... by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand - The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams.
Jerome Stevens makes people laugh for a living. Or he tries to .... The stand-up circuit is a world of extremes where money talks, agents slither and hecklers throw mince pies.
It's hard to balance the demands of touring with family life - especially when Jerome is a star everywhere except his own home and his seven-year-old son is his biggest critic.
Follow Jerome as he moves from the blind terror of a first open spot to being hounded out of Wales by an angry mob of brewery staff. As he chases the elusive beast that is laughter, meet violent bouncers, paranoid celebrities and humourless producers all competing to milk the comedy cash-cow. But exactly who is having the last laugh when he finds himself thrown into a Chinese prison.
....... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Preface): There is nothing in the world like the feeling of making lots of people laugh out loud all at once.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 246): Where do all these quotes on the back come from? 'Magnificent', 'A masterpiece', 'The must read book of the year'. Never 'Pretty cover, but a bit long' or 'Once I put it down I couldn't pick it up'. But thinking about it, they're just like quotes on posts at the Fringe. Quotes that adorn the walls, like texts in a church, to help you believe the impossible.
MY THOUGHTS: As a big fan of Milton Jones, an English comedian well known for his Hawaiian shirts and deadpan one-liners, it truly pains me to say that I found this, his first novel, a big disappointment.
The story of Jerome Stevens, an up and coming comedian. This felt a bit like a biography in as much as, written by someone who has been-there-and-done-that, it is obviously a very authentic read of life as lived on the comedy circuit. And indeed, though you couldn't mistake the not altogether likeable Jerome Stevens with Milton Jones, there are one or two comedians who, though renamed, readers may recognise - I'm sure I spotted Russell Brand and possibly Michael Barrymore in there.
Not unlike his stand-up persona (and as you'd probably expect) Milton writes with a wonderful turn of phrase. Though, just as you might also predict, whilst not exactly full of one-liners, his writing style is a bit erratic, the threads of the story not so much hopping as hurdling all over the place.
Amazing as a comic, I feel certain Milton has an equally amazing story in him. However, in my opinion, this isn't it.
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