This Is Your Life

Overview


A hugely entertaining novel about the art of stand up comedy, This is Your Life was a runaway bestseller in England. O'Farrell's hero, Jimmy Conway, starts out the novel at the London Palladium. He is about to perform his stand up comedy routine in front of two thousand invited guests and millions more watching the event live on TV. He steps out blinking into the spotlights and waits for the applause to die down. He tries to appear confident but he can't help wondering whether he should have shared his little ...
See more details below
Paperback
$10.63
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$12.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $1.99   
  • Used (19) from $1.99   
This Is Your Life: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$12.00 List Price

Overview


A hugely entertaining novel about the art of stand up comedy, This is Your Life was a runaway bestseller in England. O'Farrell's hero, Jimmy Conway, starts out the novel at the London Palladium. He is about to perform his stand up comedy routine in front of two thousand invited guests and millions more watching the event live on TV. He steps out blinking into the spotlights and waits for the applause to die down. He tries to appear confident but he can't help wondering whether he should have shared his little secret with someone by now. Jimmy has never performed any stand up before - ever.

Conway, a nondescript thirtysomething with a long-faded dream of telling jokes in public, starts the proceedings at the lowest point in his life - teaching school, spending his evenings with a old and grizzled collection of barroom bores (including his ex-girlfriend Nancy) and generally feeling miserable over never having gotten his one lucky break.

Things take a turn for the better when a local comedy legend, Billy Scrivens, with whom Conway has exchanged a fragment or two of small-talk while out running, drops down dead. Interviewed on television, where he is plausibly represented as the deceased's jogging companion, Jimmy suddenly discovers a tiny chink in the door of the closely guarded gateway to fame and celebrity. After snatching a ticket to Billy's funeral (paid for by the UK equivalent of People Magazine, and awash with the rich and famous) he convinces a gullible journalist that he is the latest underground comedy sensation, a performer so principled that he shuns TV and restricts himself to unscheduled appearances at out-of-the-way clubs. A stack of forged reviews from a phantom American tour does the rest. Courtesy of a rave profile in a national newspaper, his career takes off.

The subsequent rollercoaster ride whisks him all the way from a best new stand-up comedy award (where his acceptance speech loss of nerve - "Look, there's been a terrible mistake" - is taken as a riotous gag) to a dullard contribution to a nationally syndicated television show, and even a lucrative ad campaign. Success, inevitably, has its downside: the girls are too eager even for sex-starved Jimmy, and the pub regulars are over-awed by his sudden success.

Which all leads to Jimmy's big night at the Palladium, an ingenious finish where the carpet is pulled from beneath Jimmy's feet, which is credit to O'Farrell's resourcefulness, and his relish of the comic twist and detour.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
U.K. television writer and author O'Farrell (Global Village Idiot; The Best a Man Can Get) brings his very British brand of self-flagellating humor to his latest novel, a scathing satire of celebrity culture and the numbing effects of fame. Jimmy Conway, a part-time teacher and aspiring screenwriter, receives a bundle of letters on his birthday, delivered by his overachieving older brother. The grandiose letters, which Jimmy wrote as a boy to James Conway, his future self, highlight the aimlessness of his life. "It wasn't what I'd written that embarrassed me, it was the obvious and enormous gulf between what I'd hoped to become and who I now was that made me feel so humiliated," Jimmy realizes. But soon he finds himself catapulted toward the fame and fortune he always dreamed of when he takes advantage of happenstance to launch a career as a stand-up comic. O'Farrell skewers the media: through journalistic shoddiness, Jimmy becomes a nationally known stand-up comic, even though no one has ever seen him perform. He gets his first break when TV journalists take him for a friend of a famous comedian in their greed for a sound bite. Later, a dishonest critic gives him a brilliant review because she's too lazy to come to his show, and from there, the publicity snowballs. Jimmy's epistolary advisories from his young self appear at the start of each chapter, usually in comic contrast to the reality of his adult life. O'Farrell delivers an amusing farce. Agent, Georgia Garrett, A.P. Watt. (May) Forecast: Media satires are abundant, and this British version may get lost in the shuffle, but O'Farrell who has written jokes for the speeches of Tony Blair mines a rich vein with skill and vigor. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A loser embarks on the hoax of a lifetime. Even though British newspaper columnist O'Farrell (Global Village Idiot, not reviewed) is also an experienced TV comedy writer back in the UK, this outing is more than a thinly veiled assault on the industry that has fed him (the m.o. for most TV-scribes-turned-novelists). Jimmy Conway is your basic sub-Nick Hornby waster, an ESL teacher in his 30s who lives in a sludgy seaside town and has a life not quite up to the standards set by the letters he used to write to his older self as a young teenager (based on the assumption that he'd be rich/famous by the time he read them). A sad stab at improving himself through jogging leads to a chance one-word encounter with TV personality (and jogger) Billy Scrivens, an incident Jimmy then plays up to his friends as proof of a supposed friendship. When Billy Scrivens suddenly drops dead, Jimmy, who happens to be walking/jogging by, is interviewed as one of Billy's mates, a misunderstanding that gets turned into an invitation to Billy's funeral. At the service, Jimmy tells someone he's a comedian, a lie that grows legs when a reporter decides he wants to do a story on him. Pretty soon Jimmy, who doesn't believe he's done much else with his life up to this point besides walk the dog ("Youth is like the mornings: if you don't make a good start before lunch, you're in danger of wasting the whole day"), is fabricating an entire double life for himself as an edgy anti-spotlight comic who's infamous for some routine involving a fish. O'Farrell keeps Jimmy juggling his two lives far longer than you'd think possible, and even though it all comes to a frustratingly snappy ending (O'Farrell is a TV writer, after all),there are enough brilliant comic monologues to keep the pages flipping right by. A mordant update of the Emperor's New Clothes that's often deeper than it thinks it is. Agent: Georgia Garrett/AP Watt
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802141347
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/10/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)