O’Farrell describes the book as ‘eighteen miserable years in the life of a Labour supporter’ – accurate TBH (so accurate, I’m not sure why I need to write this review – is it possible to be MORE persuasive than that?) The focus remains political throughout, but the feel is consistently autobiographical. This makes it much more accessible, less boring – and humorous as well (O’Farrell being a satirist).
I read it because I’m studying 1951-2007 Britain ATM – incorporated is lots about Britain’s political system (at a local level), and obv recent+relevant political history. It’s not overly nostalgic, yet for me, the descriptions of the seventies, eighties and nineties were very vivid.
Most importantly (IMO), O’Farrell ensures he is self-deprecating – and that he occasionally mildly insults the Labour Party – which prevents the tone from becoming self-righteous (yuck) and dilutes the earnestness of his political feelings. Overall, TCOGB is a weirdly light-hearted, yet tangible political memoir.
It’s emotional – utterly miserable, obviously, but also heart-breaking (see the 1992 general election) and almost stupidly joyful (guess which election that was). And, obviously, funny. Always funny.
@lucykenningham (more of these dreadful, well written about years 2 come unless you vote LABOUR)