Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
Narrated by: Eddie Izzard
Length: 14:37 (368 pages)
I’ve always been a fan of Eddie Izzard, so I was excited when I saw he had written a memoir and narrated it himself. I love self-narrated comedian memoirs. The book spends quite a bit of time on his young life, revolving around the early lose of his mother, and then continues on with his decade-long struggle to launch his comedy career – from street performing to live sketch comedy, and eventually to stand-up.
During this period, he was also coming to terms with being transgender. Coming out as trans today must be terrifying, but I can only imagine how that must have felt back then, with essentially no support. These days people at least have the Internet and a few public role models. It doesn’t mean their home life will be any easier, but at least there’s online support and evidence of people leading healthy and happy lives. He started trying to research this over thirty years ago in a library and eventually found a local support group, after first trying to reach out to a medical professional who essentially ignored him.
I always assumed his coming out must have been made easier by being a famous comedian. Society just tends to be more lenient on performers in that way, writing anything off as artistic eccentricity, but he came out before he was even street performing. I don’t think I’d have the confidence to walk out in public in a dress today, let alone back then. Thankfully it all seemed to go quite well for him. His father was accepting and, while he did have some confrontations, he seemed to be able to live openly quite peacefully.
This really jumps all over the place, covering a wide number of topics and stages of his life, just like you’d imagine a book written by Eddie Izzard would do. It finishes with his amazing charity run of 27 marathons in 27 days, which is just ridiculous. Sometimes I have trouble getting out to buy groceries.
This is definitely one to get on audiobook. He’s constantly going off on footnote tangents in his meandering way, the same as he does in his stand-up and in interviews, even looking things up live on his phone during the audiobook recording. It really adds a lot to the experience.