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My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up

My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up

3.7 275
by Russell Brand

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“A child’s garden of vices, My Booky Wook is also a relentless ride with a comic mind clearly at the wheel.... The bloke can write. He rhapsodizes about heroin better than anyone since Jim Carroll. With the flick of his enviable pen, he can summarize childhood thus: ‘My very first utterance in life was not a single word, but a sentence.


“A child’s garden of vices, My Booky Wook is also a relentless ride with a comic mind clearly at the wheel.... The bloke can write. He rhapsodizes about heroin better than anyone since Jim Carroll. With the flick of his enviable pen, he can summarize childhood thus: ‘My very first utterance in life was not a single word, but a sentence. It was, ‘Don’t do that.’... Russell Brand has a compelling story." — New York Times Book Review

The gleeful and candid New York Times bestselling autobiography of addiction, recovery, and rise to fame from Russell Brand, star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and one of the biggest personalities in comedy today.

Editorial Reviews

When Russell Brand was still an infant, his father abandoned the family. Raised as an only child by his mother, this lonely young boy exhibited extreme symptoms, later diagnosed as evidence of bipolar syndrome. By the time he was in his mid-teens, Russell was bulimic, cutting himself, drinking, taking drugs—and performing outrageous stand-up comedy. As his underground reputation grew, so did his problems. In 2003, addicted to heroin and with 11 arrests to his name, he decided to put an end to his excesses. Already hailed as the most talented comic to emerge in Britain in a decade, Brand became a truly international star, stealing the show in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and hosting the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. This moxie memoir recaps it all. Now in paperback. (Hand-selling tip: Brand, who has a regular column in The Guardian, is a compelling writer. The original edition of this book won the 2008 British Book Award for Biography of the Year.)

The Guardian
“A scandalous, libidinous memoir. . . . There is nothing [Brand] won’t reveal in search of a laugh and nothing he hasn’t done in search of love or experience or oblivion. . . . . An exceptional combination of candor, ardor, and humor.
Entertainment Weekly
“Hilarious. . . . A richly detailed memoir that’s peppered with both evocative descriptions of the author’s homeland and memorable lines... Brand promises here another tome ‘about how it feels to be famous.’ To my shame, I can’t wait.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“’The most talented stand-up comedian to emerge in Britain this decade.”
New York Times
“I laughed out loud at least a dozen times. . . . To my shame, I’ll admit I sort of liked My Booky Wook.”
New York Times Book Review
A child’s garden of vices, My Booky Wook is also a relentless ride with a comic mind clearly at the wheel. . . . The bloke can write. He rhapsodizes about heroin better than anyone since Jim Carroll. . . . Compelling.

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My Booky Wook

A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up

By Russell Brand
Copyright © 2009

Russell Brand
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-173041-2

Chapter One April Fool

On the morning of April Fools' Day, 2005, I woke up in a sexual addiction treatment center in a suburb of Philadelphia. As I limped out of the drab dog's bed in which I was expected to sleep for the next thirty wankless nights, I observed the previous incumbent had left a thread of unravelled dental floss by the pillow-most likely as a noose for his poor, famished dinkle.

When I'd arrived the day before, the counselors had taken away my copy of the Guardian, as there was a depiction of the Venus de Milo on the front page of the Culture section, but let me keep the Sun, which obviously had a Page 3 lovely. What kind of pervert police force censors a truncated sculpture but lets Keeley Hazell pass without question? "Blimey, this devious swine's got a picture of a concrete bird with no arms-hanging's too good for him, to the incinerator! Keep that picture of stunner Keeley though." If they were to censor London Town they would ignore Soho but think that the statue of Alison Lapper in Trafalgar Square had been commissioned by Caligula.

Being all holed up in the aptly named KeyStone clinic (while the facility did not have its own uniformed police force, the suggestion of bungling silent film cops is appropriate) was an all too familiar drag. Not that I'd ever been incarcerated in sex chokey before, lord no, but it was the umpteenth time that I'd been confronted with the galling reality that there are things over which I have no control and people who can force their will upon you. Teachers, sex police, actual police, drug counselors; people who can make you sit in a drugless, sexless cell either real or metaphorical and ponder the actuality of life's solitary essence. In the end it's just you. Alone.

Who needs that grim reality stuffed into their noggin of a morning? Not me. I couldn't even distract myself with a wank over that gorgeous slag Venus de Milo; well, she's asking for it, going out all nude, not even wearing any arms.

The necessity for harsh self-assessment and acceptance of death's inevitability wasn't the only thing I hated about that KeyStone place. No, those two troubling factors vied for supremacy with multitudinous bastard truths. I hated my fucking bed: the mattress was sponge, and you had to stretch your own sheet over this miserable little single divan in the corner of the room. And I hated the fucking room itself where the strangled urges of onanism clung to the walls like mildew. I particularly hated the American gray squirrels that were running around outside-just free, like idiots, giggling and touching each other in the early spring sunshine. The triumph of these little divs over our indigenous, noble, red, British squirrel had become a searing metaphor for my own subjugation at the hands of the anti-fuck-Yanks. To make my surrender to conformity more official I was obliged to sign this thing (see page 6).

I wish I'd been photographed signing it like when a footballer joins a new team grinning and holding a pen. Or that I'd got an attorney to go through it with a fine-tooth comb: "You're gonna have to remove that no bumming clause," I imagine him saying. Most likely you're right curious as to why a fella who plainly enjoys how's yer father as much as I do would go on a special holiday to "sex camp" (which is a misleading title as the main thrust of their creed is "no fucking"). The short answer is I was forced. The long answer is this ...

Many people are skeptical about the idea of what I like to call "sexy addiction," thinking it a spurious notion, invented primarily to help Hollywood film stars evade responsibility for their unrestrained priapic excesses. But I reckon there is such a thing.

Addiction, by definition, is a compulsive behavior that you cannot control or relinquish, in spite of its destructive consequences. And if the story I am about to recount proves nothing else, it demonstrates that this formula can be applied to sex just as easily as it can be to drugs or alcohol.

Having successfully rid myself, one day at a time, in my twenties, of parallel addictions to the ol' drugs and drinks-if you pluralize drink to drinks and then discuss it with the trembling reverence that alcoholics tend to, it's funny, e.g., "My life was destroyed by drinks," "I valued drinks over my wife and kids." Drinks! I imagine them all lined up in bottles and glasses with malevolent intent, the bastards-I was now, at this time, doing a lot of monkey business.

I have always accrued status and validation through my indiscretions (even before I attained the unique accolade of "Shagger of the Year" from the Sun-not perhaps the greatest testimonial to the good work they do at KeyStone), but sex is also recreational for me. We all need something to help us unwind at the end of the day. You might have a glass of wine, or a joint, or a big delicious blob of heroin to silence your silly brainbox of its witterings, but there has to be some form of punctuation, or life just seems utterly relentless.

And this is what sex provides for me-a breathing space, when you're outside of yourself and your own head. Especially in the actual moment of climax, where you literally go, "Ah, there's that, then. I've unwound. I've let go." Not without good reason do the French describe an orgasm as a "little death." That's exactly what it is for me (in a good way though, obviously)-a little moment away, a holiday from my head. I hope death is like a big French orgasm, although meeting Saint Peter will be embarrassing, all smothered in grog and shrouded in post-orgasmic guilt.


Excerpted from My Booky Wook by Russell Brand Copyright © 2009 by Russell Brand . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Russell Brand is a comedian, journalist, TV and radio presenter, and actor. He has won numerous awards including Time Out’s Comedian of the Year, Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards, Best TV Performer at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, and Most Stylish Man at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. The first installment of his autobiography, My Booky Wook, was a New York Times bestseller.

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My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 275 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing. I've had it for some time, and I highly recommend it. Russell Brand is an extremely talented writer, in addition to his stand up, which is also amazing. His story is an inspiration to anyone who is trying to overcome any sort of demon, no matter what size it is.
DeeBoone More than 1 year ago
Mr. Brand writes affectingly about his hard-up youth in the inhospitable surroundings of Essex, where at the tender age of 6 months, he was abandoned by his father. Consequently he was raised by his forsaken mother. Soon he plunges head first into sex, drugs and rock and roll. Mr. Brand was so fanatical about sex, even as a boy, he writes, that he was unable to play the game Battleship because it made him think of bra sizes. Mr. Brand admits he's "always been drawn to the seamier side of life," and his memoir is crammed with sleaze. Just the same, this mischievous and hilarious journal is not just the story of a sex crazed junkie, it's also about deliverance and resolve.
DeniseWI More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, I am a big fan of Russell Brand, he has a very unique style of writing,his book spanned a period of his life that was someimes sad,horrible and self destructive. But the guy apperars to have some how came through, you can at times see that he did things that were truly out of bounds but he had and still does have a quality that makes you see he is a good person at heart and so you root for him and you can see that he as all of us are worth the effort and a few people saw that and helped him.
VikTorious More than 1 year ago
My Booky Wook is an autobiography of Russell Brand, a British comedian. Russell Brand has a squalid sense of humor!! Throughout his story he explains the many things that happened to him, whilst he was rising to the top. He elaborates on his sexual trysts and drug habits, and explains that one must never give up on their dreams. Brand's book is jam packed with similes and metaphors and alliteration. He says things like "he treated me like a clothed chimp" and "the doors of perception are about to be flung open." He uses a great many of the literary devices. Perhaps the best device that he uses is his diction/syntax. The words that Brand put onto paper were very obviously carefully chosen. Each word is distinct is its place and enable the reader to vividly see what he is describing. Now, that is not to say that some things he describes is something a reader might want to see!! The best part of this book was the author's humor. Russell Brand has got to be one the funniest men on this planet. His humor only adds to his personality...it is no wonder that he was a lady's man. His sense of humor is like no other...unless you are me. Both of us can be a little twisted and maybe that is why his book was so awesome to me!! The worst part of this book is most definitely Brand himself. He is undoubtedly a bad man. He got very very dirty, but he seems to have come out pretty clear to me. I believe that Brand wrote this book as sort of an apology to the world because he turned out so terrible! I would recommend My Booky Wook to a select few of other people. Firstly, one must have a cultivated sense of humor and secondly, they must be some sort of an intellectual. For Brand may have done some wishy washy things in his life, but he is smart...and he has good lessons to teach for those who will listen!
AmandaCA More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It was the most interesting biography I've read. I was amazed at how much i was into it. At some points during my reading, i thought "Wow,that was really open. I wouldn't have been able to open up so much in a book that's going to be open for millions of people to read." I was amazed at how much he had opened up. I'd recommend this book to anybody looking for a good read. Reading this book has only made me love Russell Brand more. He's such an amazing comedian,author, and person. This book, i believe, proves it.
burtonfan More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Russell, and I love the way he narrates his life experiences. I had a hard time putting this book down.
panda_triste More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly what you would expect, especially if you've seen Russel Brand do his own material before. It is basically a collection of anecdotes describing everything that has gone wrong in his life, given in a facetious while oddly earnest way. Though the self loathing became a little old after a while, I still loved most of the book and at least liked the rest. *Note: If you do not have a large vocabulary, keep a dictionary handy.
charterdemand More than 1 year ago
I adore Russell Brand. He has the quick wit that only a genius can carry off. I am reading the book a second time because I liked it so much. His long-winded style of writing as he proves in stand-up as well really works for me because in all those words there is a wealth of information. If you have seen his antics you will know that he not only did NOT make anything up but he did in fact write that book. I highly recommend it to open minded intellectual people.
onion_girl More than 1 year ago
Russell Brand is a very funny man with some serious demons. I don't usually read biographies except auto-bios by comedians. I enjoy the first hand look at what goes on in their heads. This account of Mr. Brand's life is "no holds barred" and distinctly in his voice. Reading it is like listening to a complete stranger tell you about every intimate and embarrassing detail of their life. It's a novel written by a lascivious exhibitionist for a voyeuristic public. I enjoyed it immensely.
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
In "My Booky Wook," Russell Brand chronicles his pre-stardom years-growing up near London and frequently getting himself into all kinds of painful (for him) and funny (for the readers) misadventures. A famous comedian in the U.K., best known in the U.S. for his roles in the Judd Apatow comedies "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," as well as gigs like hosting the MTV Video Music Awards, Russell Brand's life tends to mirror his art. Growing up without a father figure and with a sick mother, Brand is mostly left to his own devices-which usually doesn't turn out very well. At sixteen, he decides to become an actor and enrolls in the prestigious Italia Conti drama school-only to be kicked out during his last semester due to his pre-occupation with drugs. As a result, Brand moves in with a few of his friends and decides to become a stand-up comedian-peforming in pubs and festivals. However, his self-destructive ways (drug abuse, alcoholism, sex addiction) interfere with his dreams and soon Brand is barely getting by. Everything changes when Russell lands a U.S. MTV hosting gig-that he eventually loses shortly after introducing Kylie Minogue to his drug dealer and wearing a controversial costume. The above instance perhaps best characterizes Brand's lengthy memoir-crazy but simultaneously hilarious. Russell Brand has obviously been through a lot in his life, but nevertheless manages to recount the majority of the outrageous situations he gets himself into, as one big entertaining read. It definitely invites a sequel into Brand's life post-stardom. Fans of entertaining celebrity memoirs will enjoy this.
Mama-bear More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and many times found myself laughing out loud and wanting to read certain pages out loud to my partner. There are bits of it that I found uncomfortable - but I'm glad I kept on - the humor is absolutely worth it. I've only recently discovered that I like memoirs and this one stands out. I borrowed it from the public library at first and knew right away that I would have to buy a copy to send to my brother as a birthday gift. Check him out in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall - he steals the show in my opinion. He has too small a part in Bedtime Stories. He has a new stand-up DVD coming out soon and I will definitely be buying it for myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Russell Brand's comedy is something you enjoy or you don't, as proof of his stand up gigs compared to the debacle that was the VMAs. He's honest throughout the piece talking about his life as a drug addict, a sex addict, and an all around glutton for punishment with a sense of humor that keeps you reading and wondering "where the hell is he going to go next?" But the thing is that you already know. You're reading his life up to just before he started to make it really big in England and before he tried to slowly slither into the US with his smart words and his accent. If you read it you'll get some entertainment out of it, which is the biggest thing that Russell Brand seems to strive for. He says it throughout that ever since his first stint on stage, he needs the attention of everyone or he'll find a way to get the attention. Some might think he's narcissistic and completely out of his flippin' mind. I think he's an entertainer living to entertain. Not enough people out there are still out to do just that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine being abused as a little boy and living in a dysfunctional family while dealing with your mother's Cancer. Russell went through everything from his mom being diagnosed with cancer to suffering abuse from his mom's boyfriend. The main setting in this book took place in his mom's apartment in London although he did spend a fair amount of time at a reformatory that his moms boyfriend sent him to do to rebellious behavior. Throughout Russell's life he's had many people who have made a huge impact on his life; some gave him amazing memories while others gave him not so fond memories. When Russell moved into his teen years, his rebellious side began to show and he was sent away. In life if one takes things too seriously; you never truly enjoy life and for that reason I really look up to Russell Brand. In my eyes Russell is an exceptional author because not only did he make me cry of sadness but he made me cry of laughter. I recommend this book for teenagers and older readers mainly because younger kids would not understand some of the jokes Russell tells; which could make it rather boring.
VGrace More than 1 year ago
I am a Russell Brand fan, of his comedy. This book, although brutally honest, gets boring. It's hard to feel empathy for the trials and travails he's been through because his writing leads the reader to believe he's only reporting what happened - not that he has any connection to any of it. Everything is a few feet away from him. He writes about horrible things he's done, but doesn't explain or analyze why he did them or how those experiences affected him. He jumps from one experience to the next (or just around in time) but doesn't link those experiences to an overall outcome. There are some laugh-at-loud moments in the book, but the overall feeling I had after I finished reading it was that he is a bastard, a talented bastard who has amazing people around him and has been lucky enough to fall up, but no true connections or deep relationships with anyone.
jackielee757 More than 1 year ago
Loved Russel in "Forgetting Sara Marshall" so I decided to read this book. I thought it was hilarious. I literally laughed out loud. Some of the things he has done are completely insane.
tpTP More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE Russell Brand. He makes me laugh just hearing him talk. His diction and his use of the English language make you strain to hear everything he says. So, for me to read a book of his life, by the man himself, was a huge treat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy Russell Brand you will enjoy the book. Definitely written in his voice. If you have seen his act, you can just hear him telling the story. There are some parts that you are not sure if you should laugh or be disturbed. He has had a lot of ups and downs and certainly has a unique perspective.
JMTJTC More than 1 year ago
'My life is just a series of embarrassing incidents strung together by telling people about those embarrassing incidents.” Genre: Memoir —- Comedy Number of Pages: 339 Perspective: First Location: England My Booky Wook is the memoir of actor/comedian, Russell Brand. It details his entire life from a messed-up childhood to making it as an actor to drugged up sexcapades. For a complete summary, you can go here. I actually really liked reading this book at first. I thought Brand was funny and witty and his voice came through clearly. I could actually hear his (very distinctive) voice as I was reading it. He does warn you from the beginning that he speaks like a British person with no concern for proper grammar. And that is definitely the truth! It hurt my grammar-gut to read some of his lines. Then there are the footnotes. Oh my God—the footnotes! I have no problem with a properly placed footnote—like in Modern Romance—but this was ridiculous! There were so many footnotes. Every single obscure pop culture reference required a detailed footnote. First of all, I’m a believer that there shouldn’t be that many pop culture references in a book. It dates the book really quickly and deters people from reading it in the future. Also, if the reference is not quickly identifiable and requires further explanation, then it probably does not need to be included in the book. The whole thing was just very distracting while reading. To read the rest of the review, go here: http://judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-booky-wook-russell-brand.html
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Needs a bit more to find out if worth buying
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