The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington

In brief: Everyone’s favourite reluctant traveller is back to look at the big things in life – marriage, children, money, jobs, death and happiness.

The good: Karl is very perceptive and very funny.

The not-so-good: The paperback is really heavy!

Why I chose it: Opened in a bookstore (Readings Carlton) and started laughing straight away.

Year: 2013

Pages: 358

Publisher: Canongate

Setting: All around the world

My rating: 8.5 out of 10

Karl Pilkington, lovable but reluctant traveller is back on the road again. This time, he’s not being sent off to far flung places at the whim of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Marchant but investigating the big issues in life. With his unique brand of humour and ability to say what everyone else is thinking, Karl tackles marriage, children, career, cash, happiness and death.

Once again, this is the book to accompany the television series The Moaning of Life (in Australia, this will be shown on ABC1 starting Thursday 2nd January 2014 at 9:30pm). I haven’t seen the show as yet, but in previous series I loved how the book gave us extra insights into what Karl was thinking (of course, being Karl, it’s generally very honest and very funny).

The book is divided into sections covering each of the topics, as are the episodes of the television series. Each part begins with Karl’s thoughts on the subject and then launches into his journey around the world seeing how other people and cultures handle the subject. For example, Karl visits a drive in wedding chapel in Las Vegas, before acting as a potential suitor for an arranged marriage in India. Then it’s off to Japan to take part in a fertility festival and go to a career themed theme park. There are novelty coffins in Africa and selling fish to make a profit. It’s all fun but with a great insight into the weighting these topics have in other cultures. I particularly found both the death and marriage chapters insightful. Karl writes in a self-depriciating, amusing way that had me giggling a lot.

The book contains lots of pictures of Karl on his journey, which adds to the fun but also the weight (this is a heavy paperback). A great read for this time of year, you’ll be reflecting and laughing in equal measures.

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