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The Life of Lee - Lee Evans

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Author: Lee Evans / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 10 May 2012 / Autobiography: yes / Genre: Arts & Entertainment / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: The Life of Lee / ISBN 13: 9780718156190 / ISBN 10: 0718156190

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    4 Reviews
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      16.01.2012 20:24
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      Any Lee Evans fans will love this tell all book.

      **Why I want this book?**
      Like many people out there I regard Lee Evans as a genius, I think he is fantastic and brilliant of the things he does. He is remarkable funny, yet he doesn't seem to see it, which makes him even the more funny more humble than before and more so than any other comedian out there today.

      I have been lucky enough to be able to see Lee Evans Live at his BIG Tour at Sheffield, which was everything I thought it would be and more. He was so funny my sides and mouth hurt from laughing so much and I honestly thought I could not laugh anymore until he said something or did another one of his funny moves, and there I was and the whole audience laughing all over again.

      When my Mum announced she bought Lee Evans new book called The Life of Lee and loved it I could not wait to read it and of course with Lee I was not disappointed.

      **About The Life of Lee**
      This book really is what the title says, the life of Lee Evans. This journey of Lee go through all his life from when he was a baby where his parents discovered he had a hole in his heart all the way to his teens. Lee describes how and why his life was tough growing up on the rough streets of Bristol to living with his family, moving to Billericay in Essex, meeting the absolute love of his life, Heather, now wife, who he adores with a passion and with the highs and lows that came with it.

      This book was a real eye opener for me as a reader as Lee described his life the way it happened but not the way we as readers expected it to happen. It is a surprise to read that Lee was not a popular child growing up; he was the main attraction to many bullies and took a fair few batterings in his life.
      Lee grew up watching his Dad on the stage, whether it was in a boxing ring or as a musician, he looked up to his dad and watched how they all grew as a family.
      I was also surprised to learn Lee is a fine painter, in art. This is where he found his passion, something he was good at and more importantly he was proud of himself at last. His art teacher knew he was good and so did Lee.

      Lee talks about his long battle with jobs, whether it was applying for them or managing to stay there long enough without making a fool of himself which would result in getting the sack. More importantly Lee talks about his first taste of show business came about, and the rest? Well that is history.

      Lee often referrs to himself as an idiot, which reading through it you can see why people may think that but that is just the way he is. He has made mistakes through life and acts in a silly manner to get through a sticky situation. But that doesn't make him an idiot.

      The Life of Lee has 385 pages with eight pages of pictures, the book measurements are: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.6 cm.
      ISBN-10: 0718156188, ISBN-13: 978-0718156183

      **Price and availability**
      You can purchase The Life of Lee Evans from amazon.co.uk for £8.99 in hardcover, paperback for £7.19, Kindle for £6.49. There is also a possibility to purchase this book in Audio CD for £11.97.

      **What I think about it/do I like it?**
      I found The Life of Lee an absolute joy to read and felt privileged to have read about his life and his humble upbringing that made the man who he is today. Although Lee's book is quite a serious book Lee's magical, humorous personality always shines through and will make you laugh out loud and make you feel sad in others.

      I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if Lee talked more about his life now, his life after he made it and how it makes him feel now and more so with his wife Healther and daughter Mollie. This I believe is lacking and would benefit the book as this are what the readers know him best for, but in all it is a great book and something all Lee fans will love.

      **Would I recommend this book?**
      If you love Lee you will no doubt love this book.

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      • More +
        19.10.2011 17:40
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        Great book

        Introduction:-

        Not being aware that Lee Evans had recently released an auto-biography out once I become aware of the fact it was a must have item for me. Being a big fan of Lee Evans along with the added bonus that whatever happens I would get at least a little of the purchase price back for writing this review I couldn't help but pick up a hardback copy of this book for the price of £9.99 when I next visited my local Sainsbury's store.

        As a rule I enjoy autobiographies and non-fiction and generally prefer them to fiction titles, so all was looking good for my enjoyment of this publication. I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book wondering whether Lee Evans would take a serious approach to the story of his life, or if it would be written with the humorous touch most people know Lee well for.


        The Life of Lee:-

        Well as soon as the book is opened it is quite obvious that Lee is setting straight out for laughs as seems to have been the case for most of his life as is made clear in this book. Starting from when he was born in Bristol Royal Infirmary with a hole in his heart and narrowly avoided being named Cassius Clay after a famous boxing victory over Sonny Liston explaining that even he later changed his name to Muhammad Ali in the funniest possible way. Lee was instead due to his mums objections was named after rock pianist Jerry Lee Lewis as another of his father's great loves was rock music. With the frequent trips to and from hospital for the treatment required for the hole in his heart being quite a serious subject I felt they were handled well, and put across with a good dollop Lee Evans style humour that isn't over the top and doesn't dominate the experience of reading the book.

        Lee goes into quite a bit of depth about his childhood which some may think sounds a little boring, but when mixed with Lee's humour make for a great read. Again serious subjects such as being bullied because of his heart defect, with other kids making him exert himself so that his blood pressure would raise and result in Lee collapsing, are injected with a good dose of humour with Lee seeing both sides of the story not just his own. From here Lee goes on to explain how his upbringing was by no means easy with most of his early childhood being spent on the poor Lawrence Weston Estate in Bristol, whilst intermittently being moved around the country to follow his dad as an entertainer during the summer season. Money was tight and he describes his dad as an "angry traffic-light" being like the Incredible Hulk but turning red instead of green once anger kicked in. He says that he feels that it is this upbringing, constant upheaval and bullying that resulted from continuously moving home and changing schools along with his parent's unpredictable tempers that resulted in his shy, but once in the spotlight looking for laughs and attention personality. This said he by no means makes out that his parents are all bad saying that just as easily as his father could be angry he could be his best friend and funniest person Lee knew.

        Just a couple of moments that amused me from the first few chapters of the book were the accounts of living above a doctors surgery in a flat with the whole family sleeping in one room, and due to having no sitting room the doctor would let them watch the TV in the reception area. Another that I would like to share is when he first realised that he could first use getting a laugh as a defence mechanism. Whilst a teacher is trying to humiliate him in front of the class he makes the class laugh whilst her back is turned and turns the humiliation to his own advantage, getting noticed and respected at the same time all as a result of poor test results.

        There are numerous accounts of the people that influenced Lee during childhood, as well as many accounts of being the brunt of jokes, childhood dares and the like because he was the stupid one that wouldn't turn them down no matter how dangerous. Bullying and peer pressure as Lee explains more in depth in the book were worth him putting up with to be part of the crowd at the time. The accounts shared above from the early parts of this book are by no means the ones I found the funniest as I don't want to spoil the book, just pieces that give a decent enough feel of what to expect whilst reading it, and the sort of situations Lee manages to seemingly effortlessly inject a decent amount of tasteful humour into.

        Lee Evans inevitably ended up watching his dad support many of the bigger names in the variety, and comedy shows around various working men's clubs and pubs across the UK, and it was at this time he first saw his main inspiration for wanting to be on stage, stand up performer Tommy Cooper. It was when his father started to get more work around the clubs and pubs that the Evans family purchased their first house in Billericay. However the overpowering feeling of being an outsider wasn't to be left behind once the family moved away from Bristol and Lee moved onto secondary school at Billericay in fact made worse by his West Country accent, again though this part of his life is approached with a sense of humour only Lee Evans could add to the book. It's also around this part of the book that Lee goes into the times he spent back stage at the theatres, enjoying the company of the showgirls and seeing things many a child his age should never have seen, also saying that the behind the stage action intrigued him almost as much as what was happening on stage.

        Being bad at any sport he turned his hand to and also not having much luck with women are another couple of subjects Lee Evans covers with great honesty and again brilliant humour, finding the best way possible to look at all of the situations he landed himself in. Boxing was in fact Lee's only forte when it comes to sport, one that he admits enjoying due to the regimental training schedules and the atmospheres of the clubs he was fighting in caused by the buzz of the illegal gambling. Initially the boxing seems as though it was forced upon him by his father as he used to box in the army, and was something Lee only later come to enjoy after becoming part of a boxing club. It was after leaving school at sixteen and Lee being able to play drums, guitar and piano set about starting a band, but when this didn't really work out the book starts telling of Lee as a 17 year old being a part of the gangs around Billericay and inevitably involved with the MODS and Rockers culture of the time. This part of the book also covers Lee's time at Art College and a certain amount of his finally coming to terms and feeling more comfortable with the person that he is and seemingly learning a lot about himself.

        It is whilst Lee was at Art College that he first met his wife to be in far from ideal circumstances after gate-crashing a party, then later finally went on to win her heart, I won't go into detail here as I feel this is one of the funniest parts of the book and would be a spoiler if any of it was given away. There are a few chapters dedicated to how Lee met his wife and how they eventually came to marry, and whilst being the funniest part of the book is the part that tugs at the heart strings the most. This few chapters also cover his engagement to his girlfriend Heather, her getting pregnant, the search for a place of their own to live and Lee's desperate search for a job, none of which is straight forward or goes to plan. However once again even the most serious issues Lee manages to again throw a lighter side on them with well used humour.

        It is after the long demoralising search for a job and hitting a great low Lee by chance calls an ad for a talent show. This was the first time he had ever taken the stage by himself and again in what seems typical Lee Evans fashion absolutely nothing goes to plan, however somehow things turn out in such a way as to convince Lee that this is what he wants to be doing. The life of showbiz that he grew up with and so badly wanted to avoid would turn out to be the direction he figured out that his life would be going in. This is where the book ends on a positive note compared to all of what has been in the book so far with Lee at the age of 18 with the prospect of the second book covering the rest of Lee's life a very tempting prospect.


        In Conclusion:-

        This book and Lee Evans story of his life up until the age of 18 is one that if I'm honest took me by surprise as I previously knew next to nothing about his past, Lee's poor upbringing, total lack of self-esteem, and his humble nature that allows him only to see the bad in himself, making him desperate to want to fit in but never quite managing it. This sets the tone for most of the book really but no matter how much Lee got knocked back he would not stop trying to provide for his wife and keep a roof over their heads all whilst desperately trying to be accepted and better himself.

        After reading this book it really is hard to believe that you have read the auto-biography of someone who is now able to sell out huge arenas and holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for this reason. Due to the style this book is written in and Lee Evans' naturally funny style it is a real page turner that I read in 2 days without it being a chore at all to get through the 385 pages. I would most definitely recommend this book to any fan of Lee Evans as I'm sure many will not realise his struggle just to get to the point of realising that he wanted to be on stage.

        A definite 5/5 stars from me, an outstanding read and a book I would most definitely not hesitate to recommend as a gift for the speedily arriving festive season, as I'm sure even people with only a passing interest in this successful comedian would find this book a truly fascinating read.

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          17.10.2011 09:01
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          From tough beginnings to the funniest man alive.

          I've long been a big fan of Lee Evans and at a recent show of his at the O2, I was excited to notice a board advertising his autobiography, with the legend "Coming Soon". Wasting no time the following morning, I wandered into Waterstone's to discover that "Coming Soon" translated as "out the day before" and at half price, the book didn't stay long on the shelf.

          The "Life of Lee" tells Lee Evans' life story from growing up on a tough estate in Bristol, to his move to Essex and meeting with his wife, Heather. It covers his first ever prize-winning performance on stage and shows you the paths Lee took to becoming the hugely successful comedian he is today. He tells of his struggles to be accepted and to fit in and proves the truth behind the story that many comedians make other laugh either to hide their own insecurities or to stop from being bullied.

          The first thing that struck me about "The Life of Lee" and which makes it unusual in the canon of celebrity autobiographies is that he's not famous at any point during the book. Whereas many celebrities take their chance with their books to celebrate their successes and frequently use the chance to settle old scores, Lee Evans does none of that. Indeed, the book covers a period of his life when he was, as described by one of his teachers, a failure, and stops at the point at which he appears about to turn into the award winning, record breaking comedian many of us know and love.

          At some point in every show I've seen him, Lee stops to thank the crowd for coming and he always seems awed and humbled by the fact that so many people will pay so much money to come and see him perform. That attitude is what drives this book. Lee is as stunned here as he is on stage that he's become what he has and he shirks nothing in pointing out that he has become a success despite everything, not because of everything.

          This does leave a bit of a hole in the book for those who know his work well. It's fascinating to find out the truth behind Lee's life, but knowing parts of his story fairly well, there does seem to be a lot missing. It would have been interesting to see how he felt about the success he had and how he has grown as a person and as a comedian as his success and fame increased and particularly how his father, who thought Lee's attendance at art college a waste of time, reacted to his growing fame. Although he mentions the miscarriage Heather suffered, I know he has a teenage daughter he mentions frequently in his act, but there is no sign of her here. This is a wonderfully honest story as far as it goes, but it ends with the fan feeling that it perhaps doesn't go quite far enough and I hope there will be a second book at some point to tell the story of famous Lee, not just of failure Lee.

          Overall, however, this is a wonderful read. The honesty and insecurity that shines through does make it uncomfortable at times and seems completely at odds to the man you see on stage and screen. Apart from where he recounts his first stage appearance, there is very little of the man he became here and whilst he does occasionally pepper his story with the odd joke and you can find yourself sniggering here and there, this is not a book for someone who expects to be laughing all the way through. This is Lee Evans stripped to the bone, a story told with brutal honesty and offering as little comfort to the reader as the life offered the man himself.

          As difficult as it was to read at times, I enjoyed the book. A more casual fan may not have done, but I loved to hear the story of the man behind the stage presence and as a particular hater of celebrity autobiographies which showcase nothing but the ego of the person, I loved reading something completely at odds to the norm. I've been a huge fan of Lee Evans throughout his success and discovering how hard a road he took to becoming that Lee Evans has made me respect him even more.

          For the fan of Lee Evans, this is essential reading, more so for the major fan than the casual one. For someone expecting a laugh a second ride similar to one of his live shows, this is to be avoided. Personally, I found the book to be an almost humbling experience, but an uplifting one, showing that one man can overcome the odds. And at just half price of £10.00 in Waterstone's and on Amazon, it's incredible value for such an emotional experience.

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          13.10.2011 16:31
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          a great read!

          I LOVE LEE EVANS! Being a love-a-laugh person, Lee Evans is right up my street because he has such an unusual and in a way old-fashioned kind of comedy style. Not only is he a great comedian, but he is also a great physical comedian who never fails to get me into a stitch of laughter.

          I recently watched Lee Evans on The Jonathon Ross Show - and what a great laugh he was. He was on the show promoting his new book, and that is the first time that I heard about it.

          The book is called: "The Life Of Lee" which I think is a really catchy title. The book was released in October 2011 and so it is very recent. The book was published by Penguin Books. The hardback version of this book is currently available to buy from Play.com for a price of £10.99 which I do think is quite expensive for a book that will be probably selling for less than a fiver in a couple of weeks. However, at the same time, I do think that it is worth the money and would therefore say that it is great value for money.

          Once I had heard about this book, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Lee Evans and think that he is a comedy genius. I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book; would it be really funny just like Lee or would it be really serious and not like Lee at all. Let's find out shall we...

          I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. It is such a witty and highly entertaining read. I found this book to be 'typical of Lee' - the same words he would use, the same sense of humour.

          This book made me laugh out loud and at certain parts I could certainly imagine what he was describing happening. It just made me laugh. So I would definitely say that if you like Lee's sense of humour on stage, then you will definitely like this book as it is exactly the same kind of humour.

          I like the way that the book is written - you can tell that the book is in Lee's words and isn't just a 'make sure you mention this and mention that' kind of book. It really does seem like you have sat down with Lee for a cup of tea and a chat. As I was reading the book, I could hear Lee's voice telling me the story in my head. I also liked the way that this book came across as being quite intimate which gave the impression that Lee was only telling you things he would only tell his best friend which I thought was a good writing technique.

          Despite being a huge fan of Lee's, surprisingly I didn't know anything about him as person (apart from the funny personal stories he tells us on stage). So to me, Lee has always been somewhat of a mystery - so it was good to be finally able to see what the man behind the 'sweaty little character' on stage was really like.

          Because I didn't know anything about Lee, I found this book to be really interesting. I certainly learnt a lot about Lee from this book and I have to say that I was really shocked at some parts of the book as I just hadn't imagined things to be like that for Lee.

          For example, I would have imagined Lee to be really popular when he was younger. However, according to this book, he says that he is really shy and hates being around people. The only way he can relax is if he can be 'silly', which I found to be surprising. It is funny how someone so shy can go up on stage in front of thousands of people and do what he does best. He also says that he cannot be himself in front of people and that being around people makes him feel really uncomfortable. If he feels uncomfortable, he has to be silly and funny. I think that that is kind of sweet that he uses his sense of humour and sillyness as a kind of guard to hide behind.

          Despite his tough times, I think that it is really interesting how Lee looks on the positive and uses his stories and tough background as comedy material for his shows.

          With huge talent like Lee's, I would have thought that his way to the top had been an easy journey. Never would I have believed that he had in fact had a very tough time of it - from being booed off the stage in one venue, to nearly having his car stolen at another venue. This wasn't the only kind of bad times Lee had of it; he used to struggle on stage and no one would laugh at him. He certainly got there in the end though!

          I love how Lee comes across in this book - he's really friendly and silly and you just can't dislike him. I like the fact that he is really normal - a really genuine and down to earth guy. What amazes me is the fact that he does not realise how good he is - if you have seen one of his shows, you will know that in between jokes he does get a little bit shy and if the audience clap and cheer he can't believe that it is for him, which I think is sweet. It is also nice that he hasn't let fame go to his head. When reading this book, I kept forgetting that he was a really famous comedian - it felt as though I was reading someone 'normal's' book.

          Lee is not only a great comedian. He is actually a great musician (if you have seen one if shows, you will know that it is tradition for him to get up and sing a song at the end - he even plays the piano and guitar). He was also a boxer and even when to art college. He is such a talented guy and can turn his hand to anything.

          I also didn't realise that Lee's dad was a performer and Lee started out travelling around with dad and that is where he got the bug for performing which I thought was interesting. I wander what kind of performer his dad was like.

          This book is four hundred pages long - sounds a lot, and whilst I would consider myself to be a fast reader - I absolutely flew through this book. I was so intrigued by the story that I just kept on reading and reading, and just could not put the book down. Whenever I had to put the book down, I just kept thinking 'Argh!, when can I stop and read the book again?' I think that if I had had the time, I probably would have read it from beginning to end in one go.

          I have read many biographies in my time, however I would have to say that this book is probably one of the best books I have ever read. This book is such an honest and open read - you feel like you know a lot about Lee. By the end of the book I felt as though I was his best friend.

          Come to think of it, I am actually really surprised that a book about Lee Evans has never come out sooner. I mean he is a huge star in the UK and has been around for a number of years, from what I remember. So I think that it is odd that he has only just now told everyone his story, after a number of years of being a bit of a mystery.

          Despite really loving this book, I would have liked if there had been more about his family (his wife and daughter) and of more recent days rather than just the early, early days. However, I still really enjoyed this book.

          I think that an audio CD of this book would be really funny as then you could listen to the CD in the car - also hearing Lee's expressions would make it so funny. So hopefully they will release a CD of the book.

          I did hear Lee mention on The Jonathon Ross Show, that he was hoping that this book would do well, he would bring out 'the next part' of the book. So I hope that this book does well, which I am sure will, so that the fans (me included) get to see the 'next part'.

          I would definitely recommend this book - not just to Lee's fans, but to everyone. It really is an enjoyable and heart-warming read.

          Thanks for reading!
          October 2011
          Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x

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