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This is a review of the 2012 book 'Mummy's Boy' Larry Lamb. You may know Mr Lamb from his starring roles in the BBC's programmes Eastenders and Gavin and Stacey but he has had a massive career spanning the globe and this made for really interesting reading in his book.
I found the title most intriguing, in fact, in his formative years Larry has a close bond with his mother but then his parent's relationship breaks up and he ends up in a disastrous relationship with his father and separated from his mother for many years, believing his father's poisonous thoughts about his mum. Whilst this is in no way a tale of abuse or a poor upbringing, Larry is desperate to move away from his father's clutches and takes the first opportunity to escape, whilst brooding over his difficult upbringing for many years. He never really gets that bond back with his mum and spends a lot of time trying to be the father to his children that his dad never was with him, but it's not always a successful result.
Working in Germany, Canada, America, France and the UK Larry is surprisingly in sales and then moves to the construction and engineering industry prior to fulfilling his role as a successful actor. He dips his toe in the water with amateur productions where he discovers his love of acting and potential as a super star. Along the way he picks up (and drops) many women, marrying and making mistakes whilst moving around a lot to chase the work. Children are born and mainly brought up by their mothers whilst Larry attempts to make a living, meeting interesting and famous people along the way.
Larry is very honest about his life and career, admitting when things go wrong, when he fails and where he could have tried harder or done better in his work or with people. He works hard though and is committed to his career, never taking the easy option.
For the most part, the book works in chronological order, which is far easier to follow but it does jump around a little in the end, mentioning names that I should have remembered from earlier in the book but I had forgotten. Larry revisits his past in LA, Hollywood and Canada and visits old friends that writing the book have made him remember. The end of the book is the part that I could identify, being things I remember such as his Eastenders experience (which he goes into the whole process in great interesting detail), the lovable Mr Shipman in Gavin and Stacey and his memorable recording of Who do you think you are?
Some of the book did not make for comfortable reading. I felt really sorry for his first wife and child whom he let down badly and he does really express his love for his son George Lamb who is also well known on the TV. He also fathered two girls when he hit 50 whom he has settled down with and made a family but in between all this were a lot of relationships and women. Another person I felt sorry for was the partner that he was with for nine years and left because they couldn't have children together and that was what he wanted. That poor woman!
Price and availability
As it is relatively new, this book is retailing in hard back for around £12. My copy was a paperback from The Works at two for a fiver so it can be found cheaply if you look out for it!
I did enjoy reading this book and found out a lot about Mr Lamb that I didn't know. Reading Larry's book was an eye opener of a very determined man who has been quite selfish on occasion, but I think I was hoping that he was just like Gavin's Dad in real life!