1st February 2011
Derren Brown presents an interesting take on the idea of an autobiography - rather than the story of his life it is the story of his personality. The book is presented as a stream of consciousness, structured around a card trick performed at a restaurant in his early days as a magician.
It's a fascinating read, and there are many places where I can identify with what he describes, however if the reader were interested in the facts and figures of Brown's life, his friends, family and so on then they will be disappointed. Instead, what he puts across is how his mind works, its quirks and nuances - the sort of things that everyone will recognise and experience but that are very rarely written of. This insight into myself is what really makes Derren's observations interesting to me.
The story of the magic trick is a good trick in itself, forming a structure around which he can branch off in random directions to cover the stories and observations that he wishes to tell, and it is the thing that kept me going as a reader. The randomness of the content could have lost me in places, but the desire to learn more about the trick is what pulled me along to the next chapter.
That said, I really enjoyed reading it. The footnotes did seem endless and in places were pages longer than the text they are intended to enhance. I love footnotes. It seems a really honest account of the person inside Derren's head, and that's the problem - I'm not entirely convinced that it's not just another mind game and he's having me on.