Book Review: The Wah-Wah Diaries

Richard E. Grant has been in numerous movies and television series and yet, when I flicked through the pictures within this book I just couldn’t place him. He was even in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a film I love, but still, when this book came up as one of my book club’s selections this month, I had no idea whose diaries I was about to read. Thankfully, what others in my book club said was accurate; Richard E. Grant is entertaining and funny, and that really came through in The Wah-Wah Diaries.

The Wah-Wah Diaries is an intimate look at the making of the movie that was his directorial debut, Wah-Wah. I had never seen or heard of this movie either, so I didn’t think I would have any interest in these diaries, but I was proven wrong. The diaries run through the development, pre-production, filming and post-production stages, and it’s a wonder the film ever got made! Richard writes about his neverending battles with the film’s Producer, the struggles legally with co-producing a movie with a French company, the political juggling of filming in Swaziland, and the emotional struggles within himself as he filmed and saw actors perform roles that brought back so many painful memories of his childhood.

It would be easy to think that someone who had no knowledge of the film would find this a dry book with no emotional connection, but Richard’s writing really made this a joy to read. The diary format was also perfect. If this had been written as lengthy chapters it might not have worked. This way, things moved along quickly and it was easy to read the book in little spurts of time without losing track.

If you enjoy a light read with a good bit of British dry humour (which I love), and an insight into how one man fought all the things the film industry threw at him just to see his dream come true on the screen, it’s worth checking this book out.

The Wah-Wah Diaries by Richard E. Grant – 4 out of 5 stars.

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