This is a mostly very funny World War II memoir. Spike Milligan was a sketch comedy radio show performer most famously known for The Goon Show, a precursor to Monty Python that also starred Peter Sellers. This memoir starts with Milligan receiving his draft notice and dodging it because he’s scared to go to war and goes from there. Like I said, it’s mostly very funny and adds to the kinds of irreverent ways in which a lot writers, books, movies, and other kinds of culture found ways to address horrors with humor. So for me, the mostly funny part comes in not because of a kind of pearl clutching shock at irreverence so much as a ok ok ok get on with it kind of reaction to how thickly layered the humor is. I sometimes love British humor….when it’s super dry, and I sometimes hate it, when it’s overwrought and silly. The number of shows absolutely beloved by a lot of people that I don’t like at all would get me booted. So anyway, I often laughed and I often rolled my eyes at this one, and ultimately I got bored before I was done. So I appreciate what this is, but didn’t entirely enjoy it.
It’s hard to write humor and it’s especially hard to write books that are funny because so much of what works on audio and visual media doesn’t work in print, and what works in print is usually much more subtle. I find small moments funnier than big one already. And maybe I am getting old.