Book review: And Away… by Bob Mortimer

Synopsis

Bob Mortimer’s life was trundling along happily until suddenly in 2015 he was diagnosed with a heart condition that required immediate surgery and forced him to cancel an upcoming tour. The episode unnerved him, but forced him to reflect on his life so far. This is the framework for his hilarious and moving memoir, And Away…

Although his childhood in Middlesbrough was normal on the surface, it was tinged by the loss of his dad, and his own various misadventures (now infamous from his appearances on Would I Lie to You?), from burning down the family home to starting a short-lived punk band called Dog Dirt. As an adult, he trained as a solicitor and moved to London. Though he was doing pretty well (the South London Press once crowned him ‘The Cockroach King’ after a successful verdict), a chance encounter in a pub in the 1980s with a young comedian going by the name Vic Reeves set his life on a different track. And now, six years on, the heart condition that once threatened his career has instead led to new success on BBC2’s Gone Fishing.

Warm, profound, and irrepressibly funny, And Away… is Bob’s full life story (with a few lies thrown in for good measure).

Review

This was such a funny, heart-warming and surprisingly touching autobiography!

I’m so glad I listened to this via audio. It was great to experience Bob’s story via his own narration. There are some lovely touches in here such as Bob singing some of his comedy songs and little moments where’s he’s clearly recalling a memory which makes him laugh. Also something I really loved was how you could hear the emotions in his voice as he recalled stories, from the death of his dad and taking an old man home on Christmas Eve from the pub, to childhood memories of silly games he used to play with his mates and meeting celebrities he loved for the very first time. Those are all the little things you miss when you read a book, so the audio is highly recommended.

Vic Reeves & Bob meeting and becoming a duo was my favourite part. His warm words towards his best friend had me feeling all warm and fuzzy. It was so much fun hearing how their shows were created. It’s obvious that a lot of their work is unscripted but finding out that they kept secrets even from each other as to what they were going to do in their shows was wonderful. I love seeing actors break character through laughing and it’s always something you get with Vic & Bob.

I get that not everyone likes Mortimer’s comedy, but this book is much more than about just that. He touches on depression, his anxiety and shyness, his happy and sad childhood memories, his heart surgery and eventual recovery and much more.

This was just as wonderful as I had hoped it would be. Even if you don’t know much about Bob outside of his appearance on panel shows, I think if you have taken a liking to him at any point, this is well worth a read/listen!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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