There’s a weird similarity between reading an autobiography and your average, run of the mill quickening from immortal epic, The Highlander, and with Nick Frost’s Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies it feels like you’ve taken on the strength of a powerful, but mostly unwitting swordsman. However, there’s a lot of fun to be had in lopping off his head and feasting on the random string of his tough, funny and, eventually, showbiz life.
A little like Steve Coogan’s Easily Distracted, it doesn’t cover the things you may be most interested in about Nick Frost in a great deal of detail. If you were hoping to read about how he and his platonic man pal, Simon Pegg, manage to go from the relatively small, but cult breakout of Spaced to being to the movie star heartthrob hunks that they have now become then you might be a little miffed as the majority of the action takes place long ago in a country far far away, before the fame thing kicks in.
The good news though is that once you accept the early life take on things it’s actually a good read. Yes you’ve been short changed, but the falafel sarnie you’re served up is fairly bountiful, so there’s plenty to take in outside of the left-out movie stardom excitement of Cuban Fury and Attack The Block.
The bad news is that there’s as much difficulty as there is eventual success for Nick Frost, as his teenage years and early adulthood are pierced by the shadow of alcoholism. Though his own fight with the drink monster is a part of things later on in the book, it’s his mother’s addiction that has the biggest impact on his life and it feels incredibly brave to have gone through the process of writing it all down.
For anyone else that has family troubles that weigh heavily on their shoulders it will be easy to empathise with, while also providing something to associate with; if Nick can come out the other side with a positive view then you can too, sort of thing. There’s a lot of sadness and some distant strife as he tries to find his own way, but he manages to deconstruct it all retrospectively with a very keen insight and healthy introspection, which inspires a certain amount of respect.
The book itself is structured chronologically from early childhood through his self imposed exile in Israel to his unexpected TV break in Spaced as Mike, the T.A. terror of Meteor Street. The intent is to have a memoir to pass on to his son documenting his childhood, growing up in Dagenham and his relationship with his own parents and if that was his only intent then he can consider it a success. Luckily, there’s also a lot to keep the rest of us in on the journey of self discovery, which is fortunate as he’s opted to have it published and distributed internationally, as opposed to just handing it to his son on his twelfth birthday.
It’s not entirely without mention of his acting career, but these are mostly jump ahead segues or quick fire anecdotes that relate to the more distant past. There’s a story about a night on the lash with QT (his name-drop term of endearment for Quentin Tarantino), a fleeting references to an argument with Simon on the set of Hot Fuzz, and the barest mention of The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn and Attack The Block.
The best of this doesn’t get up to speed until the last section of the book, which documents his introduction to Simon Pegg and their burgeoning bromance. There’s some very cool parts to this, including occult scrapes with the little girl in black, the curse of the cracked skull and shades of the the wrestler. It also covers some sweet stories about their friendship with brimming pride from Pegg when Frost puts in a decent show for his first stand-up gig and the time they hug it out when Nick’s heart gets broken (ahhh).
While there’s a lot of hardship wrapped in and among Truths, Half Truths And Little White Lies there’s also a lot of entertainment and some of the funniest elements come from his time on the kibbutz in Isreal. It’s a random, but all consuming saga in the hot hot heat of the Middle Eastern sun, which gives you a good idea about Frost’s formative years.
Essentially, the book portrays a much more complex history than we’d ever have guessed and while it’s not all good it is well told and delivered with a maturity that belies his usual dim-witted characterisation. It’s not the story that we expected, and it’s not quite the story that we were hoping for, but it’s a solid read with a lot to learn from, mope over and laugh at. Good times.
Nick Frost, Truths, Half Truths And Little White Lies review: 3.8/5