Review: The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction by Neil Gaiman

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I listened to this book as a free audiobook from Audible (as part of a trial).

I have to say before I begin that I really love Neil Gaiman. If you haven’t read any of his work then I highly recommend it. He’s a great person, I really respect his opinion on a lot of things.

Unfortunately I found this audiobook a bit boring and repetitive. Neil himself says that he likes to plagiarise himself when writing speeches and this comes across when these speeches are read out in sequential order. I felt that this meant that the audiobook didn’t quite flow.

I recognised some of the speeches or articles included as I had read them before – I think quite a lot are available online so if you’re on a limited budget you would need to carefully weigh up the rather hefty price tag versus what new information you’re going to gain.

A lot of the topics chosen for this book were really interesting to me as a fan and touched upon his relationship with a lot of people that I really respect – Sir Terry Pratchett, Amanda Palmer, Alan Moore (Neil’s impression of his is appalling). Neil is very open about the specific topics that he’s chosen to talk about and writes with precision and humour. He’s not afraid to make himself look stupid and often refers to mistakes that he’s made along the away.

As a fan I would like to have known more about his family life, his relationship with his kids and his first wife and although frequently mentioned there is a certain boundry this is never crossed. However, in a weird way I think this makes me respect him more.

As an audiobook Neil’s voice is rich and deep – very sexy and full of intonation. Hearing him read out loud really adds something to the book. It frequently made me laugh.

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook but did tune out during the repetitive bits. I also found that it was a great place to find book/authour recommendations. I thought that it got better as it went on (perhaps showing how Neil has developed as a writer?)

Overall I thought that The View From The Cheap Seats is must for any die hard fan and that even someone who is not aware of Neil Gaiman would enjoy it.

Overall rating: 7.5/10.

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