“Left to his own devices, Karl Pilkington would be happy with his life just as it is. But now he’s hit forty, everyone keeps asking him why he won’t marry his girlfriend and why he doesn’t want to have kids. It’s time for Karl to face up to the big question – what does it all mean?’
Karl Pilkington is the author of 5 other bestselling books: ‘The World According to Karl Pilkington’, ‘Happyslapped by a Jellyfish’, ‘Karlology’, ‘An Idiot Abroad’ and ‘The Further Adventures of an Abroad’. He is probably best known as Ricky Gervais’s mate who will do anything and was part of the Guiness World Record-breaking podcast ‘the Ricky Gervais Show’, which was downloaded over 300 million times and went on to become an animation program for HBO in the USA.
I first came across Karl Pilkington on a family holiday in Dorset for my mum’s 60th birthday. We had hired a huge farmhouse cottage, with our own indoor swimming pool and a rustic kitchen complete with an aga, for 6 adults and 6 children. Once the younger kids were in bed we’d play card games and chat, but on one night my dad switched on the TV and there was Karl Pilkington on his show, of his book of the same name, ‘An Idiot Abroad’. Turns out my parents are huge fans of his and they spent the next 40 minutes in absolute stitches as Pilkington moaned about having to fit in with different cultures and was forced by his production team to eat the local market foods.
Pilkington is like a mixture between Victor Meldrew and Mike Wozowski from Monsters Inc. He’s a faithful companion that will do anything to get a laugh from his friends, but he’ll have a right old moan about it whilst he’s doing it.
‘The Moaning of Life’ see’s Karl travel the world to explore how different cultures deal with such themes as marriage, kids, vocation and money, happiness and death. Filled with ‘Karlisms’ such as “Getting a wedding invite is like being summoned to Jury service. You don’t want to go, but it’s very difficult to get out of”, facts, pictures and hilarious anecdotes it is a book to laugh out loud at, so if you are slightly self-conscious make sure you don’t read it on the train.
In much the same way as a child, he asks all of the questions you’re thinking but know you shouldn’t ask. Travelling to America to experience a typical Las Vegas wedding and comparing it with the week long marital celebrations of India he questions his own stance on marriage. Rather poignantly he ends the book with a chapter on death, my favourite part being where he visits a coffin makers workshop in Ghana and has a custom built coffin made for him and his girlfriend as an exact replica of a Twix bar.
Reading this book will perhaps make you change your own opinions about some of these themes, it will certainly make you take them a lot less seriously.
A fun, lighthearted read.
Next month’s book: ‘The Secrets of the Tides‘