Biography & Memoir Littlejohn's Lost World by Richard Littlejohn | Book Review Roundup | The Omnivore

Published on June 11th, 2014


Littlejohn’s Lost World by Richard Littlejohn

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Blurb: Richard Littlejohn was born in Ilford, Essex in 1954. It wasn’t just another century, it was another country. Wartime rationing was still in force. Children who grew up in the fifties and sixties ran free and wild. They were always outdoors and played in cornfields, on building sites and in air raid shelters. There was no suffocating elf’n'safety culture, no computer games and no-one suffered from now-fashionable food allergies. Milk came from cows at the local dairy, not supermarkets. Beef dripping was good for you. Instead of the internet, there were libraries. Instead of 24-hour satellite television, there was the anarchic free-for-all of Saturday morning pictures and the Under The Bedclothes Club on Radio Luxembourg. Richard revisits childhood haunts, encountering an England changed beyond recognition – from the covered market which is now a 30-storey Dubai-style tower block to his old primary school, where pupils now speak 20 different languages as their mother tongue. His old grammar school has been abolished and demolished. From Muffin the Mule to Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, this book is part memoir, part social documentary. Poignant, warm and funny, it really is a journey to a Lost World.

(Hutchinson, 2014)

Roger Lewis, The Times 

“Those who think he is a tabloid motormouth or a coarse pub bore with barely concealed Ukip credentials must think again. Littlejohn has a sharp, anarchic intelligence, underpinned with an aching nostalgia.”

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Julie Burchill, The Spectator 

“Though his reputation is nastier than [Rod] Liddle’s, his book is far cosier; though it similarly deals wth things we have lost, it’s strangely cheery, as opposed to Liddle’s long wail of misery. This is probably because Littlejohn follows his own rules of good behaviour, and therefore isn’t constantly aware of being hoist on the petard of his hypocrisy, as Liddle obviously is. The portrait Littlejohn paints of his early childhood is far from appealing, full of sadistic dentists, freezing schools and sunshine-free holidays. But born in 1954, he was a child of the 1960s more than the 1950s, and the time he details most lovingly was in fact the decade when the old rules were overturned and things got messy.”

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Catherine Bennett, The Observer 

“…a memoir which could almost have been written as a corrective to Alan Johnson’s dismaying, though utterly compelling, account of poverty in contemporaneous London… To study Littlejohn, whose day job is the excoriation of contemporary British life, is to see how the least promising-looking memory can be endowed with meaning, once contrasted with an inglorious present.”

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