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What did you love best about An Autobiography?
Agatha Christie writes very well. this is obvious in her mysteries and also in this autobiography. She weaves a very good story about the early 20th century, introducing aeroplanes, cars and WW1. A very interesting look at a family at the turn of the last century.
What was one of the most memorable moments of An Autobiography?
The history produced as side notes to her life
A superb, and long!, comfort-read, with vivid pictures of a Victorian childhood, nursing during WWI in London, lots of travel (surfing in Hawaii in the 1920s!) and (not quite enough) of the life of a working writer. It's largely vividly remembered anecdotes of Christie's life filtered through her novelist's eye; it feels on the whole more like a novel than a memoir.
This is no misery memoir or tell-all-- Christie likes everybody and enjoys everything, has an idyllic childhood, a comfortable middle-class life, and then becomes of course an incredible success. There are some money worries, a divorce etc that are rather swiftly gone over, but they only make her eventual triumph sweeter. It's hard to believe the real Christie was quite such an uncomplicated creature but the 'character' she creates of herself is someone I'd cheerfully spend a long train journey with.
This would all be terribly dull except for the fact that Christie is simply an incredibly good writer (and up till now I haven't been a fan, I think I've only read a couple of her books). She can make even a scene of uneventfully choosing wallpaper entertaining, with the deft characterisation of the workman and a wee three-act structure. Always pleasant and fun, the book has touches of greatness-- her channeling of her childhood self must be one of the great depictions of the child-mind, up there with David Copperfield.
This book is already great, and Judith Boyd's reading makes it wonderful. She reads with all the energy and drama of a novel, I'll definitely look out for other readings by her.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
David Suchet’s reminiscences about his 25 years playing Poirot and his interactions with Agatha Christie’s daughter and son-in-law who vigilantly administer her estate made me curious about the woman who created these novels and who was and still is a world-wide success,
Agatha Christie took many years to write her autobiography and in many ways its like a diary of her day-to-day life. I had no idea what a varied, exciting and a time exotic and dangerous life she had experienced.
Her writing style is well suited to being read aloud and she seems to be speaking directly to the reader/listener. I was surprised at the how humorous and often self-deprecating she was about her talents and how she merely treated her writing as a job that had to be done and got on with it.
It is a very long long book but I enjoyed hearing about her, at times, extraordinary life. I have to admit that I didn’t hear every bit of it as I listened while bedridden suffering from a bout of flu and tend to drift in and out of sleep. But the merit of highly detailed account like this means that if you miss some sections you don’t lose the thread of the life.
Most writers of autobiography pass quickly over their childhood years, but not Mrs Chirstie. At first I thought it would be tedious but she evokes a happy Victorian childhood in a comfortably off family so engagingly that I wasn’t bored. I was impressed by her cool head and courage nursing horribly injured soldiers during the First World War and her stoicism while travelling in the Middle East with her archeologist, second husband.
Despite her enormous success as a writer she remained remarkably modest about her achievements.
If you enjoy her novels and/or followed the Poirot and Miss Marple TV series I think you’ll enjoy hearing about the woman whose imagination conjured up these idiosyncratic characters and ingenious plots.
I don’t know what Agatha Christie sounded like but Judith Boyd made me think I was listening to the author telling her story.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful