Straight Outta Crawley – Memoirs of a distinctly average human being

by Romesh Ranganathan

I have to say right from the start that Auto Biographies are not my usual preference. Not that I have anything against them, I just, on the whole, prefer to read fiction in my increasingly limited leisure time. That said, I have enjoyed quite a number of biographies, p[articularly when the writer is of interest to me. This particular book was a gift and I have to admit that I would not have chosen to read it otherwise. I think the idea was to prepare me for seeing Romesh on his tour in the spring so the question is, do I feel better prepared? Not really, but I do feel I understand the man behind the jokes much better.

Straight Outta Crawley is a warm and revealing peek behind the scenes of the UK comedy scene. This is not a chronological, birth to now kind of story, the narrative leaps back and forth and a chaotic but oddly logical way. In that way, it reads more like a conversation rather than a structured timeline. 

Over the past couple of years, Romesh has become something of a household name. His dry sense of humour, self-deprecating approach and distinctive appearance have made him popular on TV panel shows and the live circuit. In the book, he talks about the events that led to his turning professional, the problems he faced as a teacher and the unexpected and sudden nature of his success. 

Throughout he talks openly and honestly about his relationship with his family. It is a refreshing and honest account that I found easy and enjoyable.