I was sent a Kindle copy of kNot: Entanglement with a Celebrity: a memoir by a woman for review.
This book is the true story of a woman who dated Russell Brand in 2007, just as his career was taking off. Despite the fact there’s a photo of him on the cover, and many more of him with the author throughout the book, she has chosen to call him by the pseudonym Randall Grand in the book. Other people are called by pseudonyms too, including the protagonist, Dina.
Since Russell Brand divorced Kary Perry (or did she divorce him? Who can tell) there has been much speculation in the media as to what went on. Both sides have made snide comments in the media, but as with most celebrity breakups, nobody knows what really went on. This book is interesting in that respect; it fills in the blanks of what it would be like to have a relationship with Brand.
This book took a bit of getting used to while reading; it’s not written in a linear fashion, which is really confusing. I can understand how when you come out of a relationship that has been incredibly intense and all encompassing, things tend to come back in bits and bobs here and there, and the book is written as if she’s visiting a therapist of sorts. It’s written in the same way that we all remember relationships: in random flash-backs which are hard to put into order. Still, if I’m honest, had I received the book in paper format, I would have been inclined to rip the pages out and try and piece them back together into some sort of chronological story. It makes it hard to follow what happened before or after other things – but then, I think when you’ve been in a relationship like that, the recovery process can be quite disorienting – which I think is what the author is trying to get at, by laying it out like this. Having been in an abusive relationship, there were many points in this book where I wanted to scream at her to just bloody walk away from him – not that I’m saying Brand was abusing her; she takes great pains to ensure the reader knows she was complicit, that she understood what he was doing and just sort of shrugged and went along with a lot of it. I have a very low tolerance for that sort of behaviour these days though and I found it infuriating that she didn’t just kick him in the nuts and tell him to get lost!
The “therapist” the author is visiting in order to exorcise her demons and “shed” her skin… is a snake. From what I can make out, at least. The parts where she’s talking to this snake and “flitting” between memories are written in italics and if I’m honest, after I realised they had no relevance to the story, I began to skip those bits. They were a bit weird and the way the snake spoke like thisz all ze time really irked me!
I found the story of this book interesting, because Russell Brand is clearly one of those people who has their public “famous” persona, and then their actual persona – and from what this book says, the two are not very alike. Which I can’t help but think must be exhausting to keep up! It seems to have been exhausting for “Dina” too, and the relationship seems to have swallowed her whole. I find that since reading the book, I look at Brand’s books etc in a different light – especially this latest documentary that’s been made about him.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a real stickler for correct spelling and grammar. Some might even call me pedantic. I think this book would really have benefitted from the input of an experienced editor, or at the very least someone who could have pointed out that someone who doesn’t partake of alcohol is teetotal rather than tea-total. Little things like this are the sort of things that drive me to distraction when reading a book. There seems to be a massive misunderstanding between word meanings throughout the book, with social being used in place of sociable and passed instead of past. The famous Profumo affair is referred to as the Perfumo affair, mentioning Christina Keeler when the lady in question was actually Christine Keeler. I know this, because it sounded wrong to me so I Googled it. It irritates me to no end when things like this are published without the same simple checks.
I found myself wondering why the author wrote this book. It’s not a straight-up kiss and tell, and she is actually quite vague when talking of their sexual escapades; it’s not something The Sun would print because she doesn’t go into detail on that sort of thing. I know Popbitch slated this book because of the lack of sex/penis information, saying that this is what people want from a book about a celebrity. I disagree with them; I don’t think it’s what people want; it’s what sells tabloids and the author has not gone down this route, which is admirable considering she probably could have made a mint in doing so.
Towards the end of the book though, I realised why the book had been written. The author begins to write about how she’s been pictured in the papers with Brand, but since she’s refused to give them information, they’ve made up a story. She goes to great lengths throughout the book to make sure the reader is aware that she paid her own way throughout the relationship with Brand, that although she went to Hawaii with him while he filmed a movie, he would have had the same accommodation with or without her. She is not some star fucker; she knew him before he was famous, as we are reminded several times. She’s not beguiled by fame, and seems to not recognise many of the famous people she talks to. For me, this area of the book seems a bit over-exagerrated. Then again, if a red-top had made assumptions like that about me, I would be keen to put the record straight too, I’m sure! And that’s what this book seems to be: part exorcism of demons, part setting the record straight, for those who care to read. It’s a shame the sort of person who would have believed stories about “Russell Brand’s unnamed girlfriend” are unlikely to bother to read this book. And even for those who did believe the stories that appeared, they were eight years ago – nobody cares that much about Russell Brand’s media paper trail, except maybe Brand himself.
Having finished this book, I am still unsure what to make of it. It is not the most well-written book you will ever read, but these days I think about 80% of what’s published could easily be described in the same way. The content of the story is interesting, and it does keep you reading, but I’m not sure if that’s just because it’s about someone I’ve heard of.
Having read the reviews on Amazon, this book seems to be the ultimate Marmite book – people either really love it and applaud the author for having written it, or hate it and think she should never have bothered. I still can’t decide which camp I fall into! It’s definitely an interesting read, and the author has a very distinctive style. I really can’t knock someone who’s managed to get up off their bum, write a book and then self-publish it, when I have managed to do none of the above. Yes, it could do with a bit of a polish – but couldn’t most things these days?
Thanks for reading.