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A Life of My Own: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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“Tomalin brings to her memoir a pro’s practiced ability at threading the personal, the professional and the contextual with details that sing… [She offers] a wonderful evocation of London’s vibrant literary culture of the 1960s and ’70s…An elegant profile in courage and fortitude.” —Washington Post
“[A LIFE OF MY OWN] navigates artfully between tantalizing revelations and unobtrusive elisions. I read the memoir twice in an effort to deconstruct how Ms. Tomalin does it, leading us into her nooks and crannies and then firmly closing the curtain at some point, but literary ingenuity of this caliber is always hard to pin down…The pleasures of reading this book are many…I hesitate to call this book enchanting because Ms. Tomalin’s life is strewn with tragedy…but it is certainly an exceptional account, daunting and inspiring at the same time, written with no end of poignancy, humor and perspective.” —Wall Street Journal
“In this memoir as in her acclaimed biographies, Tomalin lets the telling of a story reveal its own truth, unmarked by the moralizing of the soapbox. And what a story it is.” —Christian Science Monitor
“[Tomalin] is a master craftswoman, and it’s a thrill to see her prose and capacity for moving storytelling turned on her own life… If it leads you to read some of her biographies (Jane Austen is a favorite), you’ll be better off.”—Vogue.com
“An arresting look at a professional life inextricably entwined with the lifelong personal concerns of a woman who is also a wife, daughter, and mother…A quiet book, beautifully told with both restraint and generosity of spirit.” —BookPage
“An extraordinarily candid autobiography…This is an elegant, significant book.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] captivating and thorough memoir. Tomalin sets out to describe her “experience of the world”…a gracious, inspiring look at her family, colleagues, and friends.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Penelope Wilton is a noted stage, film, and television actress. A two-time winner of the Critics' Circle Theatre Award, she is best known for her roles in the BBC comedy Ever Decreasing Circles and the popular drama series Downton Abbey.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B077RFTF8N
- Publisher : Penguin Books (August 21, 2018)
- Publication date : August 21, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 11468 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 351 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #323,633 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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A closer reading of the book partially debunks the notion that Ms. Tomalin managed to "have it all"-- marriage, children, career. Eventually she had all of those things at different times, but not all at the same time for long. When she was a married mother of small children, her career was far less prominent. When she was a widowed mother who needed to make a living, she had a career and children, but no marriage. The "secrets" of her success have been health into old age and incredible energy (which you're born with, or not), an ever-vigilant eye for opportunity, and an ability to endure very long stretches of hard times (and, presumably, loneliness) bravely and cheerfully.
Top reviews from other countries
Claire Tomalin was born into a life of some affluence, good looks, good contacts and intellect, and I'll admit to begrudging her all these advantages when she writes sentences like:
"Nick [her husband] and I had no money beyond our earnings". How awful dear. Guess what? that's how most of us live.
However, about 2/3 of the way into the book a tragic event results in her becoming a single working mother (I wont spoil the tragic circumstances as to why) and the book starts to give a real sense of her as a person/mother as well as insights into the characters of her children. There are real tragedies in this section and Claire Tomalin comes across as admirably stoic, positive and strong.
In the end I found I rather liked the author, but as someone established as a writer of highly rated biographies it is a bit of a mystery that in this book it took so long for her to shed little light on herself.
The book is suffused with a smug sense of entitlement, as des res properties are acquired and discarded with ease, holiday homes abound here and abroad. It's also extremely dull - as others have noted here - often grinding to a near halt as we get lists of famous friends, books reviewed, and her achievements in general.
I guess it's quite interesting as a kind of social document of the early 70s NW1 cultural axis days, and a time when something as monumentally dull as the Times Literary Section was an important cultural influence - in some circles, anyway. Beyond that, though, it's a disappointing read unless you're in awe of the stuffy elitist lit crit scene the author has devoted her life to.