There’s something about comedian Tom Allen that has always fascinated me. The sharp suits and his voice make me wonder what his childhood was like and what his influences were. So much so that I have been desperate to read his autobiography since it came out, but yet I never once managed to find it in a charity shop. Anyone who frequents charity shops regularly will know that they nearly always have a pile of celebrity biographies and autobiographies to wade through, yet Tom Allen’s has never made its way to any of the ones I go in regularly. Having now received a copy of No Shame for Christmas I understand why – it’s really rather good!
Over the year I’ve heard several of Tom Allen’s stand up routines on TV and so a couple of the anecdotes in No Shame have been heard before, but there is still plenty more to laugh along with. Tom himself recognises that he won’t a conventional teenager at all, and he basically seems to be one of those people who was born in his mid-thirties. Much preferring to chat with his school friends’ mums about their interior decor or 80s style dinner parties that they were hosting over spending time with their kids.
Whilst looking back at himself and laughing in some cases, what also really comes out in Tom’s writing is the pain (and sometime confusion) he felt growing up and knowing that he didn’t necessarily fit in with everyone around him. He has a tenderness in his written word that really comes across and although you can still hear his comedic voice as he writes, there’s also a vulnerability that comes across and makes him incredibly endearing.
Still living with his parents you can see Tom’s desire to grow up, but at the same time his longing to stay somewhere so familiar and homely. It makes the knowledge that his next book (Too Much) being about what life was like following his father’s sudden death quite painful.
Much as in his stand up routines, there’s also a brilliant rhythm to Tom’s patter that, when matched with some of his eye for detail, makes you absolutely howl with laughter. He’s basically the kind of guy where you want to be on their dinner party invite list.
I hope to pick up a copy of Too Much soon, although having suddenly lost my Mother in Law over Christmas I think I may need to leave some time before doing so. When I am ready though I think I know that I’m unlikely to find a copy in a charity shop. It’s probably too good for that.
Disclaimer: Links in this post to Amazon are Affiliate links. If you buy something from Amazon it will cost you no more than if you went there under your own steam, but I will receive a small commission. All purchases are very much appreciated. Thank you.