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In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore's TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he'd always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe i In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore's TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he'd always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe it wouldn't... In Gotta Get Theroux This, Louis takes the reader on a joyous journey through his life and unexpectedly successful career. Nervously accepting the BBC's offer of his own series, he went on to create an award-winning documentary style that has seen him immersed in worlds as diverse as racist US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, the violent gangs of Johannesburg and extreme drinkers in London. Arguably his biggest challenge was corralling celebrities in his When Louis Met series, with Jimmy Savile proving most elusive. Blindsided when the revelations about Savile came to light, Louis was to reflect again on the nature of evil he had spent decades uncovering. Filled with wry observation, larger-than-life characters, and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his insightful and honest best.


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In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore's TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he'd always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe i In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore's TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he'd always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe it wouldn't... In Gotta Get Theroux This, Louis takes the reader on a joyous journey through his life and unexpectedly successful career. Nervously accepting the BBC's offer of his own series, he went on to create an award-winning documentary style that has seen him immersed in worlds as diverse as racist US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, the violent gangs of Johannesburg and extreme drinkers in London. Arguably his biggest challenge was corralling celebrities in his When Louis Met series, with Jimmy Savile proving most elusive. Blindsided when the revelations about Savile came to light, Louis was to reflect again on the nature of evil he had spent decades uncovering. Filled with wry observation, larger-than-life characters, and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his insightful and honest best.

30 review for Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clara Hill

    Inject Louis Theroux in my veins

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I really enjoyed this, not my usual kind of read but I've been a big fan of a lot of his documentaries so I was keen to see more of the person behind them. Very honest and provides a huge amount of interesting background to most of his most famous documentaries. I'd recommend the audiobook version which Louis reads himself, makes it feel very conversational. I think where it lost me was a little bit was the amount of time dedicated to Jimmy Saville. I can understand the need for people that knew S I really enjoyed this, not my usual kind of read but I've been a big fan of a lot of his documentaries so I was keen to see more of the person behind them. Very honest and provides a huge amount of interesting background to most of his most famous documentaries. I'd recommend the audiobook version which Louis reads himself, makes it feel very conversational. I think where it lost me was a little bit was the amount of time dedicated to Jimmy Saville. I can understand the need for people that knew Saville as a harmless entertainer coming to terms with everything we know about him now but I barely knew he existed prior to finding out everything about his crimes so I didn't have that conflict in me at all. Louis having known him personally makes it understandable that he'd feel the need to do so much soul searching about the issue but it didn't interest me all that much. I'm happy to draw more definitive conclusions about that man!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily B

    If you like Louie Theroux then you will like this. I listened to the audiobook which Louie narrated which made it really engaging and entertaining. At first I felt that despite it being an autobiography, it didn’t tell me that much about Louie Theroux that I didn’t already know or could easily find out. However who’s to say how much should be revealed? That being said I did finish the book feeling like I knew Louie a lot better. A lot of the book focuses on Jimmy Savile which I wasn’t expecting If you like Louie Theroux then you will like this. I listened to the audiobook which Louie narrated which made it really engaging and entertaining. At first I felt that despite it being an autobiography, it didn’t tell me that much about Louie Theroux that I didn’t already know or could easily find out. However who’s to say how much should be revealed? That being said I did finish the book feeling like I knew Louie a lot better. A lot of the book focuses on Jimmy Savile which I wasn’t expecting it to focus on so much however I don’t think it was detrimental to the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by Louis Theroux. (2019). Louis takes the reader on a journey from his anxiety-prone childhood to his unexpectedly successful career. He has created his own documentary style that has seen him immersed in the worlds of paranoid US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, get under the skin of celebrities like Max Clifford and Chris Eubank and tackle gang culture in a San Quen *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by Louis Theroux. (2019). Louis takes the reader on a journey from his anxiety-prone childhood to his unexpectedly successful career. He has created his own documentary style that has seen him immersed in the worlds of paranoid US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, get under the skin of celebrities like Max Clifford and Chris Eubank and tackle gang culture in a San Quentin prison. He wonders if the qualities that make him good at documentaries might also make him bad at life. As Louis meets his wife and learns to be a father, he is also taking on the Church of Scientology. On top of this he learns that one of his old subjects, Jimmy Savile, was a secret sexual predator. Filled with wry observation and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his most insightful and honest best. Just going to put it out there that perhaps (definitely) I'm a biased reviewer with this one because I'm a Louis Theroux fangirl haha. I have tickets to see Louis speak in January 2020 and wanted to get this read by then; goal achieved. I really enjoyed this in depth look at not just the documentaries, but also Louis's personal life (although the work around the documentaries is certainly covered a lot more in depth). While it's not exactly chronological at times, it isn't confusing to follow along. I found it a really interesting and also quite easy read. There is quite a lot of content around Jimmy Savile; it's clear that he got under Louis's skin and also the subsequent revelations after his death has affected Louis deeply. I'm sure if you are a fan of Louis then you will enjoy this book, and even if you've never watched his documentaries you will probably still enjoy this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    3 STARS! This book would not have come on to my radar if it wasn’t for a friend in my book club. She’s from the UK and she really enjoyed watching his BBC documentaries back in the day. I didn’t know much about Louis Theroux before this book but I now know much more. This was part memoir and mesh mash on all things that happened on his shows and in life. He does seem like an interesting guy. To me, Gotta Get Theroux This was just okay for me. I think it could be rated higher and have a more positiv 3 STARS! This book would not have come on to my radar if it wasn’t for a friend in my book club. She’s from the UK and she really enjoyed watching his BBC documentaries back in the day. I didn’t know much about Louis Theroux before this book but I now know much more. This was part memoir and mesh mash on all things that happened on his shows and in life. He does seem like an interesting guy. To me, Gotta Get Theroux This was just okay for me. I think it could be rated higher and have a more positive experience by someone who’s actually seen some of his documentaries like Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends or When Louis Met…. Since I haven’t seen any of his shows, it was a nice experience to read about his life, growing up years and all the people that were interviewed. I do think this book could have been shorter. A lot of chapters felt repetitive especially when he would talk about a famous person that he interviewed. I didn’t need multiple chapters on it and could have been fine with one chapter explaining who it was and all the issues that the film makers ran into. In conclusion, if you are a HUGE Louis Theroux fan, I think you’ll really enjoy this book! And if you are like me and don’t know much about him or his shows, I think you’ll still find it a pleasant read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Gardner

    Before reading this book I was a massive Louis Theroux fan. I love his documentaries and I enjoyed his previous book too. This book is well written, and interesting, but it’s made me dislike Louis which isn’t great. He comes across as really, really privileged - and worse, unaware of that privilege. The chapters about his wife Nancy made me feel really sorry for her, and I felt uncomfortable with how much he talked about his first wife, Sarah, as she was clearly someone who appreciated privacy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ri

    I kind of wish I hadn’t read this book... I have enjoyed watching Louis Theroux’ documentaries for years (watching Weird Weekends helped me through a particularly dull time in law school), but the whole book was a disappointment and - worse - it made me dislike Louis for the first time. He comes across as very privileged and entitled and somehow his attitude towards women felt a bit weird at some points in the book. He’s also surrounded by men all of the time, so in a way he just gives of the im I kind of wish I hadn’t read this book... I have enjoyed watching Louis Theroux’ documentaries for years (watching Weird Weekends helped me through a particularly dull time in law school), but the whole book was a disappointment and - worse - it made me dislike Louis for the first time. He comes across as very privileged and entitled and somehow his attitude towards women felt a bit weird at some points in the book. He’s also surrounded by men all of the time, so in a way he just gives of the impression of being yet another entitled white dude who (not so) secretly thinks that he’s the shit. This is something I never got from his documentaries (maybe excluding the last one about sex work), but it will be hard for me to get over that impression of him now. As for the book itself, I thought it was unfortunately pretty boring, especially the part where he keeps going on about his celebrity documentaries. If you are not from the UK and have never heard of most of these people, it’s very hard to read pages of his re-narrating of the documentaries he shot with them. I felt as if the book lacked any real insights, however, it was funny occasionally. That’s were the second star comes from. (One thing that really ticked me off was him mentioning a „Syrian“ pilot who was burned alive by ISIS terrorists. However, the poor man was Jordanian. There’s just something so distasteful about retelling this man‘s death so casually as part of his „research“ into ISIS and then not even getting the facts right. It’s a small thing, but it really bothered me.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Very interesting!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rowan

    Louis Theroux’s memoir is about as odd as some of the subjects he makes documentaries about. Part memoir, part Jimmy Savile book, part behind-the-scenes of his documentaries. It had a meandering quality to it that inevitably made me not wish it to end. Louis is to be admired for looking inward and using his investigative skills on himself here. Oxford-educated and with a famous author father, the writing here is high standard. It’s incredibly articulate (as expected from any award-winning journal Louis Theroux’s memoir is about as odd as some of the subjects he makes documentaries about. Part memoir, part Jimmy Savile book, part behind-the-scenes of his documentaries. It had a meandering quality to it that inevitably made me not wish it to end. Louis is to be admired for looking inward and using his investigative skills on himself here. Oxford-educated and with a famous author father, the writing here is high standard. It’s incredibly articulate (as expected from any award-winning journalist), while also been accessible for most readers. In many ways, Gotta Get Theroux This would make the perfect text for journalism students - it certainly awakened my inner journalist. It was inspiring to read about the development of Louis as a journalist and budding TV presenter; his creative ideas and pitches to various places. Theroux’s trademark humour and awkwardness took a little to translate across to text, but once it did, the book became a lot more enjoyable to read. Funny anecdotes about parenting were great. And look out for other such gems such as: “Save some for the baby!” - after Louis gets squirted by a random woman’s breast milk in a seedy adult-shop booth. I had no idea Louis got his start in TV working for Michael Moore. It was a nice touch that things came a bit full circle by the end. I was also relieved to read just how ‘authentic’ and ‘real’ his documentary-making process is. I’ve certainly got a newfound appreciation for Louis Theroux documentaries after reading this. So, why did you remove a star from your rating, I hear you say? Jimmy Bloody Savile. Once he jumps into proceedings, he never leaves. Just when you think you’ve heard the last of him, out pops another chapter. After a while, Louis reminds you of that annoying Uncle at the family gathering who talks you into a corner - excitedly telling you all about his favourite obscure subject or hobby, and not quite realising you don’t share the enthusiasm. An assumed level of knowledge regarding UK celebrity has-beens is placed on the reader too – I often didn’t know who he was talking about. There’s also the fact that Louis occasionally comes across as the entitled brat you would suspect he might be – given his upbringing, education and privilege. It began to veer into “never meet your idols” territory, before ultimately saving itself with a self-awareness and maturity that inevitably comes with age and parenthood. The parallels drawn from his lack of prowess in the latter (because of the skills his work requires) was fascinating. The closing chapter was particularly insightful and a great way to finish. Besides that, some of my favourites were the chapters dealing with certain documentary subjects: Alcoholism, Dementia, San Quentin (even though they basically read like transcripts from the episodes). Despite its downfalls, I still really enjoyed Gotta Get Theroux This and recommend it to fans of his work, or those interested in journalism and TV. I look forward to seeing what Louis does next! “Sometimes good work arises from the absence of other options and fate rewards those who hold their nerve when things aren’t going well.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I had high expectations going into this but I was defintely let down. While this was interesting, I found that it lacked much humour or wit. I think Louis is really funny so I was expecting some humour in this book. Unfortunately I felt that it wasn't very funny, which is a shame. I don't read a lot of memoirs, but I choose to pick this one up because I really like Louis and the documentaries he has done but I ended up not really enjoying this much. It felt very formal, fact after fact after fact a I had high expectations going into this but I was defintely let down. While this was interesting, I found that it lacked much humour or wit. I think Louis is really funny so I was expecting some humour in this book. Unfortunately I felt that it wasn't very funny, which is a shame. I don't read a lot of memoirs, but I choose to pick this one up because I really like Louis and the documentaries he has done but I ended up not really enjoying this much. It felt very formal, fact after fact after fact and that wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting more personal insight into his life and career I also really do not recommend the audiobook. Louis does impressions of the famous people he was interviewing or making a documentary about , which was cringey and hard to listen to. In my opinion doing an impression of Jimmy savile is just bad taste and inappropriate. Overall, this was just alright but largely very disappointing

  11. 5 out of 5

    DJ

    The bad type of celebrity memoir that just recounts the different pieces of work the person has done. Since Theroux works on documentaries, with himself as a presenter and subject, this is more annoying than usual. The book recounts most of his documentaries and how he reacted to certain subjects. Since I've already seen the documentaries, and knew how he reacted through watching them, this made the book somewhat redundant. Theroux does get deeper on two subjects, his relationship with Jimmy Savi The bad type of celebrity memoir that just recounts the different pieces of work the person has done. Since Theroux works on documentaries, with himself as a presenter and subject, this is more annoying than usual. The book recounts most of his documentaries and how he reacted to certain subjects. Since I've already seen the documentaries, and knew how he reacted through watching them, this made the book somewhat redundant. Theroux does get deeper on two subjects, his relationship with Jimmy Savile and his marriage to his second wife. I didn't find either subject very satisfying, mainly because there seemed to be little growth on Theroux's part in either area. He's clinical in discussing the details but I didn't get a sense he delved as deep as he could have. There seemed to be little growth with Theroux throughout the book, aside from getting better at making documentaries, which meant it didn't describe a very compelling journey.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison Vicary

    If you enjoy watching Louis on the tv you will absolutely love this book. He goes into some detail on some of the main tv programmes, the fantastic Scientology film as well as elements of his private life, but by far is the indepth goings on and his personal feelings on the Jimmy Savile affair and how for some ridiculous reason he still appears to carry some guilt. I adore watching Louis's programmes and am happy to say I have watched them all and this book just adds to the understanding of the If you enjoy watching Louis on the tv you will absolutely love this book. He goes into some detail on some of the main tv programmes, the fantastic Scientology film as well as elements of his private life, but by far is the indepth goings on and his personal feelings on the Jimmy Savile affair and how for some ridiculous reason he still appears to carry some guilt. I adore watching Louis's programmes and am happy to say I have watched them all and this book just adds to the understanding of the man himself . All I can say is buy and read This amazing book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I have enjoyed many of Louis's documentaries and this memoir is mainly a look at all the different programmes he has made plus a bit of personal background. It was interesting but not ground breaking! I love Louis's use of language and it worked so well narrated by Louis himself. It was great to relive/recall some of my favourite programmes.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie M

    Admissions: 1) I’m a Louis Theroux fan (so perceptions may be biased). 2) I’ve watched/listened/read most of his work (hmm...May skew the bias). 3) Listened to the audio version narrated by Louis (I always seem to enjoy the author/narrator presentations a little more). Review: interesting, in-depth and interspersed with lashings of misgivings and personal fear of failure. Not entirely chronological but delving into the issues which occur during filming, the sheer length of time it takes and the v Admissions: 1) I’m a Louis Theroux fan (so perceptions may be biased). 2) I’ve watched/listened/read most of his work (hmm...May skew the bias). 3) Listened to the audio version narrated by Louis (I always seem to enjoy the author/narrator presentations a little more). Review: interesting, in-depth and interspersed with lashings of misgivings and personal fear of failure. Not entirely chronological but delving into the issues which occur during filming, the sheer length of time it takes and the various hurdles were enlightening. What makes the cut and what never sees the day we’re also very interesting. The downside (and as a fan this is difficult to admit), some topics are over-baked and others barely in the mixing bowl. It is a long read at times, when I felt I just ‘had to get through this bit’ (but flies by in other sections). Devoted fans will thoroughly enjoy; fence-sitters will probably still enjoy it and if Louis’s style drives you nuts, this non-fiction is a replication of his persona in words. I’d highly recommend to fans of Louis Theroux.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruthy lavin

    I’ve often thought about my fantasy top 10 dream dinner party guests and Louis Theroux would be in the top 5 for sure! He is just such a tonic. Witty, down-to-earth, approachable, intelligent, funny and a fantastic writer with amazing recall, this book is a revelation. A brilliant read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I enjoyed this but I preferred his first book, " The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures " A lot of this book recounts scenes from his documentaries, some of which I've seen many times already.. I was interested in behind-the-scenes moments or details about abandoned projects. He describes a lot of his doubts about his work and the extent of his imposter syndrome, he's also very critical of himself, particularly for not uncovering Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse somehow. The most persona I enjoyed this but I preferred his first book, " The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures " A lot of this book recounts scenes from his documentaries, some of which I've seen many times already.. I was interested in behind-the-scenes moments or details about abandoned projects. He describes a lot of his doubts about his work and the extent of his imposter syndrome, he's also very critical of himself, particularly for not uncovering Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse somehow. The most personal the book gets is when he describes how his work affected his relationship. He was busy working on his documentaries when his children were young - leaving for two weeks at a time - and he describes how frustrated and unhappy his wife was. She thought he should spend more time at home with the children and less traveling for work, he thought they should hire help so she would be less burdened. It sounds like the relationship problems are ongoing, given he said this in an interview recently: "Nancy thinks that (I will retire soon), and I don't know that I have the heart to tell her that I don't see it on the horizon" (kind of odd to say this in an interview) These sections are unpleasant to read because the relationship sounds so unhappy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leo Robertson

    Awesome! If people are extremely British, it's like nowhere they go or nothing they see in the world can convince them out of their Britishness! They're all, "Ooh, sorry", "How did I get here?" and "Did I do anything worthy of an award?" It's like "No, Mr de Botton, not all things end inevitably in disappointment—you're just very British" :P

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Keddie

    I downloaded this book to audible based on the positive reviews but found it very disappointing as a biography. Apart from some small, carefully sanitised, sections on his actual life, most of the book was taken up with a mix of endless analysis of his friendship with Jimmy Saville and a lengthy description and retelling of every documentary he has ever made tape by tape. I got the feeling that after signing the book deal he must have had writers block and resorted to watching all his back catal I downloaded this book to audible based on the positive reviews but found it very disappointing as a biography. Apart from some small, carefully sanitised, sections on his actual life, most of the book was taken up with a mix of endless analysis of his friendship with Jimmy Saville and a lengthy description and retelling of every documentary he has ever made tape by tape. I got the feeling that after signing the book deal he must have had writers block and resorted to watching all his back catalogue of work and re-enacting it along with comments he found from any other notebooks from the time which he perhaps found in a box in the garage. I am surprised this book is so highly rated as it just seemed really badly constructed to me and lazy. In the audio version we get a bonus chapter where he begins by explaining that his editor made him cut two chapters on Jimmy Saville out of the printed book as she felt he was in danger of the Jimmy machinations overpowering the purpose of the text (which they do). He then explains in the audio book that he still thinks that one of the chapters is pretty good and thus inflicts it on the listener... I always quite liked Louis but I found this book excruciating and increasingly pushed the ‘skip forward’ button as it progressed. Come on Louis, as a journalist you can surely do better than this?!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sam (she_who_reads_)

    I’m not even a little surprised that I loved this- I have been watching and enjoying Louis Theroux’s documentaries for years and years, so it was great to get some insights into the making of them. I felt this was very open and honest look back at this life- often brutally so. He definitely doesn’t shy away from talking about things he thinks he did wrong, or exploring painful moments in his past. If you’re a fan of his, or of his documentaries, then I can’t imagine you won’t also enjoy this boo I’m not even a little surprised that I loved this- I have been watching and enjoying Louis Theroux’s documentaries for years and years, so it was great to get some insights into the making of them. I felt this was very open and honest look back at this life- often brutally so. He definitely doesn’t shy away from talking about things he thinks he did wrong, or exploring painful moments in his past. If you’re a fan of his, or of his documentaries, then I can’t imagine you won’t also enjoy this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Esther King

    I am a little bit of a documentary addict. Given the opportunity, on the rare occasion where I tear myself away from books and face a television screen head-on, I am drawn mostly away from fiction and into the nasty corners of people's lives and appalling world industries. Given this, Louis Theroux is one of my favourite documentary makers, in part because he is a documentary in and of himself. He's somewhat difficult to work out, teetering between taking the mickey out of his sometimes ridiculo I am a little bit of a documentary addict. Given the opportunity, on the rare occasion where I tear myself away from books and face a television screen head-on, I am drawn mostly away from fiction and into the nasty corners of people's lives and appalling world industries. Given this, Louis Theroux is one of my favourite documentary makers, in part because he is a documentary in and of himself. He's somewhat difficult to work out, teetering between taking the mickey out of his sometimes ridiculous subjects, and other times giving an absolutely genuine and heart-rendering display of empathy. His style of journalism is fairly unmatched, and I appreciate it endlessly. This book, however, has given me an insight into him that I think has cleared a lot of the fog for me surrounding Louis. He just...is. What he presents on the screen is borne of his genuine curiosity and hunger to see the strange parts of people, to get them to reveal themselves- he's not playing at being someone else, he just wants to know things, and present them to his audience. I find his subject selection process fascinating too, and there was so much information in this book to absorb. This book takes the reader essentially 'behind the scenes' of Louie's documentaries, and it adds a whole new dimension. I think one of this book's strengths as well is the Jimmy Savile sections. Louie finds himself in the moral quandary of having had Savile as a subject and, to some ends, a friend, whilst later scrutinising his documentary for signs of what was lurking underneath. Theroux is not singular in the deception that was undertaken by Savile on him- he fooled the British public for decades, but he was perhaps closer to him than others. I think these chapters provide such an insight into the difficulty that documentary makers who 'go in' like Theroux does when the line between professionalism and personal blurs. This book was fascinating, and I feel like it's given me the other half of Theroux that I was missing the context for. Especially good if you're already a fan!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    To be honest, I got theroux (!) this mostly as an audio book - read by Louis Theroux himself. His voice, diction and overall narration reminded me of the voice-over from one of his documentaries - awkward, educated and inquiring. The biggest surprise for me was the separation of the screen-self to the lived-self. Obviously, the screen-self is crafted and edited. But, how much was genuine and spontaneous has always intrigued me as a viewer. Theroux shares his inner thoughts and self with the read To be honest, I got theroux (!) this mostly as an audio book - read by Louis Theroux himself. His voice, diction and overall narration reminded me of the voice-over from one of his documentaries - awkward, educated and inquiring. The biggest surprise for me was the separation of the screen-self to the lived-self. Obviously, the screen-self is crafted and edited. But, how much was genuine and spontaneous has always intrigued me as a viewer. Theroux shares his inner thoughts and self with the reader, showing self-doubt, self-awareness and informed self-reflection. As a viewer I had never taken the time to research Theroux’s background or education. Quotes from Nietzsche, French phrases and referencing historians made me realise my expectations of Theroux were way off. And, I ended up googling a few of his relatives after they were mentioned in the text. How did I not realise his father was a writer?! And Justin Theroux..! I just assumed it was a common name. Overall, those three stars I’ve tapped above don’t reflect the anticipation and enjoyment I felt each day returning to this book and audiobook, or to Louis Theroux’s work. It’s been like catching up with an old school friend and reminiscing. I watched all those documentaries over the years, and returning to them in this text has been oddly rewarding. Thank you, Louis Theroux.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matt Whittingham

    Enjoyable, and almost more of a companion piece to the TV shows, than an out and out autobiography. You do get a sense of his career progression, his first big break (from fellow documentarian Michael Moore), and some of his home life (parents, early marriage, children). But mainly this is a behind the scenes commentrary to some of the more famous TV episodes. It does focus too much on Jimmy Saville, an event so huge it seems to still bug him now. Perhaps more than the fact he didn't get anyway Enjoyable, and almost more of a companion piece to the TV shows, than an out and out autobiography. You do get a sense of his career progression, his first big break (from fellow documentarian Michael Moore), and some of his home life (parents, early marriage, children). But mainly this is a behind the scenes commentrary to some of the more famous TV episodes. It does focus too much on Jimmy Saville, an event so huge it seems to still bug him now. Perhaps more than the fact he didn't get anyway near revealing the true Saville, I think is a sense of guilt, or at the very least, contradictory feelings, about a man that he became friends with. The book returns repeatedly to this subject, and the audiobook version extra content, is devoted to, yep, more Jimmy Saville. I would have preferred more of an insight on his views on other complex moral issues covered by some of his later work - anoerexia, choosing suicide, and US states, blighted by guns and violance. Admittedly, this would not have made a very fun read. Overall, despite the sometimes lightweightness of the subject matter, I like Louis Therous alot, and this is an enjoyable read (or listen in my case, on an Audiobook, read by Louis himself)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times on Television is, like the author, self deprecating, honest and amusing. If you like Louis Theroux you'll like this. He spends a disproportionate time discussing Jimmy Savile, someone he regarded as a kind of friend, so perhaps not surprising he wants to unpack his feelings about him. Elsewhere he briefly chronicles his childhood, university, early working life, his loves, and his family. Louis Theroux has carved out an interesting niche in televis Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times on Television is, like the author, self deprecating, honest and amusing. If you like Louis Theroux you'll like this. He spends a disproportionate time discussing Jimmy Savile, someone he regarded as a kind of friend, so perhaps not surprising he wants to unpack his feelings about him. Elsewhere he briefly chronicles his childhood, university, early working life, his loves, and his family. Louis Theroux has carved out an interesting niche in television, and it is when discussing his work, specifically his more memorable documentaries, that this book works best. So much so, that I could have done without most of the other stuff. 3/5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Barrett

    The spectre of Jimmy Savile looms throughout this book. During a first date with his future wife he remembers it was somewhere he went with Jimmy. During his wedding reception he gets the word that ITV is releasing their documentary on Savile's crimes. Perhaps, a book just on Savile probably would have been great. However, it means everything else feels slightly secondary. Louis wrestling with what his friendship with Savile meant often feels like the most honest and insightful parts of the book The spectre of Jimmy Savile looms throughout this book. During a first date with his future wife he remembers it was somewhere he went with Jimmy. During his wedding reception he gets the word that ITV is releasing their documentary on Savile's crimes. Perhaps, a book just on Savile probably would have been great. However, it means everything else feels slightly secondary. Louis wrestling with what his friendship with Savile meant often feels like the most honest and insightful parts of the book. I got the impression he hasn't fully accepted the gravity of Savile's crimes, and even seems to downplay them at times (E.g. it was only groping, some claims were exaggerated, it was 200 not 1000 complaints'). But as autobiographies go, it's pretty good and delivered in his same self-effacing style from the telly.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Like Call of the Weird before it, this book is an exercise in recycling. The most interesting parts are about Louis himself, unusual in a man normally so self-effacing. It will make some readers feel old to see Paul Theroux relegated to the role of dad and tidied away in the early chapters. It does, however, provide the book’s funniest paragraph. ‘My father published short stories in Playboy so there was also, conveniently, a stash of pornography in the house. I borrowed these and I find it hard Like Call of the Weird before it, this book is an exercise in recycling. The most interesting parts are about Louis himself, unusual in a man normally so self-effacing. It will make some readers feel old to see Paul Theroux relegated to the role of dad and tidied away in the early chapters. It does, however, provide the book’s funniest paragraph. ‘My father published short stories in Playboy so there was also, conveniently, a stash of pornography in the house. I borrowed these and I find it hard to believe he never noticed them becoming more battered throughout the eighties. It’s possible he thought I was reading his fiction.’ Louis’s blank, ease-setting persona isn’t entirely a pose; but its application, off-camera, makes him sound like a savant. He reacts to the birth of his children the way a check-out girl reacts to scanning through her umpteenth tin of soup.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ewen

    Louis Theroux is as weirdly wonderful on the page as he is on screen. This thoughtful and funny revisitation of his more memorable celebrity and cultist encounters feels intimate and revealing - offering a unique insight into Louis’ creative process. It’s also a surprisingly candid reflection on his own foibles; after much soul-searching, he identifies as being as complicated, flawed and ultimately human as his documentary subjects. A commendable attempt at self-examination, this is a great read Louis Theroux is as weirdly wonderful on the page as he is on screen. This thoughtful and funny revisitation of his more memorable celebrity and cultist encounters feels intimate and revealing - offering a unique insight into Louis’ creative process. It’s also a surprisingly candid reflection on his own foibles; after much soul-searching, he identifies as being as complicated, flawed and ultimately human as his documentary subjects. A commendable attempt at self-examination, this is a great read for fans of the documentary-maker, or anyone who enjoys a bloody good autobiography!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Jean

    Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book, and I would recommend it. I found it entertaining and well-paced. However, Louis' reflections on Saville are disappointing, cold, detached and far too focused on himself and Saville rather than the victims. I've read other reviewers writing that Louis was 'deeply affected' by the revelations about Saville. While I agree that he was undoubtedly perturbed and inconvenienced by them, I don't completely agree with the implication that he was saddened or sic Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book, and I would recommend it. I found it entertaining and well-paced. However, Louis' reflections on Saville are disappointing, cold, detached and far too focused on himself and Saville rather than the victims. I've read other reviewers writing that Louis was 'deeply affected' by the revelations about Saville. While I agree that he was undoubtedly perturbed and inconvenienced by them, I don't completely agree with the implication that he was saddened or sickened as one might expect. His musings instead sound vaguely self-righteous and defensive and like those of someone who just doesn't quite get the big deal. For example, he troublingly refers to the act of Jimmy raping a fourteen year old having groomed her for several weeks and luring her to a caravan, which subsequently leaves her pregnant and having to give her baby up for adoption, as "having sex with". It shouldn't have to be explained to Louis that it's not possible for a man in a position of staggering power to have consenting sex with a fourteen year old child; this was rape and it should have been called that word instead of being sanitised. Perhaps he was respecting her choice of words, but if this was the case he should have commented to make that clear. Louis also alludes a couple of times to the well-worn argument about "different times and different moral values" in a vague but lucid way that gives the impression that he is at his core very sympathetic to this view. Strikingly, at no point in the extremely long treatment of the subject does he report any humane or compassionate emotional responses to the victims' harrowing testimonies. Nor does he report any emotional responses to re-watching his time with Saville that one would expect of someone who has connected with the plight of these victims, such as revulsion, horror or disturbed feelings. Instead, after reviewing one tape he admits to "boredom" and the old feelings of friendship and familiarity stirring up. Whilst I admire his honesty in other parts of the book, his admission of this was perhaps ill-judged and too revealing. He let some of the victims' testimonies stand for themselves, but the omission of human feeling was ultimately troubling. It makes me reflect on those who idealise Louis Theroux' questioning and see his sparse style as magical and nonjudgmental and it makes me think that we often project onto mysterious, stoic and intelligent white men a great deal more compassion than they may actually posses. ​ Linked to this, at the beginning of the book Louis was utterly lacking in awareness of his own white privilege when meeting with white supremecist after Nazi after white supremecist. Nor did he at any point concede that he couldn't have had that job as a black or brown person. He reported his feelings of mild excitement or whatever else in being in close proximity to these men with a stunning lack of reflection that his cool, calm and collectedness was not owing to character superiority but rather to the fact that his physical size, maleness, straightness and whiteness and lack of racialised traumatic history conferred on him a sense of security and safety in their presence that others would not have been afforded. Again, no mention of the lived experience of victims of Nazism or racism. Moreover, although I commend his honesty in talking about the arguments with his wife about her carrying the disproportionate burden of childcare and domestic tasks, he never gets to a point of connecting with or understanding the inherent gendered injustices here, nor does he reflect in a meaningful way about plight of women. ​ ​ Finally, throughout the book Louis regularly lumps mentally ill people in with categories of weirdos, paedophiles and murderers apparently without realising how stigmatising this is. The first time he did it, I could overlook it. The third time, when he said things like, "talking about prisoners or the mentally ill, I can't remember which", I was bothered. ​Again, people's lack of mental illness is not due to character superiority but due to the privilege of a good enough childhood and young adulthood that are absent of permanently damaging traumas. In his book, however, they are very much "othered" and constructed as objects of weird fascination. ​ Louis makes some commendable efforts at superficial humility and self-deprecation in the book, but I couldn't help but feel that this was slightly performed and that he is perhaps more narcissistic than he lets on, particularly in the context of the glaring omissions of sentiment at appropriate points. It is clear that he utterly lacks deep or nuanced understanding of complex issues of societal injustice (ironically, given the subjects of his documentaries) and how they affect the lived experience of people of colour or women. I suspect that since he's moved in the world as a male it's unlikely he's experienced the build up of objectification, injustice, harassment and very often assault that women have had scar, rattle and challenge them repeatedly, and that it is likely owing to this that he cannot- despite repetitive and lengthy meditation on the subject- muster anything approximating depth of feeling or authentic empathy that would connect him to the horrific experiences endured by Saville's victims. There is far too much justification of why he "missed" the signs, which is unfortunately missing the point. ​I guess we are all an amalgamation of our experiences and people cannot give what they don't have. But Louis is someone who has had ample opportunity for education on these subjects, more than most, and I expected more. ​ All of these are critiques of Louis' moral perspective in the book and not critiques of the book itself. The book is full of admirable candor at times, it has momentum and is compelling and interesting. It remains eloquent and intelligent throughout. However, after spending so much time with Louis and this book I felt the need to get this off my chest. Hopefully, Louis will read and take in some of the points from these reviews and carry them into future documentaries.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    I thought this was very good, in spite of the dreadful title. (It’s a reference to other people’s “humorous” use of his name, but even so…). Louis Theroux is a very intelligent, amusing, thoughtful and humane man. His TV work speaks for itself and, like many others, I have enjoyed it and learned a great deal from it. There is a good deal of interesting insight here into how Louis got into making documentaries, the process of making them and some of the consequences of the programmes for him and f I thought this was very good, in spite of the dreadful title. (It’s a reference to other people’s “humorous” use of his name, but even so…). Louis Theroux is a very intelligent, amusing, thoughtful and humane man. His TV work speaks for itself and, like many others, I have enjoyed it and learned a great deal from it. There is a good deal of interesting insight here into how Louis got into making documentaries, the process of making them and some of the consequences of the programmes for him and for others. What really shines through here, though, is his insights into people, including himself. He gives thoughtful, nuanced portraits of those he has met and of his own behaviour. He is honest and very self-critical at times, but also recognises the complexity of people and of human behaviour, including his own. The spectre of Jimmy Savile looms large in the book, as it must. Louis became sort-of-friends with Savile after making a documentary about him and I found his thoughts about the whole affair fascinating and very well-balanced. For example, he describes his own complex responses to the revelations: “I felt alternately defensive, annoyed apologetic and self-critical. I was irked by the piety and self-righteousness of those critics who suggested I should have seen more. And I wished I had seen more.” And this, of the aftermath: “[Savile’s] purpose was now to make everyone else in society feel OK that they aren’t him. He had become a thought-stopping device, and a way for creepy men to make themselves look better...” I found all that very insightful, and this was true of a great deal in the book. I found Gotta Get Theroux this a readable, stimulating and enjoyable book. Recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark Farley

    Freaks, weirdos and the evil of society. The misunderstood and eccentrics of this world. Something right up my alley. I secretly wish I was Louis Theroux. But that will never happen. So I live vicariously through his documentaries of anything fucked up in this world. And this book has been long overdue. It's packed full of porn stars, the KKK, Scientologists, Christian hate groups, hippy communes and lots and lots of Jimmy Savile. Oh yes, buckle yourselves in, folks. Jimmy Savile is all through Freaks, weirdos and the evil of society. The misunderstood and eccentrics of this world. Something right up my alley. I secretly wish I was Louis Theroux. But that will never happen. So I live vicariously through his documentaries of anything fucked up in this world. And this book has been long overdue. It's packed full of porn stars, the KKK, Scientologists, Christian hate groups, hippy communes and lots and lots of Jimmy Savile. Oh yes, buckle yourselves in, folks. Jimmy Savile is all through this one and perhaps, that seems to have become Louis' lasting moment. A legacy, if you will. One of naively overlooking a monster. Albeit a very clever monster, a well connected abuser of power. And very very cunning and sick man, propped up by an establishment in fear of it's own association. A relic of a weird time, more commonly known as the 70s and 80s. Theroux seems somewhat tortured by essentially befriending the country's most well known pervert and consistently questions his skills and motives as an interviewer. How he could have spent so much time with this figure and missed the truth will probably haunt him always. Aside from the amount of space given to a tragic pedophile and necrophile, it's really very good. Fans of his excellent documentaries will enjoy this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Advantages: • It was a completely truthful and honest interpretation of Louis Theroux's thoughts, actions and feelings during his life. Disadvantages: • I know a lot about Louis Theroux already, I've seen most of his documentaries, interviews and guest appearances and this is what the book focused on. • The main feature of the autobiography was his friendship with Jimmy Savile - a boring and at times, uncomfortable read. More was mentioned about Jimmy Savile than anything else. • A side to Lo Advantages: • It was a completely truthful and honest interpretation of Louis Theroux's thoughts, actions and feelings during his life. Disadvantages: • I know a lot about Louis Theroux already, I've seen most of his documentaries, interviews and guest appearances and this is what the book focused on. • The main feature of the autobiography was his friendship with Jimmy Savile - a boring and at times, uncomfortable read. More was mentioned about Jimmy Savile than anything else. • A side to Louis that we haven't seen on-screen was implied heavily in the book - a narcissistic, privileged man. A part of me wishes I never read certain sections of this book because I genuinely did admire Louis Theroux for his hard work and genuine introversion, though the autobiography is written from an arrogant and confident perspective at times. • I felt unsatisfied with the amount of detail about Louis's personal life. Most of the content was recalling his memories filming documentaries (many of which like other readers, I have already seen!) - this was disappointing.

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