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Who Am I, Again? Reviews

Who Am I, Again? by Lenny Henry

Who am I, again?

Lenny Henry

3.46 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 3 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780571342594

Who am I, again?' Riotous, warm-hearted and revealing, and told with Lenny's trademark energy - expect recipes, comic strips, and tips for aspiring comedians - Who Am I, Again? is the heart-breakingly honest and inspirational coming-of-age story of a man who holds a very special place in British hearts.

3 stars out of 5
Sukhdev Sandhu
9 Oct 2019

"Henry’s instability, his search for a voice of his own, extends to his prose. He can be chatty and colloquial, all banter and bonhomie, recalling teenage high jinks with dizzied abandon"

Henry’s instability, his search for a voice of his own, extends to his prose. He can be chatty and colloquial, all banter and bonhomie, recalling teenage high jinks with dizzied abandon. He can also be a bit pompous (“I’ve slowly come to understand the complexities of displacement, loneliness and the need for companionship”) and overly citational (quoting Derek Walcott, Nelson Mandela, CS Lewis). In the final, misguided section of the book he shifts to mentor mode, dispensing advice on microphone technique to would-be comics. He suggests he is readying two more volumes of memoir. That seems excessive. Who Am I Again? is raw, touching and all over the place. He says it’s not an autobiography, but a biography (“because I’m writing about someone I used to know”). He suspects he’s not black enough, not manly enough. Often he feels adrift, lost, in a “duvet of sadness”. The book ends with the question in its title left unanswered.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
6 Oct 2019

"The memoir, which recounts Henry’s life up to around 1980, is reflective and depressing"

The memoir, which recounts Henry’s life up to around 1980, is reflective and depressing... Some interesting subjects are left unexplored, though. Expressing admiration for 1960’s Bill Cosby is understandable – and would have been a common emotion for rising comedians back then – but Henry offers no thoughts on the subsequent vile revelations about one of his heroes. The most entertaining aspects of the book, which includes graphic novel-style strips illustrated by Mark Buckingham, are Henry’s touching memories of his upbringing and the potent language he heard as a child.

4 stars out of 5

"a touching and affectionate memoir"

Henry’s memoir is as kinetic as he is, and he tells his story not only through prose, but also through everything from recipes to graphic-novel sequences, written by Henry and illustrated by the comic-book artist Mark Buckingham. These dramatise aspects of his life that seem to have been hard for him to put into words...

Strangely, he calls his memoir a “biography”, because, he says, it is written “about someone I used to know”. It is a touching, affectionate look at a person whom Henry understands is wholly different from who he is now.