Title: Talking Heads
Author: Alan Bennett
Page Count: 272
I was pretty excited when I spotted this going cheap in a charity shop because I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few Alan Bennett books and this is one of his most well-known. I also know that it’s a huge influence on fellow writer and BookTuber Charlie Heathcote, and indeed his Our Doris series is also a series of monologues.
But dare I say it? I think Charlie’s book is better. It certainly made me laugh more, and while the two obviously have a lot in common, I think Charlie leaned more towards writing a good book while Bennett leaned towards writing a good monologue for TV/radio. It’s a subtle distinction, but it just meant that for me, I felt as though I was missing something.
I think that this book is probably better suited to people who are already Talking Heads fans. That’s kind of what it feels like, a sort of spin-off from a TV show. It reminds me of the A Bit of Fry and Laurie book, which was basically just the scripts from the show. It was okay, but seeing them actually performed was better.
I am still glad I read this though, and Bennett as always raises some interesting points and discussion subjects. It just wasn’t quite on the same level as The Lady in the Van, The Uncommon Reader and some of his others. I felt like that about The History Boys too, so maybe it’s just a case of the books sometimes being overtaken by their hype.