I’ve previously reviewed Karl’s two Idiot Abroad tie ins, but Karl was actually a published author well before that show. This post will briefly cover his first two books, The World of Karl Pilkington and Happyslapped by a Jellyfish. Bother are must-haves for Karl fans and are similar in nature to the two Idiot Abroad books in a way.
This is the first book (as far as I can tell, though there may have been at least one article in a monkey magazine that was previously discussed…) Karl “wrote.” I use “wrote” in quotations because much of the book consists of transcripts of some of the best bits of both the XFM shows and the early podcasts. I read this book a little over a year ago after watching the first Ricky Gervais Show animations. The origins of this book can likely be traced to an off-side statement Ricky made in the XFM days when he requested someone to write down everything Karl says for a year because he wanted to make a book out of them. The results are terrific, especially since I didn’t find the XFM shows until WELL after I read the book. This was my first introduction to “the horse in the house,” and this story alone is worth reading the book for. Also included are several “monkey news” stories (I was surprised after seeing the animations that these were different, as I mentioned in my XFM review, this feature goes back to their old radio show days!) It really gives the full stories of some of the best conversations between Ricky, Steve, and Karl.
The first thing I had to do was look up the term “happyslapped” which apparently means to have a mean prank pulled on you. This book is almost the Idiot Abroad books in prototype. It consists of several of Karl’s diary entries mixed in with stories and reminisces. Several of these diary entries were read on the podcasts so much of it will be familiar. The book covers Karl’s holiday travels with Suzanne. Included are his trips to Malaga, Tenerife, Madeira, the Cotswolds, and several locations in the US (in at least one of which Karl and company were broke!) The title refers to an incident that occurred where Karl was stung by a jellyfish in the Caribbean thus bringing about an epic rivalry between Karl and the invertebrate that continues to this very day! It’s a great peak into Karl’s adventures (on his own terms, for the most part…) in his own words.
Fans of Karl will definitely enjoy these reads, even if sometimes they might seem a bit redundant if you’ve recently listened to the radio shows or podcasts. I, for one, listened to the audio, read the books, and laughed out loud both times!