Book Review – The Moon’s A Balloon by David Niven

The Moon’s a Balloon

David Niven

More than anything, David Niven reminds me of my grandfather. The same cultured voice (although my Papa had a combination of Received Pronunciation and whatever its Kiwi equivalent is, versus Niven’s UK Public School accent), the same approximate age, the impeccable grooming and, most importantly, the fact that he was a raconteur of the first order.

I also remember seeing this book, and Niven’s later memoir Bring On the Empty Horses, on my grandfather’s bookshelves as a child.

Without doubt, Niven’s tale of his early life, time at school (many of them, as he was expelled from several), time in the British Army, both before and after he’d achieved some level of fame in Hollywood, his time in Hollywood mixing with the great names of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and his romances with his first wife, lost tragically and his second, make for a rollicking and enjoyable read.

As you might imagine, Niven is a great storyteller, even if, as it turns out, he’s played a little fast and loose with the accuracy of the facts.

It’s worth noting that Audible also has an audiobook of The Moon’s a Balloon, read by Niven himself. It’s well worth getting, just to hear the voice and imagine him in the various situations he writes of.

It’s getting 4/5 from me.

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