Friday, June 15, 2018

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
By Eddie Izzard
Random House, 2017, 385 pgs. Biography

British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard writes about his life, his comedy, and his charity marathon running is this candid and conversational autobiography. After his mother died when he was only 6 years old, he and his brother attended boarding schools for much of their adolescence. It was here that he discovered he wanted to act, and that he had a flare for comedy. He spends a great deal of the book talking about his youth and how his early life influenced his worldview, which in turn influences his comedy, and on his years of work getting his comedy career off the ground. Izzard spends less time on topics that might interest his fans- like coming out and thriving as transgender, his political activism, or notable past acting roles- both dramatic and comedic. The stories he does include have his signature wit and surreal observances, and broaden the readers understanding of how his mind works to bring out the humor and absurdity in the world at large.

The book has the same pacing as his stand-up does; he moves quickly from topic to topic and seems to have a stream of consciousness way of getting from one story to the next. I listened to the audio book version, which Izzard reads, and that added a level of delight and humor- and a lot of side information and stories that he’d preface with “Now, this isn’t in the book…” I would recommend this book to those who are already know and love Izzard and his comedy, and highly recommend giving the audio book version a listen for a good laugh.


1 comment:

Breanne said...

I am a fan of Eddie Izzard's and enjoyed this very personal telling of his life. I watched the Believe documentary, but this book obviously has more personal takes on events like his mother's death, his early career, and his coming out than the documentary did. I found the most interesting section to be the one about his coming out, both the hardship surrounding it and the lessons he learned and how he overcame them. I listened to the audiobook, which has copious extra "footnotes" provided by Izzard as he narrated, which are both fun and distracting from the main narrative. There are large sections which probably should have been edited out - I don't think people really need to be informed about every vague memory from early childhood that you can recall - but there's enough substance from his later life that it's worth wading through. Definitely a remarkable life and a kind and caring person.