Getting Over The X - Review (or Why I Preferred Steve Brookstein's Book To The Goldfinch)

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You may remember that last month I wrote something about the contestants of series 1 of the X Factor. I spoke to many lovely X Factor contestants (well, I got Tabby's email address) but after two requests to Steve for information he twice replied with a polite but firm "read my book". "Well, Steve," I thought, "I BLOODY WILL READ YOUR BOOK. You will RUE THE DAY you told me to read your book." However, I decided to keep an open mind and eagerly awaited release.

Little did I know that I was going to be lucky enough to get a copy of Steve Brookstein's book before release. Now, I've been stringing together random and overenthusiastic words up on this website for a couple of months now, but this was my biggest coup yet. I was even more excited about this than the time for my 'fitness blog' (lol) I got sent free trainers, and not to beat around the bush here, those trainers were worth ninety quid. As this 'blog' is curated by someone who loves a) The X Factor, b) stuff that happened ten years ago and c) salacious news, as you can imagine this was, to quote Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, RIGHT up my street. IMAGINE MY EXCITEMENT WHEN I SPOTTED THIS:


We've come a long way.

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to hear that this book is more than a little bitter. It's a credit to Steve that he's managed to turn "twisted resentment" into his USP. We'd all be lying if we denied that due to Steve's clear ongoing bad feeling about the entire franchise, this book is obviously more interesting to read than if say, Lovely Joe McElderry knocked up a tome about his own experiences. It's quick and easy to get through; I read most of it on a Saturday evening after the X Factor had finished, and it took me the best part of six months to read The Goldfinch. (Sidenote: Getting Over The X is better than The Goldfinch).

The book, unsurprisingly, opens with Steve's audition on X Factor. He then takes a hundred pages or so to recount the basics of his time on the actual show: he spent more time filming VTs than anything else, he didn't think much of Rowetta, he liked Tabby and has stayed in touch with him after the show (I wonder if Steve is as in touch with Tabby as I am?? I sent Tabby a tweet last week in the hopes he'd remember who I was, and I can confirm I DID get a reply which DID have a winky face.). Steve has an explosive tale or two that I won't repeat up on here but one in particular left me in wide mouthed gapes and is worth a Kindle download alone.

Unfortunately the X Factor only takes up the first third of the book and after this everything begins to tail off a bit. We hear about interviews Steve gives, conversations he has with various people on his team (Max Clifford features particularly heavily) and gigs he performs, but by the time Andy the Binman's on the scene it all starts to blend into one. Bizarrely for me, most of Steve's book post-X Factor is set in the area of South West London to which I moved in year ago, much of it in specific places I go to all the time. Steve describes apprehending someone who nicked his bike at my old bus stop and proposing to his now-wife at a pub I go to all the time. Odd. If I didn't already know he was married I would have to assume that at some point he'd accosted me in a Wetherspoons. Weird how it all comes full circle, eh?

I'm hardly one to criticise someone else's writing style (although look, I managed not to use caps in the whole last paragraph! Unfortunately there is yet to be a paragraph in this review that I've not shoved in a personal anecdote so still needs work) but I was a bit surprised actually to find out this was ghostwritten as some parts could, say, have done with editing. ""Hello, smiley," Sharon purred at me" and "Today, people may consider it harassment, but I was old school" are particular highlights. Overall though, adverbs being chucked around like confetti doesn't bother me as much as The Goldfinch using about four pages to "evocatively" describe any random crap the protagonist spots on the street, so there you go.

I was very excited to read this book and I can't say I was exactly let down, but I'm not sure I was looking forward to it for quite the reasons that Steve and his team were hoping people were looking forward to it. However, it is actually a bit better than I thought it was going to be. So well done Steve & Ghostwriter- deffo going on my re-read list for my next beach holiday.

Small selection of books I've read that I did not enjoy as much as Getting Over The X
The Goldfinch
The fourth Twilight book
This ridiculous book called 'In The Night Circus' which everyone told me was amazing but I'm pretty sure my own extended fantasy stories about meeting and marrying various celebrities are more imaginative
The most recent Bridget Jones book (I mean honestly what a state of affairs that was)
The fourth book in The Song Of Ice And Fire
Official Theory Test for Car Drivers (okay okay I'm going through my recent Kindle orders list)

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Yes.

If you're interested enough in pop culture and the X Factor to have ever read my blog, or have got this far into my review, should you buy it? Yes.

Does this mean I think it's that good, like, objectively? No.

Was Steve right to say to me "read my book" in quite a dismissive fashion twice rather than reply to me with a nice quote for my blog I did last month? I suppose the book pretty much does say it all already, and at least he bothered replying unlike A SINGLE MEMBER OF G4. Surprised that wasn't mentioned in Steve's book to be honest.

Overall: For me personally? 8/10. From an objective perspective? A six and a half. But please remember I think Me and My Broken Heart by Rixton is probably the best song of 2014 so my opinions are not always agreed by everyone. 




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