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An Autobiography Hardcover – November 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This book proves as inspiring as it is charming and absorbing.” (Boston Globe)

“Brisk and admirable….Capturing the experience of a generation too often made over-grim or over-glorious, it is the autobiography of a woman, not merely a writer.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Especially welcome.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Contains some wonderful treats....Christie writes with such wit and insight that all 542 pages fly.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“A fun read, full of detail about upper-crust life in the Victorian era and about Christie’s own surprise at finding herself a mystery novelist.” (Charlotte News & Observer)

“The history of a unique upbringing in a time long gone. It’s a portrait of a childhood and young womanhood that vanished with World War I.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

“Christie writes with a wonderful dry wit. It is fascinating to see how people she met became characters in her novels.” (Daily American)

“Joyful adventure….She brings the sense of wonder…to her extraordinary career.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Agatha Christie is no longer merely one of my favorite writers. She is now one of my favorite people.” (Chicago Tribune)

“A delightful autobiography….Warm, witty and discerning.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Wonderfully easy to read and engrossing.” (The Times (London))

“Agatha Christie’s most absorbing mystery – the story of her own unusual life. She has put it all on record: her early romances; a broken (and a happy) marriage; strange events on the path to roaring success.” (Daily Mail (London))

“A wonderful book—written with a delight in the gradual unfolding of 75 years through the eyes of an exceptional old lady and writer.” (Financial Times (London))

From the Back Cover

Millions of fans the world over got to know her beloved characters, Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, and the rest, yet for decades little was known about their creator. Dame Agatha Christie was a woman who scrupulously kept her private life hidden from view, dodging the press, granting no interviews, and even, for a brief time, famously disappearing. But shortly after the great lady's death, the silence was broken when An Autobiography was finally published.

The witty, insightful, and immensely entertaining reflections of a marvelous talent, An Autobiography is as compulsively readable as Christie's novels. In her own inimitable style, a brilliant eccentric whose life encapsulated her times sheds light on her past, including her childhood in Victorian England, her volunteer work during World War II, and, of course, her phenomenal career. Agatha Christie's An Autobiography brings into sharp focus a beloved and enduring literary icon whose imagination continues to mesmerize readers to this very day.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Har/Com edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073594
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I generally believe that the one story a writer shouldn't write is their own, Agatha Christie's autobiography is the happy exception to this rule.

The famous mystery writer takes much of the mystery out of how she became a writer telling a straightforward story of a fairy-tale childhood that abruptly changed into a grown-up existence of uncertainty, hard-work, determination, pluck and verve. She admits to less ambition than necessity dictated by money and marriage woes.

Christie is a natural storyteller but she is far too polite to admit it outright. Instead, she brings the same hands-off style to her own story as she does to the main characters in her mystery books: that of being caught up in the circumstances of events rather than being driven by them.

Her life story gently unfolds complemented by a dry and self-effacing wit. Christie blends in tidbits of her writing life, including her early efforts, story and character inspirations, why her books are so short, her writing style and routine and her dealings with editors and publishing houses, into the mostly personal narrative.

While it may be a mystery as to whether Christie created or responded to opportunities, there's no mystery that once those opportunities presented themselves Christie seized them and rode them spectacularly to fame and fortune.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up Agatha Christie's biography off a dusty shelf in the library... it hadn't been read since 1984, and it still had one of those cards you had to write in names and stamp dates in. Interestingly, I wasn't drawn to the book due to the author. I hadn't even read more than one book by Ms. Christie, and that was in high school for required reading. What drew me to the book was the simple unpretentious title "The Story of My Life". (This is an older copy of the book, not the printing titled Agatha Christie an Autobiography.)It was the first page, the first paragraph in the book,that hooked me.

"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood. I had a very happy childhood."

If you continue reading you'll have to agree. With tenderness, Agatha recounts sun-filled days at her home Ashfield, describing family and friends (both real and imaginary), servants, and experiences with fond poignancy.

Her father she describes:

"By modern standards my father would probably not be approved of. He was a lazy man.......I don't know what the quality was he had...he had no outstanding characteristics. I think that he had a simple and loving heart, and he really cared for his fellow man."

A family game, when Agatha is older and courting

"We use to have a family game, invented by my sister and a friend of hers- it was called 'Agatha's Husband'. The idea was that they picked two or three of the most repellent strangers in a room, and it was then up to me that I had to choose one of them as my husband, on pain of death or slow torture by the Chinese.
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Format: Hardcover
Often times autobiographies are dull things of interest only to the author or those who may be mentioned in the book, others are glowing brag fests relating how marvelous the subject is, or are filled with juicy gossip about other celebrities. This one is completely different in that Christie did not attempt to write a complete chronicle of her life, or to focus on what the public might want to hear (in fact she deliberately left out the very episode - her disappearance - that most would want to know more about) but instead told about those parts of her life that she was interested in remembering. For example most autobiographies rush through the subject's childhood and focus on the parts of their adult life that made them famous, not so here. Instead Christie takes the first third of her tale to describe her life before she ever thought of Hercule Poirot.

What the reader gets instead of stories about the great and famous is a charming glimpse into the life of a middle-class child born at the end of the Victorian era, her perceptions of a society that was rapidly changing as she grew to young adulthood. She tells about her life as a child in a comfortable household filled with servants, her teenage years with her widowed mother, as a young woman caring for wounded soldiers, as a bride then a single mother through her later years as a successful author and her second, happier marriage to an archaeologist and their travels to the Middle East. She glosses over meeting the Queen but tells at length about various nannies and secretaries that were part of her everyday life.

For fans of Christie it is particularly interesting to learn what inspired certain of her characters or plots, what was occuring in her life while writing some of the novels, to see people or situations that one can recognize in a favorite novel. For anyone interested in life in the early twentieth century this book also gives an insight into that time that is rarely seen.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Agatha Christie's, An Autobiography, is an excellent read. Unlike most books of this type, it is not chronological in the true sense of the word. It's almost as if Dame Agatha is talking to you personally about her life. She jumps from one topic to another much as one would in an ordinary conversation. Thoroughly entertaining!
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