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Book Review: Alan Partridge, Nomad

Ah ha! Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this, the premier episode of my brand new series: Book reviews with Alan Partridge!

Yeah, I know, that was a terrible impression. I apologise. I love anything that screams British humour and Alan has always done that. He’s rude, he’s offensive to just about everybody and he thinks he is a better DJ/person than he is, it’s hilarious.

nomadIn Alan Partridge: Nomad, Alan dons his boots, windcheater and scarf and embarks on an odyssey through a place he once knew – it’s called Britain – intent on completing a journey of immense personal significance. Diarising his ramble in the form of a ‘journey journal’, Alan details the people and places he encounters, ruminates on matters large and small and, on a final leg fraught with danger, becomes – not a man (because he was one to start off with) – but a better, more inspiring example of a man. This deeply personal book is divided into chapters and has a colour photograph on the front cover. It is deeply personal. Through witty vignettes, heavy essays and nod-inducing pieces of wisdom, Alan shines a light on the nooks of the nation and the crannies of himself, making this a biography that biographs the biographer while also biographing bits of Britain.’ 

I think this blurb tells you all you need to know about the book. It’s like an episode of I’m Alan Partridge in book form. Nomad is the obviously 100% true account of Alan’s walk from Norwich to Dungeness Power Station, a journey of 180 miles, during which Alan hopes to feel closer to his deceased father, who once drove to Dungeness Power Station for a job interview.

It’s genuinely funny at times and there are parts I won’t soon forget (Sad Pheasant Syndrome or the part where he starts writing Sherlock slash fiction) but it does feel a little like it’s not going anywhere. I know that’s part of the Alan Partridge brand, ramble for ages and people wont notice when you unexpectedly change direction and start talking about trees for 3 pages, but in book form it doesn’t work as well since we can actually go back and check what the original topic was.

It’s mostly filler with the odd bit of ‘plot’ thrown in, but because it’s written by Alan and he doesn’t want to look bad, all the interesting bits have been glossed over or changed to be more Alan friendly. Which was funny the first time and then got a bit dull when nothing was happening. By chapter 21 it’s devolved into retelling the story of Pat the DJ who was fired from North Norfolk Digital and held the staff to ransom in the film, Alpha Papa. If you haven’t seen the film, I don’t recommend reading this first. Although most of the spoilers have been changed to make Alan Partridge seem like a better person.

It’s not going to win any prizes for literary story telling, but it’s amusing, at times making me actually laugh loudly in the staff room, definitely one for the down days.

3/5 ***

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