Title: The Essential Spike Milligan
Author: Spike Milligan
Page Count/Review Word Count: 344
This book is basically the literary equivalent of a “best of”, and that made for a surprisingly good read, even though I’d already read half of the stuff that was in here. That’s because it brings together bits from a bunch of different Milligan books, from his war memoirs to his novel, Puckoon.
Because of that, I was able to skip a lot of the stuff that was in here because there was no point in me re-reading it, and so I was able to whizz through it super quickly simply by skipping what I’d already read. Of course, the same wouldn’t hold true for everyone, and in fact a mark against it might be the fact that it has so many random excerpts.
It’s fine to just share poems and stuff, but it seemed a bit weird to share three different random chapters of Puckoon, even though it’s not exactly the most linear of stories to begin with. Then there were the excerpts of his war diaries, which will either not interest you at all or will interest you so much that you might as well read them in full.
I’d still say that it’s quite an accessible little introductory book if you’ve never read any Milligan before, but I’m also not convinced that it’s necessary. His books are pretty short to begin with, and so why bother with an introduction like this when you could instead read one of his war memoirs, one of his poetry collections and another of his books of your choice in the same amount of time it would take to get through this.
Still, I do enjoy Spike Milligan’s stuff, even though I have a complicated relationship with him on account of his occasional casual racism. I think he’s worth reading at least once, and I guess this is one of the best places to start for a more overall view of things.