After his 'autobiography', [b:My Shit Life So Far|6484260|My Shit Life So Far|Frankie Boyle|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1328421341s/6484260.jpg|6675584]
, this is neither a straight autobiography, nor strictly non-fiction. Instead the book alternates, chapter by chapter, between a fictional account of Frankie Boyle living in a high-rise flat in Glasgow and a series of non-fictional diatribes against everything Boyle doesn't like about the world. There is a very
tenuous Kevin-Bacon-style link between myself and Frankie; which means that this copy, which my parents bought for me, is personally inscribed with a Christmas message.
The fictional half of the book appears to be set after the period covered by My Shit Life So Far
Boyle is living alone in a flat at the top of a Glasgow high-rise. A flat which he's extended with a secret annex containing his weird model of the people and places around him which he toys with in an almost voodoo way. The story mixes, presumably at least partially true, personal anecdotes of time with his children and attempts to get work post-Mock-the-Week. In the background is the story of a rapist who is targeting b-list celebrities who are no longer in the spotlight as much as they were – starting with Dom Joly. Contacted by the police, Boyle initially worries that he's a suspect, but in fact, more worryingly, they are treating him as a potential victim.
The non-fiction half of the book is a series of essays/diatribes/rants on everything that Boyle thinks is wrong with our society: war, comedy, Tories, Lib Dems, immigration, the news of the world, terrorism, the death of Osama bin Laden and homoeopathy (he actually manages to combine those two into a single joke which is pretty impressive) etc. But singled out the most is throwaway entertainment culture, as typified by our national obsession with programmes like the X-Factor, The Voice, Britain's Got Talent etc. All of these programmes come in for heavy ridicule, as do the judges on them. Unfortunately, the non-fiction section, which had potential, fails to live up to that. Each of Boyle's discussions never really goes anywhere. Instead of developing them, they are used only as a platform for more of his jokes. Obviously, as Boyle is a comedian, it's probably unfair to expect anything else. But it would have been interesting if he'd tried.
The jokes are the expected mixture of sharp insight and deeply offensive humour that he has become both loved and reviled for. No subject is every considered off-limits for Boyle's humour and if you aren't prepared to sit through some uncomfortable chapters where one, or more, of your own sacred cows are picked apart then this isn't the book for you.