Review: Call Me Russell — Russell Peters

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91. Call Me Russell — Russell Peters

Russell Peters tells it like it is. This candid, first-person memoir chronicles his life from his humble beginnings in suburbia as a scrawny, brown, bullied kid with ADD to his remarkable rise as one of the world’s most beloved, top-earning comics.

Firstly: the number of books I have left to read is finally down to the single digits! Now onto the good stuff…

I always find reviewing life writing to be weird and challenging, and consequently use it as an excuse to cop out of trying to review it. So that’s what I’m doing now. This will be short because I’m lazy and because autobiographies/memoirs are difficult, in my opinion, to evaluate.

You know when you get used to someone’s stage presence and you develop an opinion on their general intellect based on that? Yeah, well, not to undermine Russell Peters or anything, but I always anticipated he’d be much less articulate than he is in his book. (Though, from what I saw of an interview with Strombo, his brother may have ghost-written parts of the book.) I did like the way he wrote, though, and how well he was able to flesh out the characters in his life — his parents, brother, close friends, wife, and daughter — and doing so show us who he is. I got a better picture of him because of his willingness to be candid, especially in the chapters that focused on his father.

I think ultimately in autobiography/memoir (when the author is not even middle-aged I never know which is more appropriate) that’s all that you can ask for: some candidness and understanding of who the person is.

Good book, but prepare to get your fingers dirty. There are full pages of black and white photographs, and pages with black backgrounds, and it rubs off. (At least in the copy that I had. And I know that it shouldn’t be an issue but it really bothered me…)

Next book: probably something short.

– Kelsey

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