HELP by Simon Amstell
Published by Random House on September 21st 2017
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Comedy, Entertainment & Performing Arts, General, Performing Arts, Personal Memoirs, Television
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Help! by Simon Amstell is one of those books that needs a celebrity’s name on the cover to get it published and read. In other words, if the draft hadn’t have said “By Simon Amstell” on the first page, it probably wouldn’t have got beyond an agent’s first glance.
However, we live in the Age of Celebrity, and we (including me) are keen to discover what’s going on in the heads of our celebrities.
Amstell’s “ego monster”
In Simon Amstell’s case, it’s a lot. His head is a jumble of hang-ups, anxieties, self-doubts and fears. Layered on top is an ego, which he calls his “ego monster.” Examples of this abound; he keeps telling us how funny he is.
The book describes losing his virginity, coming out, his many lovers throughout the years, and his out-of-the-body experiences on herbal medicine in Peru.
Amstell is a funny guy. But …
I love his pithy quips and one-liners. But long prose isn’t his medium. So this book is not hilarious. It’s amusing in places (mainly when he quotes material from his stand-up shows). On the whole, it’s a sad, heartbreaking but honest account of someone who seems to have spent the majority of life struggling with depression and loneliness. A cry for Help, in other words.
Thankfully at the end he also describes the happiness he has found with his current boyfriend. Long may it last.