“ Author: David Walliams / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 28 March 2013 / Autobiography: yes / Genre: Arts & Entertainment / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: Camp David / ISBN 13: 9780241957721 / ISBN 10: 0241957721 „
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*It's very hard to describe this book without mentioning a couple of brief points he makes in it but they may come across as little spoilers. I won't be offended if you want to give the review a miss to read the book without any previous information!*
Camp David by David Walliams
I first came across David Walliams in his hit TV show Little Britain, before then I'll admit I wouldn't have recognised him or known his name. Now though, he's regularly on our TV screens, even a judge on Britain's Got Talent, as well as writing his own series of children's books. For the last few years, I've watched him a lot on TV and find his comedy work very amusing. It was for this reason I wanted to read his autobiography, entitled 'Camp David'. It's available in a hardback, paperback and electronic versions - the paperback is currently £5.99 on Amazon.
I assumed it would be laughs a minute and give me an insight into how he ended up on TV making people laugh. I love to read how famous people have made it and the majority of the time I admire their determination to succeed. Here was no exception although it was a lot more serious on the whole than I expected. Having said that though, I think this is actually what I found most appealing about it after reading because I sometimes get the impression that comedy performers hide behind their jokes - this book to me conveys as being an honest piece of writing about his life and career.
The autobiography starts by detailing his early life and schooling within the first few chapters. Although I find it interesting to hear how his childhood memories, I didn't find myself getting really stuck into the book as I usually do. This isn't my favourite part of autobiographies in general - I like hearing the nitty gritty of fame! I still however think this is usually a good starting point for these types of books. There were odd comments he made that made me sit up and take note but overall the first few chapters I found a bit average if I'm honest. Often with autobiographies, I find myself gripped from the start, not wanting to put the book down but with the first 7 to 8 chapters I just didn't get that feeling. But, I persisted - and I'm so, so glad that I did. From around the 8th chapter, I became completely hooked! I read it normally late at night before bed and I got to the stage where I'd only put it down when my husband decided enough was enough around midnight and switched the lamp off on my behalf!
After his early years, David goes on to tell us about how he started out writing in comedy, performing year after year in various projects and how he met Matt Lucas who is the other half of the wonderful partnership that brought us Little Britain. From his words, it seems he didn't always seem eye to eye with his Little Britain co-star and I found this fascinating to read as on screen, I would never have thought this was the case as they seem perfect together and such a partnership on screen. Don't get me wrong, I got the impression that they are still great friends, but nonetheless I was surprised about how much detail he went into about their working relationship and some of the strains on their partnership during their earlier days together. There are quite a few references to this.
There are some points where I found myself laughing at little comments he made, but not half as much as I was expecting. There are a lot of serious points to his writing. He details his battle with depression and mentions throughout the book how his father didn't really connect with him, never crediting his work - even when Little Britain hit our screens. Again, although these were more upsetting times of his life, I found the book impossible to put down and was fascinating to read in detail, partly because I was so surprised as I had no prior knowledge of it. He also talks a lot about his relationships from the past, including one with Caroline Aherne - something else I knew nothing about!
The other thing that hit me was the amount of time he worked on other projects before Little Britain's rise - other people may remember him from previous TV work he'd done but as I say, the first time I came across him was on Little Britain. I had no idea of the long list of projects he'd been part of before then on channel 4, on radio and on the stage. I think that's why I really got into this book after the initial few chapters - he must be quite a private person I think as the majority of the book was completely new to me and I expect that it would be for a lot of people reading.
The only other small criticism I have, but perhaps this is just personal taste of mine, was that he included reviews that had been received from writers in newspapers and although these were interesting on the whole, some did go on for a few pages and in the end I felt a little as though I wanted to skip through and get back to his version of events instead. Like I say though, others may find these a great read - it's just a personal choice I think there.
I would definitely recommend reading this book, even if you're not really into the Little Britain series or any of his comedy. It details how he got into comedy at length but there are not many jokes in the book, it's more serious on the whole if anything and a great insight into how he made it big from a normal upbringing with very hard work. I used to like him before reading the book anyway, and the book has just confirmed that.
I rate it 4 stars overall - just with the slowish start taking off a star but I would thoroughly recommend it.
Thanks for reading :o)