THE PLOT: ‘Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her’ by Daisy May Cooper is a memoir by the comedy writer and actor. Best known for her TV show, This Country, Daisy grew up in a rural village in Gloucestershire. With few qualifications and little money, she dreamed of becoming an actress. But when she got her big break and was accepted into RADA, she found it difficult to get roles. Undeterred, she co-created a mockumentary-style show about living in rural England with her brother. This memoir hilariously charts the ups and downs in her story and highlights the importance in believing in yourself.
RATING: This humorous memoir is an easy and fun read for anyone interested in Daisy’s story. If you haven’t watched This Country, it’s similar to Parks and Rec, or The Office — perfect for those with a dry sense of humour. This book provides more of the same wit, with nuanced reflections on rural English poverty. I don’t read a ton of memoirs so I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. Although it was enjoyable it didn’t impact me as much as recent 4-star-reads. However, I was inspired to read this due to Daisy’s funny Instagram videos about her publishing deal and it did not disappoint.
GOOD BITS: My favourite chapters were in the middle when Daisy was auditioning for roles and trying to make it as an actress in London. I laughed out loud on several occasions as some of the auditions were, frankly, mental. The hilarious anecdotes about auditioning at a strip club and a showcase at the Piccadilly Theatre were highlights. In general, I liked the overall message about not giving up and pursuing a creative passion even when others think you can’t do it.
NOT SO GOOD BITS: The last two chapters about the making of This Country felt a bit rushed and I would’ve liked more detail on the barriers to getting on TV. In particular, there was a story about a pilot for ITV and it would’ve been funny to include a snippet of the script to showcase how it all went wrong. So many people don’t know what goes into making a TV show, so more information on what happened once the BBC acquired the rights would have been informative.
OVERALL: Although I don’t read a ton of celebrity memoir, I imagine this book would appeal to fans of ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey or Dawn O’Porter. If you grew up in rural England and/or have had others laugh at your dreams of escaping your small town, this is a book for you.
Order a copy of this book here to support indie bookshops: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/11336/9781405949224
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