Another NTO by Andy King
During the 1990s, around the same time its cultural cousins reality TV and social media were finding their feet, the memoir had a surge in popularity. What began as a lucrative sideline for tabloid-friendly celebrities was seized upon by publishers who spun off several now-ubiquitous variants: reformed gangster, reformed drug addict, child abuse survivor, bereaved pet owner, terminally ill teenager. There must be more.
Unlike, say, Big Brother or Facebook, memoirs’ popularity hasn’t registered a blip in the intervening decades: at the time of writing, Joey Essex’s Being Reem is riding high in the Sunday Times bestseller list.
If that last sentence didn’t make you too sad to want to read anything for a while, Andy King’s new memoir definitely will.
The book contains roughly 400 pages of moronic, repetitious, aimless violence (football violence no less), which isn’t fun to read. King, whose charmless personality saturates each page, would probably claim this is because such content is shocking or transgressive. In fact not: the scenes of fighting and low-life criminality are pedestrian at best, and read more like the fantasies of a wannabe teenage hard man than an author so at pains to paint himself as a charismatic criminal antihero.
No, the book’s main, overpowering, unignorable offence is the writing. Opening it at any page will throw up clunky sentences, feeble metaphors and cringe-prompting clichés, all slapped together as if they were written under considerable deadline pressure, on pain of a “good hiding” or similar (the foregoing colloquialism is how King would style it: every bit of slang in the book comes in scare quotes or italics, it’s really weird).
As you’re not going to read it anyway, here’s the last sentence:
“But, little did I know that not that far off in the future, I would begin a new life which would in time, take me on an exciting dangerous journey rewarding me with large sums of money.” [sic]
That’s how the book ends! There’s no closure, no satisfaction, the author just wanders off somewhere, having just wasted so much the reader’s time congratulating himself, his team, and his dismal way of life.
Sad yet? Joey Essex is Tolstoy by comparison.
The editorial unit
Another NTO is published by Vanguard Press at the paperback price of £9.99, for further information visit here.