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Jon Richardson is another one of those recent comedians who seemed to just pop up out of nowhere and, all of a sudden, was everywhere. He's a team captain on '8 out of 10 cats' and regularly appears as a guest on other comedy panel shows as well as stand up comedy TV programs. Fortunately I don't mind him popping up on TV regularly as I find him very funny. His mostly innocent observational comedy, in which he is often the butt of the joke, is funny, easy to watch, and entertaining. Reading his book was something I was inevitably going to do eventually and I'm thoroughly pleased that I did!
'It's Not Me, It's You!' is Jon's written account of his journey to find 'the one'. Whilst the book isn't an autobiography as such it is written in an autobiographical way, it's almost a diary really. Jon takes us through four days of his life living in Swindon on his quest to find his significant other. He might be an overly compulsive and obsessive person, slightly socially inept and living on his own, uncomfortable with spontaneous acts and not being completely in control of all aspects of his life but he doesn't want to continue living like this. This late twenties man thinks it's about time he found someone to share his life with after eight years of living the single life. Unfortunately when things look slightly promising for him his negative frame of mind kicks in to the extent where you could say he's his own worst enemy.
As you'd expect from a comedian, the book is funny. Hilariously so in fact with plenty of laugh out loud opportunities proving it an embarrassing read in public. His witty humour is found throughout the book as he pokes fun at very relatable issues (the phrase 'it's funny because it's true' will probably spring to mind a good few times).
However, this isn't a book to be read if looking for cover to cover laughs. Whilst there are plenty of funny antidotes and scenarios, Jon's book goes deeper than that. He's keen to see the bad relationships as it makes him feel better about not being in one himself, after all, why get married in the first place if you're just going to resent one another twenty years down the line but be stuck with them because it's better than dying alone? Who wants to spend their days arguing with someone they chose to be with in the first place?
What impressed me about the book was how honestly Jon Richardson writes. This is a detailed and thoroughly personal account, in places it felt like a stream of consciousness and we get to know the 'real' Jon Richardson rather than his stage persona. His writing style stays true to his comic style where, if you've seen him perform anyway, you can clearly imagine him saying a lot of things written in the book. Jon lets us know what he doesn't like about himself and his life in a genuine way whilst the comic styling takes away the 'heaviness' of the message he's putting across. Whilst his attitude is rather pessimistic and outlook on life quite bleak, the book doesn't drain all of the happiness and life out of you and is still quite light and entertaining and just enjoyable. It was one of those books where I found myself half way through before I'd even noticed I'd started reading it. He manages to make detailed accounts of the most mundane of tasks entertaining and enjoyable to read.
We find out that he feels comfortable taking full responsibility for everything in his life. If things go wrong and he likes to be able to blame that entirely on himself so he can prevent it from happening again. Even the tiniest of things winds him up and makes him angry with himself and his obsessive compulsive tendencies make him a nightmare to live with, that much he is fully aware of. Is it really fair to allow someone to enter that world not really knowing what they're getting themselves into? Why would anyone even want to enter his world anyway? The message throughout the book appears to be 'if I don't like myself then why is anybody else going to like me?' and can't we all relate to that feeling from time to time?
In short, if you like Jon Richardson you'll definitely like his book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself wanting more the moment I'd finished it. I highly recommend this one.
Published by HarperCollins, 2011.
ISBN - 978007414949
Pages - 304
Price - £8.39 from Amazon (from 90p used and £2.60 new). Kindle Edition £3.99
Jon Richardson has been one of my favourite comedians for a while now, and I love watching him in stand-up, or as a team captain on weekly panel show, 8 out of 10 cats. He has been doing comedy since 2003 but only really come to light in the last year or so, mainly thanks to the aforementioned popular Channel 4 show.
When I saw this book advertised I had to have it as I do love a funny book and I thought this one probably wouldn't disappoint.
Something he often talks about during his stand-up routines is his OCD like habits and his general need to do things properly. He is basically a perfectionist who takes things to the next level, on the back of this book he sums it up by describing himself as a 'cutlery-coordinating, tessellation-toasting, parallel-pen-placing, punctuation pendant.'
This book is basically about his quest to find his 'significantly tidy other' as he has been single for nearly 9 years. This would appear to be down to his rigid views about how things should be done, his numerous hang-ups and obsessions and his irritations about many things. He is funny, good looking, intelligent and succesful, so I don't imagine him having a shortage of offers!
Despite this book being described as quest for love, it's actually more of a very funny insight into the life and thoughts of Jon. The book is written kind of as a diary, which only spans four days but branches off into other anecdotes and tangents throughout. This book is not an autobiography but I believe most or all of the stories/thoughts in the book are either true or based on truth (with maybe a little tweaking for humour reasons.) Nearly all the stories, thoughts, and events in the book are centered around Richardson's obsession for perfection and black and white views on the way things should be.
One of my favourite things about this book is the fact that Jon Richardson actually is, in my opinion, a really good writer. I've read other articles he's written too, and he definitely has an ability for writing in an entertaining and articulate manner. The other thing I love about this book is that is made me laugh out loud several times throughout. Some of the stories, coupled with the way he writes them really are hilarious. The book doesn't feel like it tries too hard to be funny either, the stories in it just generally are very amusing.
The RRP for this book is £11.99 but I bought it for around £6 on Amazon. I don't think I've ever paid £12 for a regular paper back book, but I think it is worth the £6 I did pay.
Overall I would recommend this book, particularly if you are already a fan of Jon Richardson. I think the fact that I already like him definitely made the book funnier as I could really imagine him saying some of the things in the book. If you're not a fan of his stand-up or comedy style you probably won't enjoy this book as his style of writing and what he writes about is along the same lines of his stand-up. If you don't know who he is then I really recommend watching his stand-up, watching him on 8 out of 10 cats, or/and reading this book.
A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of this as a late Christmas present in paperback form. I'd heard of Jon Richardson before, and in fact enjoyed both his stand up and appearances on hit panel shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats wherein he is a team leader against Sean Lock. Both are funnily enough, some of my favourite comedians, as I love the weird, unusual and awkward elements of their humour. With this in mind, I eagerly sat down to read my copy and readily finished it.
This book is not an autobiography (as Jon explains almost immediately) and neither is it a desperate search for love. Rather, in this book Jon Richardson simply seeks to explain his particular viewpoint and grievances with the dating world, how for years it has consistently let him down. I too am an introvert, so it was refreshing to hear an explanation for the life I choose to lead put forward in such an eloquent and funny way. He makes sure to say throughout, that the book is not to everyone's tastes, and I agree to an extent. He is relatable to only few, as I assume not everyone is a perfectionist to such an extent they eat their food in a precise, efficient manner and must wake up in a certain way in order to look back on the day as having been successful. But despite this, his non-perfection, which ironically is coming from a perfectionist, is sweet and reassuring, as we are able to understand that even the best of us struggle at times.
The humour within this book isn't forced or contrived, but rather Richardson is able to allow the 'funny' to evade his work and so it doesn't feel non-genuine at all. It would have been very easy for him to write a book for the sake of selling books but instead what he did do was much more heart warming and honest. It is almost weird to me that his life story is so succinct and flows excellently, as though he was a character of fiction and not a real person. But perhaps that is what makes this book so great, in fact it definitely is, as well as Jon Richardson himself who is both interesting and unusual in equal amounts.
When considering whether or not to read this book you must decide if you are looking for a romantic tale of an awkward guy who finally gets the girl. If that is what you are looking for, then this book is probably not for you, because Richardson doesn't intend to give away his whole life story and neither is he particularly successful in the dating world. Rather this book is a humourous, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and often cynical look at the dating world and its negligence of people just like Jon. Richardson has said "it is not a autobiography" but rather it is a "relationship guide from the point of view of someone who hasn't been in one for eight years", which makes for a dynamic and thought provoking read.
Jon Richardson, although not that well known, is one of the funniest comedians around at the moment. He has appeared on various comedy shows such as Live At The Apollo or 8 Out Of Ten Cats, and when on these shows he always provides laugh out loud moments for the audience. His book is no different to that, as throughout the whole thing he had me laughing at his weird anecdotes or quirks. I bought it for around £3 in the January sales at a book outlet, and it is around this price still.
It's style is similar to an autobiography, but not in the sense that it details every single pinpoint of his life but that he talks about his weird quirks and things he does throughout his life. If you've heard of Jon Richardson on his radio shows or on television, you'll be used to his sense of humour, and it's no different within this book. His book reminds me of his stand up, just condensed into book form, as he uses the same style of humour as he does within his shows making fun of his OCD style traits and how this makes him unattractive to the opposite sex.
I can't really describe the plot of the book, as well, there isn't one! Most of the book is just Richardson giving little anecdotes about his life, that are certain to amuse the reader. This book is quite short with 233 pages, however the font size is quite big making it longer than it would be at normal size font. I finished it within a day, but thats simply because I just couldn't put it down. If there is anyone who likes short, funny books I would definitely say give this one a try. You can also just pick up the book whenever you feel like reading, and never have to read over it again because there is no plot to follow!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short, easy to read book that gives you laugh out loud moments. It would make for the perfect gift for someone similar to Jon as many find his traits recognisable within themselves!