APRIL - SPOILERS - Agatha Christie

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APRIL - SPOILERS - Agatha Christie

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1Morphidae
mar 16, 2014, 9:54am

We'll be reading Agatha Christie, the autobiography of Agatha Christie.

I own it already, courtesy of the marvelous SylviaC. I might start it early because it's a real chunkster.

We won't be having two threads in April since it's nonfiction. No real need for a non-spoiler and spoiler thread.

2Morphidae
mar 24, 2014, 9:55am

Hello? Anyone reading this with me?

3SylviaC
mar 24, 2014, 10:21am

I am! I've only read a few pages so far, but it will probably go pretty quickly once I get into it. Even though it is so long, Christie's writing is always easy to read. I also found a little book called Agatha Christie's Devon, so I will keep that on hand to see more pictures and descriptions on the places she mentions.

4sandragon
mar 24, 2014, 11:05am

I plan to, but I want to finish American Gods first. It's going slooooooow.

5MrsLee
mar 25, 2014, 9:07pm

I haven't decided if I'm reading it again or whether I will just join in the discussion. It's been a long time since I read it, but I have so many other things I want to get read.

6SylviaC
mar 27, 2014, 11:37pm

I hate to say it, but Agatha's childhood is rather dragging. Lots of her stories are fun, and the details of a Victorian childhood are fascinating, but at page 75, she is still only six years old.

7Morphidae
mar 28, 2014, 9:47am

Oh, dear. I haven't started it yet.

8SylviaC
apr 2, 2014, 9:39pm

Once I got past ages 4-6, things picked up nicely. 100 pages later, she is still only 17 or 18, but I'm loving her descriptions of social life in the first decade of the 20th century.

9hfglen
apr 14, 2014, 4:06pm

Got it from the library. My mind is clearly wandering far and wide in the 60 or so pages I've read so far: if this wodge takes her to age 5, and she goes on at the same pace throughout, then the book would need to be 50% longer than it is. Thank goodness it isn't, and gives hop that one day the pace will pick up measurably! Evidently I agree with Sylvia in #6.

10MrsLee
apr 15, 2014, 11:05am

I do believe that my one dissatisfaction with the book was that it stopped or got very sketchy just at the point where I thought her life became interesting. :)

11SylviaC
apr 17, 2014, 8:27pm

Finished the World War I section. It was excellent! Now I know why she was so qualified to write about poisons and drugs. And lots of information on her writing process.

12SylviaC
apr 19, 2014, 9:36pm

I spent most of yesterday deeply immersed in the book, and finished it today. Despite the slow start, I loved it. She makes everything seem so interesting. Once I get my thoughts put together for my reading thread, I'll post them here, too.

13SylviaC
apr 20, 2014, 9:05pm

Copied from my reading thread:

It got off to a slow start, but I loved 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 travelled, 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.

14MrsLee
apr 21, 2014, 4:14am

>13 SylviaC: - My memories of the book have softened, but your review reflects the way I felt about it after reading it way back when. I also remember that it left me with a great desire to read about her time in Egypt with her second husband, but I've yet to stumble on any of those books.

15SylviaC
apr 21, 2014, 9:27am

>14 MrsLee:
I read Come, Tell Me How You Live last year. I really enjoyed it. She doesn't repeat the same stories in her autobiography, although it feels similar in places. It is cheerful and funny.

16Morphidae
apr 21, 2014, 9:35am

Well, I'm just starting it today. I have ten days and there are eleven chapters. So I'll read about one chapter a day. I'll read all the intro stuff and the first chapter today. Here I go!

17MrsLee
apr 21, 2014, 12:10pm

>16 Morphidae: Ah, I was wondering why we hadn't heard from you!

18Morphidae
apr 21, 2014, 12:27pm

>17 MrsLee: Because I'm a bad group leader and hadn't gotten a Round TUIT (tm) yet?

19MrsLee
apr 21, 2014, 1:21pm

LOL, you can read circles around the rest of us, so I wasn't worried about you finishing it, I was worried that you hated it for some reason!

20clamairy
apr 22, 2014, 10:25am

I'm in on this one, but it will be a while. I have to finish off a digital loan and an actual library book (with paper!) before I start this one.