Book Review: Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart (centre) with the cast of her TV show
Miranda Hart (centre) with the cast of her TV show

Just a quick question: which of you, dear readers, have recently peered down at your mobile phone while distractedly uttering the words ‘bear with...bear with...’ to an impatient onlooker?

Chances are that all those who would admit to this have also seriously thought about galloping to work instead of walking, or perhaps staying on the sofa with home-made fruit friends instead of going to the gym...despite being locked into an expensive two-year fitness contract.

All those recognising these descriptions have no doubt already been exposed to the work of comedian Miranda Hart, who is steadily becoming one of the best and brightest names in British comedy because of just some of these weird and wacky ideas.

But are Miranda’s, what I call, ideas as strange as they sound?

The talented actress, who is most famous for her TV sit-com Miranda, as well as starring in the drama Call The Midwife, has now put pen to paper and written a wonderful new book called Is It Just Me?

In her first ever book, she shares some of her ideas and observations about life in a bid to find like-minded readers who have also done things like...spun childishly in a swivel chair or sashayed while making a sachet-based beverage.

Anyone who is, like me, a massive fan of Miranda, will love her book. Sitting down to read it feels a little like settling down in front of the goggle-box to enjoy her comedy series, as her narrative style is so similar.

Always speaking either directly to her “dear reader chums” or to her 18-year-old self (who appears on and off throughout the book), she leads us on a whistle-stop tour of subjects ranging from the weird effect that Christmas has on mothers, to the thorny subjects of dating and weddings.

This is a simply written book and very easy to read, but I loved it for the same reason that people will love a stand-up comedian they can identify with. Miranda has a real gift for highlighting those situations in life everyone recognises but doesn’t always talk about. Some left me almost crying with laughter, notably her ‘10 reasons to hate the hairdresser’ culminating in ‘The Big Reveal’.

This is explained by Miranda as: “Being shown the result of your cut and blow dry. Realising they have gone for what can only be described as the ‘Princess Anne’ - a style at once bouffant, risky and ageing. Then saying ‘Thank you so much, I love it, you’re amazing,’ as you blink back tears.”

While constantly witty and light in subject matter, there are also some deep truths in Miranda’s book. It is poignant to note how, by the time someone is in their late 30s (although still very young), many of those airy dreams of teenage years may have come to nothing, while others will be better than ever hoped.

It is also interesting to read 18-year-old Miranda’s rant at the craziness of future developments in technology which will lead people to text instead of talk and photograph things obsessively instead of enjoying them then and there.

Miranda may not have been overly lucky in love or in demonstrating grace and tact in social situations, but she certainly has a flair for comedy and her first book comes highly recommended for those who love a laugh.