Memoir: “My Booky Wook” by Russell Brand

After watching Get Him to the Greek, my friend went out and bought My Booky Wook. She read it in, like, a day, and then gave it to me to read. And because it was a book I was borrowing (and not one I’d bought months ago), I started reading it immediately so as to return it to her as soon as possible.

It took me entirely too long to read this book. And I’m not sure why. I like Russell Brand – he was hilarious on Conan – and Get Him to the Greek was funny enough. He totally stole Forgetting Sarah Marshall from Jason Segal and Kristen Bell (I almost called her Veronica Mars for a second). What I especially love about Russell Brand (and, if you want to get into it, Ricky Gervais as well) is his accent and how multi-syllabic words are spit out in his choppy, Essex lilt. And as I write this, I wonder if the book was too long because after a while, it stopped sounding like Russell Brand and just like any other sort of book(y wook).

I think everyone can agree that even the most ridiculous things sound completely logical and intelligent when spoken in a down-and-dirty British accent. And what I love about Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais, and Monty Python’s band of lovable scamps is that they routinely speak of intelligent, scholarly things, and their appearance and their accents completely belie the initial assumption that they wouldn’t talk about those things because they look like they wouldn’t know what they’re talking about. Wait — that came out completely wrong. Let’s try this: this is something I’ve contemplated in the past, but Brand manages to speak of it quite easily:

When we first got Topsy [his first childhood pet], she would be allowed to sleep in the bed with me: I hope it is not necessary for me to stress the platonic nature of that relationship — not platonic in the purist sense, there was no philosophical discourse, but we certainly didn’t fuck, which is usually what people mean by platonic; which I bet would really piss Plato off, that for all his thinking and chatting his name has become an adjective for describing sexless trysts. [44]

Wouldn’t that piss Plato off? I mean, if I were known in my time as a symbol for higher thinking and pure contemplation, only to learn that two thousand (or so) years after my demise, my name has come to be associated with the first two-thirds of When Harry Met Sally. Come on.

If you’re expecting some hilarious, Hollywood inside track in this book, look elsewhere. My Booky Wook is strictly about Brand’s life – his childhood in a somewhat broken home, his deisre to be an actor and famous above all else, and for a good amount of the book, his life as an addict of multiple vices. Between alcohol, drugs, heroin, and sexual addiction, he has covered all the addictive bases (except for chocolate and sugar – but perhaps he left that for My Booky Wook 2).

Russell Brand’s determination and intention shine through on every page, and it’s well-written. In the end, I’m not sure why I didn’t like it more. Actually, my friend Brad and I discussed this briefly as I told him that I had read the book(y wook) and didn’t really like it. He said, “I like him, but in small doses. Get Him to the Greek? I wanted to shoot myself. But he was hilarious in that Veronica Mars movie.” And I think that’s it: it took so long to read because Russell Brand is a good-in-small-doses comedian. Over three hundred pages of Russell Brand is too much Russell Brand.

Grade for My Booky Wook: 1.5 stars

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