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Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies - Book Review

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by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 21st 2018
Worth your time - really
First, before I begin, thanks to Mark S (via email) who, having read my Adam Hills book review recommended this one. So, yes, I thought I was getting another autobiography when I went out and bought it; let's see how we go.

Now, to start, I've seen Kitty Flanagan on stage once and seen two of her TV stand-up gigs (one she did with her sister was my favourite). To be honest, I find her hit and miss, really. However, on Have You Been Paying Attention?, she is the highlight on any episode she's on, and I was a huge fan of The Sketch Show (her sketch about seeing any kittens in the lake – I think – and then relieved they hadn't come up yet still makes me laugh) in which she was a regular in the second season. I also find her spots often the highlight of the The Weekly With Charlie Pickering (which is often a good thing because generally Tom Gleeson annoys me…).

Anyway, while it wasn't quite with mixed emotions that I hit this book, I wasn't really sure what I was letting myself in for.
kitty flanagan, bridge burning, book, cover
The Book Cover!

First things first: I enjoyed it more than the Adam Hills one.

It is not a straightforward autobiography, but a series of anecdotes, observations and other things and I laughed out loud more often reading a book than I have for a long time. It was fantastic. I actually read it twice before writing this to make sure I wasn't convincing myself of things that weren't really there. I enjoyed it just as much second time over.

I'm not sure why I liked this over some of her stand-up stuff. It reads the same, has the same sort of jokes and everything else. Maybe it just hit me at a time when I was ready to enjoy a good book. And that is what this is – a good book.

Yes, it does sort of follow a chronological order, looking at things from her childhood, young adulthood and then into her later years (which sounds terrible as she was the born the same year as me). But there isn't that narrative flow of 'how I became a comic' or 'how I met my husband' or 'how my parents screwed me up' (for the record, they didn't – her parents sound like mine, reasonably cool, just of their time). And I think that lack of connectivity made the book easier to read. It is the sort of book where you could read a chapter here and there and it would still make sense.

There are a number of highlights. The whole chapter on drugs is hilarious. The Snow White prequel is brilliant and makes perfect sense. Her whole thing about the Alice In Wonderland concert where, as the White Rabbit, she decided to fall asleep had me in stitches. Her whole thing about breakfast radio ("Don't go there!") was brilliant and funny because (and here's the cliché) it's true. And then there are some of her quotes:

"These days nuns are like pandas, they're an endangered species, they're black and white and the numbers are dwindling because it's notoriously hard to get them to breed."

"I'm pretty sure it was Buddha who said, 'To bring ultimate joy to others, one must sometimes tread the less noble path and embrace the way of the arsehole.'"

Look, this is a genuinely funny book. I'm going to hit iView or YouTube or whatever the hell I need to hit to find those old comedy shows. I have a feeling I'd appreciate them better now. And I enjoyed the one I saw with her sister Penny so I'd like to see that again.

This is a recommended book. Definitely.

And to finish, two things struck me. First, she seems genuinely happy with her life, which seems to be a rarity for comedians. And, second, judging by what she wrote here, I'm the sort of guy she described as a good fit for her. So, if she's reading this, and her current relationship doesn't work out… call me.
kitty flanagan, bridge burning, book, cover, reading, wrestler
Yes, I do read like this. Why?

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Why? It's a book worth reading.
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Your Comment
Thanks Steve. always on the lookout for a good book.
by May Cross (score: 3|7650) 855 days ago
Thanks Steve, the wife and I love Kitty so will get this book as well, and yes that's exactly how I expected you to do your reading, cheers, Steve P.
by Steven P. (score: 0|9) 811 days ago
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