I don’t often read biographies – pretty rarely in fact – but Agatha Christie being one of my all-time favorite authors, I just had to read it.
My comments: The book is not written in chronological way, so it means that the subjects are constantly jumping in time. It took me a while to get used to it, as I was used with a much nicer way of writing coming from her. So this book is written as her brains remembers things, without any notice in advance and without any timeline to follow. As a structured person, I have to say I almost gave up of reading it… I think the fact of being Agatha’s memoirs , made me read it until the end.
And I am very glad I’ve read it! She is unique!
So from now on, I will also drop all my memories of the book:
She starts describing her family in general, how they are and their personalities: father simple and tender, and the mother with a captivating personality and very assertive… Of course Agatha loved books 😊
One of the references I liked, which was just a general remark to our current century: She mentions that when she was growing up, the kids also felt the pressure of the family to achieve something in their lives like following a good education, getting a good job, husband/wife, etc… It is not nice to see that we still didn’t evolve in that sense.
Financial situation of the family is bad, they move to France, a great adventure to learn French, etc. She had an happy life in France.
There is a passage in this chapter that I like a lot “ ever return to a place where you were happy in the past. That way the place will be always the way you remembered it, otherwise the good memories will be gone”
Father dies : A big change in her life and family.
During her growing period as a young lady: A big explanation about how it was to be a woman back then. Her expectations in life are the same as for all women at that time: marry with a good man and have kids, and never think about own career. She wrote about 3 pages about the subject, which is very interesting because her life and her achievements would influence so many women in the world.
She said something which I agree completely: our position as women is changed, but not always for the better! We can do much more and almost everything we want, but I wonder if it is for the better. There are so many women with a burnout due to amount of work and obligations that we and the society have put upon us…
17 years old: around this age all the girls start giving attention to boys… Due to mother’s health she moves temporarily to Cairo(Egypt).
Started to write small “stories” due to her mother incentive, and a reference to May Sinclair as one of the best novelists.
Several chapters follow about boys, flirts ,etc, until her first marriage from which she gets the name “Christie”. This happened at the beginning of the 1st world war.
UK is at war! She works as a nurse and later as pharmacy assistant, which gives her lots of knowledge about medicines and poisons for her books… During her “pharmaceutical” learnings, she has a very peculiar instructor who she will use in her book “The pale horse”.
The idea of writing murder mysteries/ detectives stories came up : Poirot is born, together with “House of Styles”. Only after the war was finished and her daughter is born, her first book was published. And after that many others will follow.
An unexpected invitation of a friend to travel around the world came up. And so they went: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada and United States.
Lots of adventure, problems, illnesses, etc…. Worth to read..
She describes how many things started going “wrong” in her life: Finances, mother’s death and divorce.
After divorce she takes a long trip with Express Orient until Bagdad. After this trip many others succeeded and she meets her next husband ,Max, who is an archaeologist. She describes her “literary” life as a profession and how Tommy and Tuppence and Miss Marple characters are born.
The description of a day during the 2nd world war was is impressive – the bombs, shooting, broken windows, etc.… All part of her daily life. And to think that she could write amazing books under those circumstances!
Her grandson Mathew is born (who she mentions several times in the book).
Again a detailed description of her life in the Orient, particularly Iraq, where her husband worked several excavations.
Ends the book with general self-reflection about her life, what she has achieved and the elderly years yet to come.
And as somebody who wrote about crime and death all her life, she accepts that the her inevitable death will come at any time…