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I’ve never been a devotee of Nick Hornby’s more laddish books but this one isn’t blokey at all and I loved it. Funny Girl is the story of the pop culture of the 1960s when television sitcoms were beginning to make their mark. Barbara Parker is a young pneumatic blonde in the mould of Diana Dors (Google her kids!) who wins a beauty contest but surrenders her crown to follow her dream of becoming a comedienne like her heroine Lucille Ball. She moves to London where she lands a role in a long-running sitcom and shoots to stardom.
Hornby has a lot of fun sending up cultural snobs and punctuation pedants as well as touching on more serious subjects such as the reality of being gay back then. It’s a smooth and entertaining read that captures an era in British television that was more naïve and immeasurably more glamorous.