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If someone had told me that a biography on the divine Maggie Smith could be as dull as dishwater, I would not have believed them. Nor would I have believed that at the end of 14 odd hours, I would know scarcely more about this magnificent actress than I knew before. But so it is.
It's clear that the author has not interviewed Dame Maggie, (or her friends, colleagues or family) in any but the most superficial depth. This "biography" is mostly a catalogue of her work, a reprint of bits of reviews and anecdotes already out there, and (for padding, presumably) synopses of the plots (and many of the lines) of the plays, films and TV productions she has acted in.
If you're looking for the heart of Dame Maggie, what makes her tick, what she hopes and fears and loves, you won't find it here.
I should say that the narrator makes a valiant effort with this soporific material!
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Michael Coveney or narrated by Sian Thomas?
no.... as this was probably one of the dullest, most tiresome biographies I ever read/listened to!
I wouldn't be surprised if the wonderful Maggie Smith was never interviewed for this book.... what could have been a fabulous book - was a great disappointment!
well, i learned more about Judy Dench than about Maggie Smith ...
What could Michael Coveney have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
he could have interviewed his subject ... as one gets the impression that this didn't happen.
VERY DISAPPOINTING !
Have you listened to any of Sian Thomas’s other performances? How does this one compare?
cannot say.... in this case here , he was fine .
it wasn't his fault, that the book was dull ....
What character would you cut from Maggie Smith?
not worth answering - scrap the whole ebook!
Any additional comments?
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
What is there not to like about Maggie Smith? A consummate actress with a remarkable range and yet the biography by Michael Coveney provides little insights about Maggie Smith as a person. This may be because she is reported to be a private person - one of the few revealing facts made by the author. In the end I felt I knew little more about Maggie Smith than I did at the start. Perhaps she would be pleased by this but the thinness of the biography for the listener is disappointing. The most irritating feature of the book is the author's fondness for ascribing witty, pithy or waspish one-liners spoken by Maggie Smith in film or on stage as though she was their author whereas they come from the pen of the scriptwriter or playwright. In doing so, Coveney makes the cardinal mistake of conflating fiction with real life. It's all a little too hagiographic for comfort. While the biography may be weak, Sian Thomas as ever is excellent as the narrator and helps makes the book a little less mundane.