I first started reading this book back in the late '90s, but for some reason I gave up. Somewhere around the beginning of his time in the monastery I think. So I returned to the book, some ten years later, with some trepidation – maybe I'd given up on it because it just wasn't that good.
In short, Tom Baker is nuts. He's bonkers, bats in the belfry, crazy. But he's also charming, funny and has both a genuinely interesting story to tell and an engaging and cheeky style with which to tell it. Who on Earth is Tom Baker? is his autobiography, from his childhood in Liverpool where he wanted to be an orphan, through his time as a monk, his time in the army, becoming an actor and eventually (the pinnacle of any actor's career) Doctor Who. And, let's not kid ourselves here folks – Tom Baker is
His story seems to be that of a hard life (for want of a better cliché). His working class childhood in Liverpool, his brutal Catholic education, the austerity of the monastery, and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his first marriage. He appears to be a man who isn't that keen on himself, his past or, especially, his hangups. He seems to feel he has a larger number of those than other people, and that many of the decisions he made in his life were wrong, flawed or based on a false belief system. He copes with this by mocking himself and his own past, quite systematically, throughout the book. Yet he still writes with the same wit and excitement that I remember from his time as The Doctor. It's always a pleasure to read an autobiography that is more than just a list of things that have occurred in their life, and this one is that...