In 1994 fledgling journalist Louis Theroux was given a one-off gig on Michael Moore’s TV Nation, presenting a segment on apocalyptic religious sects. Gawky, socially awkward and totally unqualified, his first reaction to this exciting opportunity was panic. But he’d always been drawn to off-beat characters, so maybe his enthusiasm would carry the day. Or, you know, maybe it wouldn’t …
In his book, Louis takes the reader on a joyous journey through his life and unexpectedly successful career. Nervously accepting the BBC’s offer of his own series, he went on to create an award-winning documentary style that has seen him immersed in worlds as diverse as racist US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, the violent gangs of Johannesburg and extreme drinkers in London. Arguably his biggest challenge was corralling celebrities in his When Louis Met series, with Jimmy Savile proving most elusive. Blindsided when the revelations about Savile came to light, Louis was to reflect again on the nature of evil he had spent decades uncovering.
Filled with wry observation, larger-than-life characters, and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his insightful and honest best.
Theroux a Looking-glass
Sometimes I needed to put this book down to contemplate what I had just read - on occasion just a paragraph. At other times I couldn’t put it down, wanting to know what happened next. Both aspects made this an interesting thought provoking read which disabused me of the image of the man I had enjoyed watching on TV for years.
Exactly how I hoped it would be and then some
I enjoyed watching Louis’ tv shows and hoped that the character he displayed on screen was something like he is in real life. I’m so delighted that he is and also such a fascinating, humble character that bears it all in this book. I loved it so much I immediately started listening to it again, and could watch the documentaries with new insight. A pleasure of a book, Louis reads so well and I genuinely laughed and cried while listening to the book. amazing, 11 out of 10.
I enjoyed this book from the start I always looked forward to Louie’s documentaries which show the often bizarre strange world that we live in. Louis comes across as a very likeable and intelligent human being who cares for the subjects that he interviews. I had trouble putting the book down once I started it. I will probably read it again in the future.