BOOKS by comedians are generally as welcome as Skinny Malinky Long-Legs at your local Odeon. See them stacked high at your nearest non-independent bookstore blocking out the Booker, all with identikit covers.

Jokers gurning away, hair all spiked up, one eyebrow raised hinting at the putative laugh riot within.

Then there’s the punning titles – as witty as the name of your local hairdressers – banalities like Gagging For It or Life’s a Laugh. The inside contents soon have you mulling on the book’s potential use as a discus.

Fern Brady isn’t mugging for the camera on her cover; the book’s title avoids obvious cliche. In contradistinction to the majority of other comedians who write she has a serious story to tell, one that deliberately discomforts.

Brady has literary cred – she mentions her love of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, TS Eliot and Jeanette Winterson. Like Holden Caulfield her antennae twitch at the merest hint of phoniness.

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She admits to “continually over-identifying with fiction to try and find a template for myself and my story – and there was no fiction available to describe being a girl who thinks the world is out to get her and after years of taunts finally lashes out”.

Why so? Brady has autism and it took an age to diagnose. She’s bitter at the “jaunty misplaced confidence” of those in the medical profession who failed her for years.

Like a cross between Huck Finn and Tracey Emin she rails at those who try and, to coin Huck, “civilize her”. She’s learning Danish aged eight then struggles with self-mutilation and stigmatisation; she’s vulnerable. Those Erving Goffman labels as “the normals” bully her and she’s mocked at school. She has the painful self-knowledge that she “wasn’t likeable”.

Her anger spears several targets: Bathgate for one, where she’s from: “I would do whatever it took to never go back.”

Brady has no truck with sectarianism, slut-shamers, innuendo as humour, middle-class people critical of swearing. Edinburgh University students from privileged backgrounds are expertly skewered. Her paternal grandmother (shove her off a bus) is an instantly recognisable monster – an extremist Catholic prone to slapping young Brady on the face when she was aged 10 after Fern dared to suggest that she didn’t think she’d like to have children. She’s told: “You were put on this earth to have children.”

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But the focus of Brady’s book is her knowledge of autism saying: “The vast majority of people’s understanding of autism is sparse and informed by people who are autism-adjacent rather than the autistics themselves, so it’s infuriating that when we do finally identify ourselves to the media we’re so easily dismissed.”

This said of a Louis Theroux documentary that mainly featured male children with outbursts of aggression. Brady’s book underlines how women with the condition can be easily ignored or misdiagnosed.

Her story is often harrowing even if she does shoe in plenty of gallows humour.

She’s funny on Goths she meets who are “seemingly relieved to finally have some darkness in their too-pleasant lives”.

Rather than lame gags or retreads of TV material Strong Female Character is more reminiscent of other, earlier, confessional memoirs that challenge stigma such as Junky and Queer by William Burroughs or Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers.

Brady’s experiences with a pair of Glaswegian swingers and her life as a stripper in Edinburgh have a similar fondness for enlightened transgression.

Parroting convincing apologies is not in her manner because – “I’d never say I regretted something unless I actually did”.”

Her distaste at obfuscating language leads her to say that “when someone has a stroke and isn’t going to survive, the doctors starve and dehydrate them to death.” Upsettingly I don’t think she’s joking.

Brady’s irritation with GPs and the NHS (it “didn’t seem to know or care”) given the delay in diagnosis is understandable but a plea for more funding for psychiatric services and research wouldn’t have gone amiss – perhaps she thinks this self-evident under the current administration.

Lastly we read that Brady learned “how to cope as a newly diagnosed person from 19-year-old girls on TikTok”.

Maybe such video clips are part of the way forward in medical education and the amelioration of suffering and stigma…