Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Don't Be A Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage @stuheritage @vintagebooks

Stuart Heritage got where he is today by being decent, thoughtful, hardworking and kind. He is, in short, a model citizen. The favourite son.

His younger brother Pete is quick-tempered, peevish and aggressively pig-headed and, for a while, known to his friends as 'Shagger'.

But now, Stu has returned to his hometown to discover that Pete has taken his place. Practical and resourceful where Stu is not, Pete has become a shoulder to lean on. He is now undoubtedly the better son. And all at once Pete and Stu have to reevaluate their fraternal dynamic. It should be easy, but it isn't. Because, well ... Pete's a dick.

Don’t Be A Dick, Pete is Stuart Heritage’s unconventional and laugh-out-loud biography of his brother. It is a hilarious examination of home and family; sons, fathers, fatherhood, sibling relationships and how hard it is to move on in a system that’s loaded with several decades of preconceived ideas about you.

Don't Be A Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage was published in paperback by Vintage Books on 4 May 2017.

Stuart Heritage writes about film, TV and music for The Guardian and if you've ever read any of his reviews, you'll have some idea of what to expect from this story of him and his brother Pete. Oh, and check out his thoughts on the 'Brexit' movie that's rumoured to be happening;  it's gold!

Nigel Farage: the biopic. A disaster movie no one is waiting for

Stuart has written about Pete before, he's featured in his Guardian columns so it really wasn't much of a surprise to find that he'd been able to write almost 300 pages about their relationship. That's 300 very funny pages. Yes, it's full of dry wit and funny stories, but it's also, at the heart of it, a really moving and quite tender look at grown-up sibling relationships.

I can imagine why Stuart thinks that Pete is a dick, but I can also imagine that Pete has a similar view of Stuart. They are brothers, but they are very different. Stuart is convinced that he's the favourite son and Pete is convinced that being a man means that you should compete in Ironman competitions, never take the bus and swing your very small nephew around by the ankles.

Despite their differences, and their many (sometimes pretty traumatic) rows, it is clear that Stuart and Pete have a strong relationship. Through family illnesses, marriages, fatherhood, childhood homes burning down and wine-tasting tours, they continue to bicker and argue and see everything from a different point of view. Yet they are still close, they still visit each other, support each other and take the piss out of each other. Anyone who has a sibling will get this; there's that bond that seems to be almost indestructible, even after the fiercest rows and the most hurtful of slanging matches, and even a few punches.

Warm, touching and absolutely hilarious. I loved this book. I actually think I love Pete .. and Stuart. Fabulous stuff, highly recommended.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Stuart Heritage has written for the Guardian since 2009.
His weekly column about his young son 'Man with a Pram' ran in the paper's Family section between 2015-16
He founded a celebrity news site called Hecklerspray (Metro's Best British Blog in 2007 and the Observer's Top 50 Most Powerful Blogs in the World in 2008) and has written for Vanity Fair, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Red, Marie Clare, NME, ShortList, Time Out and the Radio Times.

He lives in Ashford, Kent

Follow him on Twitter @stuheritage

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