My Mess is a Bit of a Life
My Mess is a Bit of a Life is the recently published memoir from Georgia Pritchett, the award-winning television writer on shows like Veep, Miranda, The Thick of It, and Have I Got News For You. Following a visit to a therapist where she finds herself unable to speak through her worries, she is advised to write them down instead. The result is a series of anecdotal vignettes which play out chronologically from her childhood through to her professional career and experiences as a mother to two neurodivergent boys.
My favourite aspects of this book lay in reading about Pritchett’s experiences as a writer. What I found particularly fascinating about this memoir was how she has written for and been associated with so many big names, yet her anonymity largely remains. This, in addition to how for much of her career she was the only female writer on many of her projects, contributed to experiencing imposter syndrome and feeling unworthy of the chances she’s received in her profession. The result in this memoir is a classically British self-deprecating (but incredibly funny) tone throughout that resembles the writing fans of Pritchett - or any of her shows - would widely recognise.
Each vignette reads like a short comedy sketch and for that I found them very amusing. Recently I’ve found that lots of new books have started to adopt this style and I think it’s great for those of us without the attention span to always read a full novel. That being said, I do think that some people may find this structure disjointed or lacking depth. Personally, I think it works well here considering the reasons why Georgia is writing the book and the diary-like feel of the narrative.
To be clear, this is not a book that talks in detail about how to cope with anxiety, it’s a very personal account of Georgia’s life and the various moments in it where she has dealt with anxiety. While the prevailing impression is a deeply heartwarming and relatable read, be warned that there are lots of darker, potentially triggering, themes covered in it too. For example, there’s mention of Georgia’s miscarriages, an account of sexual assault she faced once on a writing job, and of course discussion of mental health. Read this book because you enjoy memoirs, or because you like Georgia Pritchett’s comedy. Don't read it if you’re looking for a self-help book.
Thank you to Faber for my review copy!