Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Guide to Becoming Distinctly Average by Amy Elliott Smith

About the Book

Title: A Guide To Becoming Distinctly Average
Author: Amy Elliott-Smith
Publication: Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd (4 Jan 2013)/Amazon Kindle
Summary: (amazon) Life is a bitch. Depression is a bitch. Spending your life with depression, working with bitches is the worst of the worst. A Guide to Becoming Distinctly Average is a laugh-out-loud, dark comedy, which delves into the depths of a thirty-something dog groomer’s mind as she struggles to cope with life, depression and dogs who wee up her sofa. Ultimately, the question she must ask is... Can I carry on?

What I Think 

The epigraph of A Guide to Becoming Distinctly Average is a quote from Churchill, which sets the timbre for the whole book: informed, intelligent and thought-provoking. And it's also really funny. 

I've read countless books, but rarely have I seen such a strong opening paragraph: "I wrote my suicide note today. It was shit." I was hooked from the word go. Elliott-Smith's debut novel continues in the same punchy, witty and honest way. 

Although the subject matter of this book is a woman struggling to cope with depression, it's dealt with in such a funny manner that you almost forget what a soul destroying illness it can be. Still viewed by many as a taboo subject, Amy Elliott-Smith tackles it with a sledge hammer: she's going to beat the hell out of it if it's the last thing she does. 

About the Author

Born 17 May 1979 in Chester, Amy Elliott-Smith was brought up in rural Mid-Cheshire.

She began to perform stand up comedy to friends and family at an early age. Aged twenty she decided to book herself in to perform at a gong show. This went well, so Amy did more and more comedy until anxiety and depression hit her like a shovel in the face, effectively halting her career.

A quivering wreck, confined to her room in fear of an irrational and sticky end, Amy began to write. This lifted the gloom a little and, slowly but surely, she become one of you 'normal' people, able to roam free in public once more.

Amy holds a degree in English Literature from Liverpool University so should be treated with respect at all times. As part of her studies she lived in North Carolina for a year where she discovered the wonderful musings of David Sedaris.

Randomly enough, she competed in a yacht race across the Atlantic in 2006 and came 76th (out of 250). She hated every minute of it.

Amy worked at BBC Manchester hosting and writing sketches for her radio show entitled I Should CoCo. She used to model for Vidal Sassoon (oo-er), has written for her local paper (not so oo-er) and has performed stand up comedy across the UK.

Her debut novel, A Guide to Becoming Distinctly Average, was published in February 2013 by Crooked Cat Publishing.


  1. looks like a good read. funny, elliott smith is one of my favorite musicians.

    1. What a coincidence! Would definitely recommend.

  2. I will have to add this to my "to-reads"!

    1. Great to get your comment - thanks! I certainly hope you do get round to reading it.


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