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Spilling the Beans Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (September 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340933887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340933886
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The autobiography of the year."  —Daily Mail


"Witty, eye-popping life story."  —Traverse City Record-Eagle

About the Author

Clarissa Dickson Wright is the author of five cookbooks, including The Game Cookbook, A Greener Life, and Sunday Roast.

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Customer Reviews

Interesting, intelligent, funny, sad and very readable.
Chris L-D
She very effectively makes the point that AA helped her overcome alcoholism but she does it without ever appearing to be preachy.
Lyric
I admire her strength of character and ability to be thankful for her life, accepting both good and bad with dignity and grace.
Sharon Bussey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne E. Anderson on November 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you were a fan of 'Two Fat Ladies', are an Anglo-phile, or need an inspirational and funny read, this is your book. I spent the weekend devouring this memoir and enjoying every page. Clarissa writes with honesty and candor about her early life with an alcoholic and violent parent, her brilliant legal career, a devastating love life and loss, her despair and descent into alcoholism and her slow but steady rise to fame afterwards.

Though she may have been born with every advantage, she lost it all, money, friends, home, career, and ultimately through courage and hard work became a self-made woman and rose to fame in the short-lived, but much loved cooking show, "Two Fat Ladies".

A very enjoyable read.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Bussey on May 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I've enjoyed the author as a TV cook, her humor and style as one of the Two Fat Ladies was delightful. I own many of her books and have enjoyed both the cookbooks and the country books. This book about her life was a suprise to me as I had no clue she was from an abusive home. I have such respect for her. In this age of whiny delicate little flowers (BLECCH!) I admire her strength of character and ability to be thankful for her life, accepting both good and bad with dignity and grace.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By P. Chan on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Hilarious, frightening, shocking, exciting, and always readable, Clarissa Dickson Wright's autobiography depicts her rollercoaster of a life in a compelling but always sympathetic manner. One of the best memoirs in recent memory.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked this book, despite the fact that Clarissa rambles a bit. I was sort of like sitting down with a friend and catching up, with the sort of discursiveness that sometimes happens in that sort of conversation. This is a book with a lot of sad times interspersed with hilarious anecdotes. Clarissa is a woman of strong opinions. I don't always agree with her, but I think she'd be a lot of fun to have as a friend (seeing how I like friends with strongly held opinions). If you think the "nanny state" is a bad thing, thing that self-sufficiency and local production is a good thing, if you like good food, and a good tale you'll probably enjoy this book. Clarissa has managed to pick up the pieces of a life gone very wrong and come out on top. She hasn't come out on top in the sense that she's gotten rich or even enormously famous (far fewer people even know who she is than know who Brad Pitt is for instance). She's come out on top because she's found a way to live that is satisfying and which has made a difference to a lot of people.

The stories of The Two Fat ladies videos make them even more fun to watch. I really wish there were a video series to go with her book on the green life. I'd really love to see Clarissa mucking about with the ducks and the chickens and making things in the old fashioned way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Clarissa Dickson Wright is a dying breed - an English eccentric. Like many of the type, she has many admirable qualities, and many that are tiresome and potentially self destructive.

Starting with the positive, Clarissa of Two Fat Ladies fame is a forthright, intelligent, passionate lady with trenchant opinions. These are frequently expressed on these pages in the sort of muscular, simple language beloved of barbour wearing types listening to the Archers whilst knocking up a Sunday Roast for the family.

She has suffered genuine hardships - an abusive, alcoholic father (the famous Royal surgeon Arthur Dickson Wright) who beat her and her mother, often savagely. She is genuinely passionate about a lot of good British things - the countryside, locally produced food, field sports (taking delightful swipes at the tiresome and nasty 'fluffy bunny brigage' who hurled such filthy abuse at the countryside alliance march), history - her grasp of British history is wide ranging and impressive. Her asides into points of arcane fact are frequently illuminating, explaining, for example, that the Scottish word 'gigot' for a leg of lamb derives from that Auld Alliance between the Scots and the French pre-dating the Hundred Years War.

As for the negative. Much of the book fits into the tedious 'misery memoir' genre beloved of supermarkets (ironic, really, given Clarissa's well founded loathing of the institutions) where the writer of the memoir throws away much of what they have due to their own destructiveness, and then spends the rest of the book smugly retelling how they got it back, poking fun at 'bourgeoise' virtues all the time. In Clarissa's case she inherited a fortune worth nearly 3 million, squandered it on booze over 5 years (that must be going some!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lyric VINE VOICE on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clarissa Dickson Wright was born into the upper class of British society. Viewed from afar, her life should have been idyllic -- money, position, famous father, etc. but the reality was quite different.
Wright survived a painful childhood, became a barrister, but ultimately was felled by alcoholism and lost her career, her wealth, and her trim figure BUT she never lost her sense of humor or her tenacity to ultimately survive. Wright is a clever and funny writer who tells her story at a brisk pace. The reader is swept along as Wright's addiction swallows her life and we are carried out the other side of the abyss as Wright begins the journey from alcoholic to recovered alcoholic and on to her very successful career on television as one of the Two Fat Ladies. I admit to not being remotely interested in cooking and to have not seen her television program (which having read this book, I'm sorry that I haven't seen it) nevertheless, she is an interesting person and she writes entertainingly and unapologetically about her experiences on her life journey. She very effectively makes the point that AA helped her overcome alcoholism but she does it without ever appearing to be preachy. Clarissa Dickson Wright is a survivor and it's good that she chose to share her story.
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