Booktrust review of HNTGU

How Not to Grow Up: a coming of age memoir. Sort of.
By Richard Herring

Published by Ebury

Comedy legend Richard Herring compiles years of diaries, blogs and Edinburgh shows in this handy instructional guide on how to turn forty and fight every impulse to lead a normal life, find a girl, settle down… if he wants he can get married (like Cat Stevens, or Boyzone would have wanted).

Herring hilariously recounts the days leading up to and after turning forty, flipping between key events in his life, including retellings of his best fights, strange dalliances with girls and surreal conversations with kids, leading to the epiphany that turning forty, doing a stand-up show about trying to have a ménage-a-trois and drinking yourself silly every life is not the most fulfilling way to life your life.

The book, scatological and written as enagingly as a stand-up routine- with tangents, throwback jokes and impressively extreme similes- is laugh-out loud funny at every turn, and Herring’s honesty is what propels it. His fascination with his own disgusting depths, his analysis of his faults and foibles, and the yardstick by which he measures himself make for some great writing- and this is down to the complete openness with which he presents himself to the reader.

There are so many comedian biographies out at the moment but this one really counts because it’s been lovingly written and carries as much of Herring’s personality as it does material, that despite the fact that it’s been road-tested in a variety of formats, still feels fresh and vibrant with every page. Now, if only he’d write a fiction book…