What Was I Thinking: A Memoir, by Paul Henry (Random House, RRP $40):
There’s no denying personality Paul Henry has a knack for grabbing headlines and stirring controversy, but he also has a knack for being interesting.
And funny – let’s not forget funny. Oh yes, I know it is not considered politically correct to giggle like a schoolgirl at foreign names and hirsute sheilas, but I’m not a fan of political correctness, so I’m quite happy to join in with his schoolgirl-like giggles.
I also reckon there’s no denying our early-morning television news is a little less entertaining after the departure of young Mr Henry.
Sure, the dynamic duo gracing our screens now try to be engaging, but for me, most of the time it really does feel as if they are trying, rather than succeeding.
But I digress. Back to the book, which tells Henry’s life story from childhood adventures to television adventures. Henry’s outrageous comments on television divided the country (for example, asking John Key whether Governor- General Sir Anand Satyanand was even a New Zealander) and the unrestrained mirth he showed trying to pronounce the name of Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit very nearly caused an international incident.
Those who called his remarks racist called for his sacking as strongly as his supporters cited freedom of expression, but he resigned from TVNZ last October, although he says he has no bad feelings over the dismissal.
The claim that he is a natural- born storyteller who spins a great yarn is true and the “I’ll apologise for hurting people’s feelings, but I’ll never apologise for being outrageous” quote is not unexpected.
However, there is more to Paul Henry than outrageous comments and controversy.
The book is not full of the juicy gossip some readers might have expected, but it does provide a few revelations about the man himself and how he views life.