Growing up with Lenny Henry as a stable diet of light comedy his early years story was enlightening.
I'm not sure if as a kid I loved or disliked Lenny Henry - he just was a huge space in comedy TV, and now thinking it's probably his work with Comic Relief that I remember more than anything.
In the last year or so, I caught a much more recent (to me) show Live at the Apollo which made me realise that he also appealed to adults and I really enjoyed it - much more than I had expected.
So in seeing Lenny Henry's biography (albeit a "part 1") I felt I owed it to my childhood to learn more about this man and his journey.
Who Am I, Again covers Henry's early years of life, from being born in the UK right in the process of his family immigrating from Jamaica all the way up to the 1980s.
He writes about his time and own personal struggle staring in the "Black and White Minstrel Show", and writes about his family being on the breadline for so long and his upbringing.
Racism is peppered throughout the book and I suspect played down for us the reader. There's a shocking anecdote that Henry tells of how when he and Dawn French's home was published in a newspaper, their front door was quickly defaced with excrement.
Lenny Henry also writes of his work on The Fosters - the UK's first comedy series with predominantly black performers.
I personally tend to find non-fiction hard to read (or rather it's can be a very slow read for me) but Henry's biography was easier to read - and perhaps because he played such a large part of my childhood TV.
The book ends abruptly at the start of the 1980s - which is really the time I knew Henry from and I felt myself wanting to learn more. Page-wise the book also ends with around 10% remaining, and what remains are tips for new comedians - which I mostly skimmed although there were a small handful of useful items I can imagine it would be valuable to younger comedians.
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