“The View from the Cheap Seats” by Neil Gaiman | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 4/5 | Genre – NonFiction / Essays

Another book where I’m not entirely sure how I came to owning it. I want to say it might’ve been a gift for Christmas or my birthday; based only the fact I rarely spend money so they’re the only options for me receiving books. However, what I do know is that I was very excited to receive this book. I’ve always admired Neil Gaiman’s books and TV shows that he has written or inspired. Therefore, it was a perfect choice for me to pick up and read what Gaiman had to say about other books and authors. So, here is what I thought of this collection…

This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and welcomes us to the conversation too. (Check it out here).

What did I think?

I’ll start off with the only bad part of the reading experience. This was the reason for me not giving it the full 5/5 rating. The book was very long. I think it may have been through fault of my own, but it took me forever to read the book, at some points wondering if I would ever get to the end. A solution to this could’ve been to read it in parts, instead of going through all of the essays in one sitting.

Now, on to the good bits! As was expected I thoroughly enjoyed what I read; it was great to delve into the mind of Neil Gaiman; seeing what he thinks about his own work or even the works of some of his own favourite authors. He has such an interesting mind, and some brilliant thoughts on writing and the creative process.

I think my favourite part of the collection was being able to read the speeches that he’d given at various conventions or university graduations. With the way Gaiman writes its easy to visualise what he is talking about and really feel like you’re there listening to him.

Reasons to read The View from the Cheap Seats…

  • Thought-provoking essays: What I really took from the collection was how interesting some of Neil Gaiman’s ideas are. There were moments where I wasn’t entirely in agreement with him; which, after reading a chapter where he even tells people to disagree with him. Then of course, there were many more ideas that I was fully on-board with.
  • Wonderfully written: One oft he main reasons I love reading Neil Gaiman’s work is that he has such a wonderful way with words. I was able to fully visualise the speeches he was giving, feeling like I was really sat there listening to him speak.

At the end of the day…

I really enjoyed reading the collection. If I come round to reading it again, it may be a bit at a time; maybe I’ll go back and read specific essays. Yeah it was a little long to read it all in one go, but it is a really interesting insight into Gaiman’s thoughts on books and writing. Having now finished the collection it has given me a number of things to think about when it comes to my own writing.


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