Sunday, 21 July 2013

Top six autobiographies

I've read some great autobiographies lately so I thought I'd share my top six with you. I really love reading autobiographies by people I'm a big fan of as it gives me such an insight into their lives and how they got to where they are now. There's a big range here, so I'd be surprised if anyone else has read all six... if you have, you and I have remarkably similar tastes.

Lucky Man: A Memoir, by Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox begins his autobiography in a Florida hotel where he first noticed the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease. He then goes back to describe his childhood, early years as an actor and his rapid climb to worldwide fame when he starred in the Back to the Future trilogy. He then goes on to describe his diagnosis and subsequent battles with denial and depression, his acceptance of the disease and his activism in finding a cure for Parkinson's. I cried, smiled and laughed throughout this book and read reams of it in each sitting as it was so engaging. Fox explains how he is much happier now than in his pre-Parkinson's years and emphasises that, given the choice, he wouldn't change his diagnosis. I thought the autobiography was totally inspirational and it proves that it's possible to overcome massive life-changing challenges and to come out on the other side as a happier and a more secure person. Fox describes his symptoms in detail and explains how he hid them from the public for eight years before going public in 1999. His bravery and strength of character is amazing and I would highly recommend reading this autobiography.

Unsaid Things, by McFly
This autobiography is surprisingly deep and reveals hundreds of things I never knew about McFly... and believe me, I know a lot about them. Tom, Danny, Dougie and Harry take it in turns to describe their childhoods, teenage years and their journey towards become members of McFly. They talk freely about being bullied at school, taking drugs, trashing their first band house, partying with Lindsay Lohan, mental health issues and rehab experiences. It was interesting to read surprising things such as the fact that they hated the video for Five Colours in her Hair and that their latest album (Above the Noise) is their least favourite. Their close friendship shines through, as does their frustration with being dubbed as a typical 'boy band' even though they write all their own songs and play their own instruments. Judging by this book, it looks as if McFly will be making music for many years to come!

Life and Laughing: My Story, by Michael McIntyre
This book is spectacularly hilarious. I read it in two days, and actually cried with laughter at some points during the book. I love watching Michael McIntyre's stand up comedy, and his autobiography is just as good. I read this a few years ago now so I won't review it in detail, but you should definitely read it if you're a Michael McIntyre fan and want to laugh until you cry!

Ooh! What a Lovely Pair: Our Story, by Ant and Dec
I love everything about Ant and Dec, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on their autobiography. You'll be pleased to hear that it's just as funny as they are in person, and I could almost hear them telling the story in their own voices as I was reading. It's very fitting that they wrote a joint autobiography with intermixed narrative, seeing as they're so synonymous with each other. I often wonder if they'd have been half as successful as individuals? Probably (definitely) not. I would definitely recommend this autobiography if you're looking for a bit of sillyness! Is that even a word?

Raising the Dragon: A Clarion Call to Welsh Rugby, by Robert Jones
I've read loads of rugby autobiographies, but this is definitely my favourite. Robert Jones only had a few years of rugby left in him when I became a big Swansea fan, but I still remember him being one of the most genuine and gentlemanly players in the team, on and off the pitch. His autobiography is a candid reflection on his own career and the ups and downs of Welsh rugby during this time. Again, I read this autobiography years ago so won't write a detailed review, but you should add it to your wish list if you're a Welsh rugby fan and can still remember Robert Jones' days as the Welsh scrum half.

Gavin Henson: My Grand Slam Year
This autobiography is brilliantly controversial and is just typical of the Gavin Henson we've come to know and love. Well... the 'love' part might only be true in my case. He bitches about fellow players, criticises coaches and just generally offends nearly everyone who's mentioned. Gethin Jenkins and Brian O'Driscoll are notable examples! He also goes into great detail about his beauty regime which I thought was very amusing. I'm well aware that it was silly of him to write an autobiography after a year or two of fame, and to offend so many people in the process, but I still loved it. I actually bought this book at a signing where I got to meet the man himself. He greeted me with a casual 'Hey, what's going on?' I had no idea how to reply to this so I just grinned like an idiot and stared at his immaculate hair. Even if you're not a Henson fan (and let's face it, not many people are), I'm pretty sure you'll find his autobiography extremely chucklesome!

I also want to mention the worst autobiography I've ever read... My S**t Life so Far, by Frankie Boyle. I do enjoy some of Frankie Boyle's stand up comedy, so I was pretty disappointed by his book. It's not particularly funny and he just comes across as a grumpy and bitter man who doesn't even enjoy what he does half the time. I'm well aware that that's usually why his stand up routines are so funny, but it really doesn't come across well in written format. I'm sure plenty of people would enjoy it, and the bitterness was definitely supposed to add comedy value, but it didn't do it for me.

Can anyone recommend any other autobiographies for me? I love a good autobiography!

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