Books & Literature

Book Review: I Am NOT Fine, Thanks, by Wil Anderson

HUMOUR: Part memoir, part manifesto and all comedy, this is a book that will both make your every frustration feel heard and show you that there is plenty to hope for.

Australia’s greatest comedian comes to grips with the pandemic and everything we need to do to help us be better people in a hilarious new book.

Wil Anderson wants to make it perfectly clear that the last few years have taken their toll on him and he is NOT fine, thanks for asking.

Anderson is one of Australia’s greatest living comedians. For over 25 years, he has been a staple on stages around the country (and the world), on the television via shows like The Gruen Transfer and Question Everything, and also on his many podcasts, including TOFOP and Wilosophy. Unlike his previous two books, this is not just a collection of columns but rather a structured narrative that puts the comedic eye on the events of the last two years especially. Fans hoping for a memoir that covers Anderson’s entire career will be left rather short-changed. That does not, however, diminish the impact of this book.

Fans of comedy and the comedic process will do very well to study the craftsmanship in this book and how the skills honed on the stage for his long-form shows have transferred to the written page. There are perpetual callbacks and in-jokes that reward the observant reader. Of course, the humour is absolutely on point and many of his jokes will make you laugh hysterically.

Underneath the humour, though, are a number of pertinent messages. Anderson is a deep thinker (always has been) and his anger at the state of our planet and the lack of action bubbles over on many occasions. He intelligently dissects the role humans have played in the destruction of our planet and how political inaction has cost us dearly. He highlights the resilience of the people of Mullumbimby in New South Wales who have suffered enormous floods in recent years. Anderson lives in the community and he has seen firsthand how people, rather than politicians, have rallied to support the area and save it from being washed away. In other parts of the book, he takes aim at the culture of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists with a cutting-edge wit and takes them to task for their role in turning our population into a bunch of people who don’t believe anything.

Written in short, easy-to-digest chapters, this book will entertain and, hopefully, enlighten and encourage us all to look at the world around us. It will make you smile, laugh and take pause as we consider our next move. Anderson challenges us all to laugh and cry at the same time and acknowledge that sometimes it is okay to actually say, “I’m not fine, thanks”. He challenges us to help others, even if we disagree with them, and to look at things from angles we haven’t thought about.

This is a fantastic read for fans of Anderson, who will no doubt enjoy the gold level comedy on display, as well as the important messages he brings.  

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Published by: Allen and Unwin
Released: November 2022
RRP: $32.99

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