June 20, 2011

My Booky Wook Continued

Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal by Russell Brand
reviewed by Courtney

Russell Brand, the British comedian, is probably most famous in the U.S.A. for roles in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek, as well as his highly public marriage to pop star Katy Perry. His first memoir, My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up, published in 2007, recounts Brand's struggles with addictions to crack and heroin as he pursues fame as a comedian in Britain. This follow-up to the highly successful first book picks up almost exactly where the first left off, as a now sober Brand faces the ramifications of the fame he'd sought and indulges his extensive and explicitly detailed sex addiction.

Like My Booky Wook, Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal is both painfully honest and unfailingly lighthearted in its presentation of Brand's lifestyle and personal issues. His absurd sexual exploits rival those of his drug-fueled past in their depravity and the hilarity of their presentation, and in many ways the memoir reads like an extended stand-up routine. Fans of Brand's extremely personal, self-centered comedy will appreciate the tone, and likely recognize some of the content as material from his stand-up.

Now that Brand is famous, his anecdotes are more likely to concern other celebrities, and the book provides an interesting insight to situations like navigating a brief affair with Kate Moss, or cultivating friendships with musical icons like Morrissey and Noel Gallagher. Brand is as unflinching in his recounting of his career mistakes as his successes, most notably the 2008 prank telephone calls to Andrew Sachs made on-air with Jonathon Ross on The Russell Brand Show that led to his resignation from the BBC. These more serious anecdotes, however, are largely outnumbered by his raunchy accounts of outrageous sexual encounters.

The first book, in addressing his quest for fame, personal history, and problems with drugs and alcohol, had a greater depth of material and conflict than this follow-up, and occasionally Brand's account of his struggles with his sudden fame and sex addiction can grow irritatingly repetitive. This second memoir is sustained largely by the strength of Brand's personality, his charisma, and the sheer kinetic energy of his rambling, quick-witted narration, rather than the content itself.

Brand has perfected this narcissistic, uncensored, and dizzyingly verbose persona to a point that occasionally almost verges on mental illness, so it is refreshing to see flashes of a more personal, self-aware side in his account of his relationship with Katy Perry. As Brand constructed his comic identity almost entirely around the unflinching examination of his outrageous exploits and missteps, it will be interesting to see if it can hold up now that he has cut not only drugs and alcohol but also promiscuous sex from his lifestyle.

Posted by at June 20, 2011 04:33 PM
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