A wickedly funny memoir with echoes of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Beautiful People (originally published in hardcover as Nasty) is now a BBC comedy hit series from the producer of Ab Fab and The Office.
Proclaimed ""the most brilliant, brash thing in type"" by Liz Smith, Simon Doonan's saucy prose has established him as an emerging star among literary humorists. In this break-through memoir, reminiscent of both Sedaris and Burroughs, he revisits the landscape of his youth, and displays the irresistible charm that earned him his dedicated audience.
Long before he became a celebrity in his own right--as the author of best-selling books, as the style arbiter of VH1 and America's Top Model, and the marketing genius behind Barney's New York--Simon Doonan was a ""scabby knee'd troll"" in Reading, England. In Beautiful People, Doonan returns to the working-class neighborhood of his youth, and chronicles the misadventures of the Doonan clan in all their wacky glory. Readers meet his mother Betty, whose gravity-defying, peroxide hairdo signified her natural glamour; his father Terry, an amateur vintner who turned parsnips into the legendary Chateau Doonan; his grandfather D.C., a hard-drinking betting man who plotted to win his fortune by turning Simon into a jockey; and his demented grandma Narg and schizophrenic Uncle Ken, both of whom lived upstairs.
Fearing he would fall victim to the insanity that runs in his family, or, worse, the banality of suburban life, Doonan decamps with his flamboyant best-friend Biddie to London, where they hope to find the Beautiful People, that elusive clan who luxuriate on floor pillows and amuse each other with bon mots. Throughout the memoir--in essays about family holidays, the tart who lived next door, his first job--Doonan continues his bumbling pursuit of the fabulous life, only to learn, in the end, that perhaps the Beautiful People were the ones he left behind.
""That Simon Doonan is a writer with a flair for the clever aphorism and a trenchant wit is no surprise. But that he is also capable of telling a tremendously moving tale is something of a revelation. It's all here: the inexorable bonds of family; Swinging London in all its Rita Tushingham glory; the calamities of AIDS...Nasty is a book for anyone who has ever yearned to transcend their own beginnings. In other words, if you were ever younger than you are now, you must read this book.""
-- David Rakoff, author of Fraud