Magazine article The Spectator

Screaming with Laughter

Magazine article The Spectator

Screaming with Laughter

Article excerpt

HOW DO YOU WANT ME? by Ruby Wax Ebury, L17.99, pp. 320, ISBN 0091886627

If Ruby Wax's shrink thinks she has cured her, this book will put her right. Readers will be relieved to know that whilst supposedly marking her recovery from breakdown and nervous collapse, How Do You Want Me? displays our heroine still in splendidly neurotic form, pitching out the one-liners and lacing all personally sweet moments with arsenic so that no whiff of sentimentality or emotional weakness can be detected. Then she tries to get us to believe that, after a stint in the Priory with a bunch of fellow kooks and a few twinkies (anorexics) followed by three days of solitude in a forest called Big Sur, `the swords were finally lowered and my heart opened'. Oh, Ruby, I know what you mean, but when I read this line, my heart did not open, it sank. Luckily, with this sentence the book finishes. Why is it that when sharp, professional comedians start meditating or talking about the meaning of life, they inevitably sound phoney?

However whilst this book - an expose rather than an autobiography - feels slightly forced, due to Ruby's inability to write a line without trying to sharpen her wits on it, it is never false. How could it be? Just look at the photographs, particularly the one of the Wiener wagon and Lumpi the dog humping Ruby's father's leg, and you will see that, coming from a background like this, Ruby's formative years equipped her for only two things: the comedy circuit or the lunatic asylum. …

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