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My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding
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My Animals and Other Family (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Clare Balding

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805150,606 (4.26)9
Member:silvercowrie
Title:My Animals and Other Family
Authors:Clare Balding
Info:Viking (2012), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 257 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:non-fiction, autobiography, read 2013

Work details

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding (2012)

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Showing 5 of 5
Very interesting. I knew practically nothing about her before. ( )
  rhiand | Apr 28, 2014 |
I enjoyed this autobiography much more than I anticipated and should have realised that the always-prepared and topic-thoroughly-researched Ms Balding would take the same approach to her writing.

This was a joy to read, I loved learning more about the racing world and sympathised with every animal story detailed. As ever with these things, Ms Balding has worked hard to 'suddenly' become a national treasure and it was nice to read her back-story. Each chapter flows nicely and all the little odds and ends you wonder about [as you're reading] are tied off. ( )
  floriferous | Jun 30, 2013 |
I am not much of a reader of autobiographies, but this was a gift, so I gave it a go and enjoyed it much more than I expected to.
Clare doesn't write a chronological tale, but gives each chapter the title of an animal she has known, all dogs or horses and uses that animal as a focus for the chapter. This means the narrative has some chronology, but is not a then-I-did-this and then-I-did this sort of story.
She concentrates on funny stories about herself and her family and happily shows herself in a poor light. She led a privileged and happy life and seems to acknowledge that as much as she can. Her life is so different from my own, all pony clubs, stables, large dogs and happy families, so it was interesting to read about her life and I now know much more about racing than I ever did before. ( )
  Tifi | Feb 10, 2013 |
Not at all the sort of book that I would normally pick up (celebrity memoirs are usually anathema to me) but I loved this one. It probably helps that I fell in love with Claire Balding during our British summer of sport when she quickly became my favourite presenter of both the Olympic and Paralympic games, and that she has a 2:1 in English from Cambridge University.

Clare comes from a family to whom animals were an integral part of life (her father is a famous horse trainer) and Clare reflects this in her autobiography by making one of the many animals she loved growing up a focus of each chapter. It sounds gimmicky but it works really well and details of her life growing up at home, school and university came out of those chapters quite naturally. Sometimes sad, often very funny and always interesting this was an absolute pleasure to read. ( )
1 vote souloftherose | Jan 29, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clare Baldingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heeley, GillIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France
Dedication
For Alice
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The first face I can remember seeing was Candy's.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670922900, Paperback)

I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years. By the time I was ten I had discovered the pain of unbearable loss. I had felt joy and jealousy. Most important of all, I knew how to love and how to let myself be loved. All these things I learnt through animals. Horses and dogs were my family and my friends. This is their story as much as it is mine'. Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen. She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life's toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play. The running family joke was that "women ain't people". Clare has to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard - but first she had to make sure she had something to say. My Animals and Other Family is a funny, brave, tender story of self-discovery.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:50 -0400)

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. Here, she describes how she learned some of life's toughest lessons through the animals.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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