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Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha…
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Agatha Christie: An Autobiography (original 1977; edition 1978)

by Agatha Christie

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1,090267,637 (4.07)1 / 125
Member:dragonasbreath
Title:Agatha Christie: An Autobiography
Authors:Agatha Christie (Author)
Info:Ballantine (1978),
Collections:Your library, Auto/Biographies/Memoir
Rating:***
Tags:Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie (1977)

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Agatha Christie was 75-years old when she wrote (via dictation) this autobiography of her life. Born in 1890, she lived until 1976, so she lived through a lot and she did a lot of different things with her life. During the First World War, she was a nurse, then worked in a dispensary (pharmacy). She loved to travel and in addition to writing, she later helped her archaeologist husband at digs in the Middle East.

This was really good. I found it a little more interesting after she became an adult, but it was still interesting to read about the social customs at various points in her life - a lot of that was described really well about the early 20th century. Although I've not read a lot of her books, it was still interesting to read about where she got the ideas for some of her books and such. The edition I got from the library also had a CD included with portions of her dictation. This was recorded in the 70s, so not the best quality, but kind of neat to listen to. Not only that, as I was listening to it in the background while I wrote this review, I flipped back through the book and happened upon the same passage she was dictating; it was also interesting to see how it was slightly changed/rearranged. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 9, 2015 |
I read most of this book but didn't finish. I just wasn't in the mood for all it.

Having said that, I found what I did read to be interesting - kind of like sitting down and having a conversation with Ms Christie. It was rather rambly and out of order, especially at the beginning. But it was also an interesting glimpse at what she remembered and considered to be important in her life. ( )
  TnTexas | Sep 6, 2014 |
Although Agatha Christie's autobiography got off to a slow start, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The broad categories that she included were her childhood and youth, WWI and her first marriage, her second marriage and travels in the Middle East, WWII, and sort of a post-WWII summary. Throughout the book she talks about her writing in a fair amount of detail, including spoilers—most notably for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

The childhood part was rather like listening to a grandparent telling stories of "the good old days", filling in every detail they can remember, and reflecting on how much better everything was, back in the day. This section went on for rather longer than necessary, but is full of fascinating remembrances of a Victorian childhood. She mentions such important subjects as lavatories and bosoms (and, later in the book, morning sickness and bedbugs). It took 200 pages for her to reach adulthood, but then things really got rolling. Once she reaches her late teens, the narrative becomes more continuous, although still with occasional digressions. By the time she got to the end of World War II, I think she was running out of things to say, because she covered the next twenty years in about 25 pages.

While Christie was quite candid about many things, it is not surprising that she leaves out others. She talks about her emotional turmoil at the breakup of her first marriage, but makes no mention of her famous disappearance. I was left wondering about her relationship with her daughter. They seem to have been apart for much of Rosalind's childhood, and Agatha mentions several times that their personalities were very different, yet there is no indication of any conflict. I suppose she wrote cautiously to protect her daughter's privacy.

There is so much that I like about this autobiography: her memories, her opinions, descriptions of the many places she's visited, and ways that she's traveled, her observations of social changes, her reflections on her writing. I guess my favourite thing about it is that I came away with the feeling that she really did share her life and personality with the reader. ( )
  SylviaC | Apr 20, 2014 |
This chronological journey through Agatha Christie's life was one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. The philosophies and reflections Agatha shares along the way are refreshing and insightful.

Agatha's childhood, growing up in the Victorian era, was so different from what one would expect today (if one can ever talk about a "typical" childhood) that one cannot help but be struck by the comparison. Agatha did not, for example, attend school or have a governess. Her mother hired an untrained French girl to play with her daughter, so that Agatha could learn French. She learned other subjects in other equally unconventional ways. Because she did not attend school, she had time to give free reign to her gifted imagination.

Agatha lived through two world wars and worked as a volunteer dispenser of medical drugs to help with the war effort during both wars. During World War I, she married Archie Christie, who left her for another woman shortly after her mother died.

After she began traveling, alone, she met the man who would become her second husband when he was working on an archeological expedition. Agatha came to know a lot about archaeology and helped to clean sand from fragile artifacts using her face cream.

Agatha always had trouble thinking of herself as an author. However, as this autobiography illustrates, Agatha's works, whether fictional or otherwise, are highly entertaining and bear witness to her gift for depicting vivid characters. It was fascinating to witness how much Agatha's life shows up in her fictional works and from whence she drew her inspiration. ( )
1 vote Coffeehag | Jan 22, 2014 |
Probably through no fault of its own, this meandering 532-page memoir is failing to hold my attention. I'm letting it go at page 170 out of 532 (32%) and taking it back to the library.

The questions I want answered when I read a book like this are, first, what caused or enabled the young x to become the adult y, and second, what inklings were there from childhood of the traits or abilities that would manifest themselves in the mature individual? Quite possibly the answers are here, but they are too long in coming. Instead Christie seems repeatedly to deny that such a remarkable career as hers might have been anticipated from anything in her history.

Certainly we see young Agatha as a supremely imaginative child with an absorbing inner life as well as a positive, embracing attitude toward the world around her. It wasn't all satin gowns and silver bowls; the privileged early years gave way to relatively hard times after her father's death. As I leave the book, the first World War is still to come, and Agatha has not yet begun her career as an author.

I'm not much of a reader of biography and autobiography. Usually some driving interest has led me to the ones I've enjoyed, and it may be that the interest can't be forced; or perhaps I'm just in more of a mood for the escape of fiction right now--escape of the sort that dozens of Christie's own novels have afforded me in the past. This may simply be the wrong time for me to tackle such a long and desultory memoir. So I think I'm going to put it aside for now and get on with something that will hold my attention better.

In passing, though, I must mention that the book is marred by quite a number of surprising typos, considering how many times and ways the manuscript must have passed through authorial and editorial hands over the years and the editions. To mention only two, spotlighted by their status as well-known titles: Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Christo (should be Cristo) and the Puccini aria "Te Gelida Manina" (should be "Che gelida manina"). I regard such lapses, especially when numerous, as affronts to the attentive reader, who should always be treated with respect.

(Unrated)
  Meredy | Jan 21, 2014 |
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Epigraph
O! ma chere Maison; mon nid, mon gite
Le Passe l'habite...O! ma chere Maison
Dedication
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Foreword: Nimrud is the modern name of the ancient city of Calah, the military capital of the Assyrians.
One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The autobiography of Agatha Christe, started in 1950 and completed in 1965.
    -------------------------------------

Her life was an enchanting - but mysterious -affair of polished surfaces and unsolved riddles.

Her early days were spent in a safe nursery world of adoring Nannies and sunny gardens - her nights, haunted by dreams of a gunman without a name ...

She was a proper Victorian maiden - who admitted a taste for terror - and rode the Orient Express into adventure ....

For years, she lived quietly, the devoted wife and mother - but for eleven scandalous days in 1926, she vanished from the face of the earth.

To be a writer never entered her head - yet she became one of the most richly prolific and enduring authors of the past century .... She's the best-loved mistress of mystery - and now, for the first time, she unravels her own ...
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Autobiography of one of the most widely read authors of mystery novels.

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