at times. What I didn't expect is that he made the decision to go in to comedy at such a young age & that once this decision was made it was final (if I had imagined David Mitchell's back story would have guessed that his life-long dream of becoming an accountant was cut short when a BBC exec saw some posh twit being hit in the face with a pie & decided to give him a show). Back Story is a tale of someone who is normal, but just happens to be famous. David Mitchell went to school, he drank too much, he was awkward with girls, he was an ass to some people, some people were asses to him, he made friends, he drank too much again, and at the end of it all, he grew a beard. Also it's funny. Really funny. Funny in a not-too-British-y way, so it's easy for those of us in the States to enjoy & share with friends without having to apologize for recommending it because someone you recommended it to didn't like it & you're then left secretly thinking that person isn't very smart because they don't get dry British humor, causing the friendship to fall apart, which may not be that bad because when it's all over & done you still get to feel superior because you are obviously the more intelligent one. Not that kind of funny at all. Mostly not.
"Extremely entertaining, a Real RollerCoaster*"
I thoroughly enjoyed the overall honesty of the book. I am being asked what I 'loved best' about the book and now after investing near 10 hours listening to it, it is that. I enjoyed so many parts of this book, but the candid nature of the book was most(dare I say) refreshing. It was. *Read book
The other book I would most compare w/David Mitchell's 'David Mitchell: Back Story'(I am being asked this) would have to be 'Bossypants' by Tina Fey. This is because of obvious similarities in age and industry, along with the fact they are both biographies. My first thought was Outliers by Gladwell. Simply because David Mitchell would fall into the category of an 'outlier' who invested the time over time to become excellent in a field. And be where necessary to benefit from time invested.
I was grateful to have been read the book by the author as opposed to any other talent and least likely myself. Nothing to take away from anyone who narrates their own books, but this man is a performer and has already mastered the art of saying things others find funny.
(I am now being asked to make a tag line for a film made out of the book)If you thought he was bookish, unsure around women and wears a 'Hitler' haircut, you might be right about some of those things.
I found out about Mitchell and Webb just over a month ago from a friend who I am writing comedy with as to something we could strive towards for our own sketches. I immediately became a fan with 'baddies' and have seen half the series, 'Magicians'(Yes, A funny film, as suggested by the author) and twenty minutes of 'Peep Show'. Such a small preview before I watched 'Magicians', not a reflection of the show. I now know more about that first episode and plan to watch more. In case the reader was concerned. All that said, I have become a fan. Of the work certainly and now the journey as expressed by the author. I don't write reviews much, but felt it important to write this one. Especially because I'm certain the author will read it and I would really want to thank him for making all those sketches. 'That Mitchell and Webb Look' is really fantastic and I enjoyed your book as much. Cheers.
"I like David Mitchell"
The lobster story. It was both hilarious and awful.
He says things in certain ways, and when he read the Robert Webb bit it did not sound like the way Robert Webb would have said that at all. Which is fine, but a perfect example of why it's fun to have the author also read the book to you. You get their intention and emphasis that you wouldn't necessarily get with a professional voice actor.
Yes. I thought it was extremely funny. Especially his childhood. I love British humour.
I was actually surprised at what a regular guy David Mitchell is. I thought he would be very fussy and very conservative, and maybe that's because I watched a lot of Peep Show and got him confused with his character Mark, but I really wasn't expecting to relate to him so much. His explanation of why he's agnostic, for example, rings true for me.
"Mark Corrigan Tells It Like It Is"
If you're familiar with Mitchell's work, you know that his deadpan voice is a big part of his appeal. Listening to him read his own words definitely gives the cynicism a really humorous edge that doesn't come across as well in text unless you're already quite familiar with him as a performer.
If you're considering this title, it's probably because you're already acquainted with Mitchell either through Peep Show or That Mitchell & Webb Sound/Look/etc. So speaking as one of these fans, the book delivered exactly what I was hoping it would. Genuinely funny in several places, and just as often thoroughly entertaining.
"I really loved this booked- listened to it 3 times"
David Mitchell is funny and the book is touching.
When he talks about falling in love, it was beautiful.
Yes, and listened to it over and over again.
I didn't expect to love this book, the preview didn't grab me, but I just loved it.
I like david mitchell, i like his cleverness, i like his wit and timing, i like his honesty and his ranting on a myriad of subjects. His voice can be a bit grating but is minor compared to the rest. I also like the way he weaved his story around his walk around London.
"Enjoyed every second of this book. Love it!"
David Mitchell, one of my favorite comedians and co-creator of my favorite sketch show ever (I sound like I'm claiming ownership of him here, aren't I?) , has written a book that is in fact the long list of book genres he lists at the beginning but is also what he says it isn't. (I'm not going to spoil it here.) I don't read memoirs often or celebrity gossip stuff at all, but I must confess a curiosity of the lives of those artists (usually comedians) whom I greatly admire. And David Mitchell certainly tops that list and doesn't disappoint with a book written and performed with his brilliantly hilarious and thoughtful voice at full tilt boogie. It's a genuine pleasure, start to finish. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.
Excellent book excellently performed! I'm not usually interested in celebrities' private lives, but this book is funny and charming without being overly personal.
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