I’m sure it’s not a first for the site, but it’s the first for me – I’m reviewing this book on the strength of another cannonballer’s review. I liked That Mitchell and Webb Look as well as Peep Show, and the memoir seemed pleasant enough by the first reviewer’s estimation, so why not?
The central conceit – the comedian goes through his life story on a walk through his neighborhood necessitated by a bad back – pretty much sums up the book’s tone. Laconic, familiar, amusing, pleasant. It reminded me quite a bit of John Cleese’s recent memoir So, Anyway… in its structure and narrative voice, but as I’m sure even Mitchell himself would allow, he’s not as well known as Cleese. As he jokes in the book, he’s not even the most well-known David Mitchell.
Though rarely laugh-out loud funny, the book is unmistakably the work of a humorist, and Mitchell often wrings amusement out of the mundane; this is not a salacious tell-all or Angela’s Ashes, but given Mitchell’s skill the book does not suffer from the lack of excitement in its author’s life.
I don’t think it’s necessary to be a Mitchell and Webb fan to enjoy this book; it’s diverting and humorous on its own merits, but it’s difficult for me to judge as I happen to be one.