Book Review: Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage

What’s it about?

Stuart Heritage got where he is today by being decent, thoughtful, hardworking and kind. He is, in short, a model citizen. The favourite son.

His younger brother Pete is quick-tempered, peevish and aggressively pig-headed and, for a while, known to his friends as ‘Shagger’.

But now, Stu has returned to his hometown to discover that Pete has taken his place.

Don’t Be A Dick, Pete is a hilarious examination of home and family; sons, fathers, fatherhood, sibling relationships and how hard it is to move on in a system that’s loaded with several decades of preconceived ideas about you.

(Synopsis borrowed from Amazon because I had no idea where to start with writing a blurb about this book. In a good way.)

My thoughts

This is the second copy of this book I’ve bought. My first was a present for my brother Conor.

“This is a seemingly hilarious book about brothers”, thought I. “Conor can read and has a brother. This is a perfect gift!”

Yet I could never give a book without having read it first (unless it’s one of the intolerable history of Yorkshire ones my mother asks for for Christmas), so I naturally read the first chapter, without breaking the spine.

It’s the story of Stu Heritage and his brother Pete. It’s sort of a biography of Pete with a soupçon of sibling rivalry, and it was so funny that I bought my own copy. I couldn’t even wait for Conor to finish his.

Now, I don’t often laugh at books. Cry, yes (A Little Life, anyone?) but laugh, no. This book made me laugh so much that my darling fiancé complained that the sofa was shaking. I cried with laughter. I was incoherent with giggles. I was incapacitated with mirth.

You get the idea.

Obviously these are real people (real Twitter-active people) and it’s well balanced between sensitivity and honesty. I admire Stu Heritage’s guts in being so open with his family- I’d be interested to hear what they think- but I suppose that’s his job. His Man with a Pram columns in the Guardian kept me entertained every Saturday while they lasted, and I’ll always read stuff he writes. Actually, the same goes for his wife, Robyn Wilder. She’s one of the best lifestyle journalists out there, in my opinion; have a look at her stuff for The Pool. 

Would I recommend it?

Definitely. Any book that can make me laugh is worth its weight in gold. The weight of the hardback version for this one, obviously.

Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage is published by Vintage priced £8.99.

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