I’ve just finished reading this autobiography of Russell Brand, and I must admit I really enjoyed it.

I’m not normally a fan of people writing their life story when they are relatively young - after all, how much can they have crammed into their short lives?  Well, Russell Brand shows that there is plenty you can cram into your first thirty or so years and he tells all in this entertaining, insightful and at times quite touching and harrowing read.

I was struggling to decide whether I would recommend this book to others - biographies are a bit like that, as it’s easy to just say that if you are a fan of the person then you will enjoy the book but otherwise steer clear.  Some biographies are so enjoyable and informative that they can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they are a fan or not - but I think this book is somewhere in the middle.

The book is split into four sections, with the first three dealing with his upbringing, schooling and initial forays into working life.  The narrative in each of these is much like Brand’s stand-up delivery - full of Cockney phrases, wandering off topic at tangents and generally using a form of baby language to describe things such as his “winkle”.

Personally, as I like Russell Brand in general, I found this made the book quite easy to read but I could see why it would annoy other readers perhaps to the point where they gave up on the book completely.

If they did, then they would miss out on the best and most compelling part of the book.

The final part centres around Brand’s rehabilitation from his various addictions, mainly drug-based.  The tone of the book changes in this section, perhaps because he feels it is a more serious subject, or perhaps because reliving that period in his life made him a bit more reflective and sombre than when he was recalling stories from his school life etc.

The writing here is a bit more like a “normal” autobiography and less like his usual onscreen persona.  As he details how both he and his fellow addicts progressed (or regressed in some cases) it is actually quite moving.

Reading about his exploits, it’s sometimes hard to remember that this is an actual life story and not some far-fetched made-up tale - and the disturbing thing is that there must be thousands of people out there who are going through exactly the same things Brand has been through, if not worse.

If you are a fan of his work then I don’t doubt you will enjoy this book, but if you simply can’t stand him then I’d probably advise you to stay away! 
If the whole book had been written in the style of the last section then it would have appealed to more people but I don’t think it would have been a true Russell Brand creation - it needs his sometimes simplistic take on things to explain to us readers how he was feeling and thinking at the time, without this the book wouldn’t have been such a good read.

Before picking this book up I had gone from turning over whenever he was on TV, to quite liking his work and then on to never missing an episode of his Radio Two podcast but through all that I didn’t really know much about the man who is Russell Brand.

I think that’s part of the society we live in just now - we forget that celebrities are actual people with real lives and families.  Although we seemingly enjoy reading about people going through troubles in magazines and in the papers, we don’t make the link between that and the fact that these people are actually living that life we read about.

With Russell Brand, we read about how much he sleeps around and that he is a reformed heroin addict but these are all just words in a newspaper until you read this book and find out the story behind these tabloid tales.