Parsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett

A review of the non-fiction comedy memoir Parsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett.

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This book, by comedian Joe Lycett, is a how-to book, sort of. Joe gives his advice on a range of topics, from the trivial such as ‘How to respond to hate mail’ and ‘How to deal with noisy neighbours’ to the world-changing ‘How to stop Isis’ and ‘How to stop Donald Trump.’ In between his example emails, tweets and texts, Joe provides his unique commentary on life. My favourite was his text conversation with the PPI scammer.

I decided to read this book after seeing Joe on TV, where he read one or two of these emails, and I found myself intrigued. The strangest thing was, as I read the book, Joe’s voice was reading to me, which made it so much funnier. Also, it seemed as if Joe had actually written it himself, unlike a lot of other books of this type. The book is very easy to read and there is the perfect amount of narrative to the emails/texts or tweets.

It is a sad indictment of society today that Joe Lycett has been the victim of hate mail, just for appearing on television. I know his sense of humour is not to everybody’s taste, but if that’s the case don’t watch. The best and perhaps only piece of real advice that Joe gives throughout the book is to ignore the hate mail. I agree.

One section of the book I found I could relate to was ‘How to be a football fan,’ where Joe gives tips on how to survive a football match. These tips were so true to life I’m sure a few football fans will be able to recognise the behaviours mentioned.

In some chapters Joe highlights how vulnerable people are scammed by adults who should know better, such as psychic readings by text! The best examples of this in the book are those where Joe actually receives a text reply from adults taking advantage of the vulnerable (especially when these replies trump his own). I won’t give examples as I’d like you to read them for yourselves.

Although this book will not appeal to everyone, I would recommend you give it a chance. It is not a biography or autobiography. It doesn’t tell you why Joe became a comedian, nor does it prattle on about the struggles he has faced. It doesn’t even proclaim that any of the ‘How Tos’ actually work. What it does do very well is provide us with a decent book to read with some really funny moments. You should give it a chance. You might like it and laugh your ‘cluttons’ off too.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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