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My Animals and Other Family [Hardcover]

Clare Balding
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,118 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 15.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 Sep 2012

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding is a funny, brave, tender story of self-discovery

'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.

'Moving, funny and larger than life' Michael Morpurgo

'Magical, enchanting, riotously eccentric' Daily Mail

'Funny and moving, James Herriot meets David Sedaris' The Times

'Forthright, thoughtful, funny . . . reads like a Jilly Cooper novel' Sunday Times

'Funny and unexpectedly wise. Balding has lots of good stories to tell. It is impossible not to admire her honesty Mail on Sunday

'She can do anything. If there were four more Clare Baldings, we'd have our empire back. Six, and we'd be colonising the Moon. And there would be crumpets and ashtrays for everyone' Caitlin Moran, The Times

'The reading equivalent of snuggling by the fire with a labrador' The Guardian

'A funny, affectionate memoir' Independent on Sunday

'Charming, refreshingly self-depreciating, funny and moving. Balding tells it with immense flair' Daily Express

Clare Balding is an award-winning broadcaster and writer. She became the face of the BBC's racing coverage in 1998, and now works across a wide range of sports for television and radio. She has been a lead presenter for the Olympics, Paralympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. For more than twelve years, she has hiked across the countryside for the BBC Radio 4 series Ramblings.

Clare has presented Countryfile, Britain's Hidden Heritage, Britain By Bike, Crufts, and Famous & Fearless, and has appeared on QI, Have I Got News for You and Sport Relief. She has been voted RTS Sports Presenter of the Year and Racing Broadcaster of the Year. She lives in West London with her partner Alice, their wayward Tibetan Terrier Archie and a cat who couldn't give a damn called Itty. My Animals and Other Family is Clare's first book.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0670921467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670921461
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clare Balding is an award-winning broadcaster and writer. She became the face of the BBC's racing coverage in 1998, and now works across a wide range of sports for television and radio. She has been a lead presenter for the Olympics, Paralympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. For more than twelve years, she has hiked across the countryside for the BBC Radio 4 series Ramblings.
Clare has presented Countryfile, Britain's Hidden Heritage, Britain By Bike, Crufts, and Famous & Fearless, and has appeared on QI, Have I Got News for You and Sport Relief. She has been voted RTS Sports Presenter of the Year and Racing Broadcaster of the Year.
She lives in West London with her partner Alice, their wayward Tibetan Terrier Archie and a cat who couldn't give a damn called Itty. My Animals and Other Family is Clare's first book.

Product Description

Review

Moving, funny and larger than life (Michael Morpurgo)

Magical, enchanting, riotously eccentric (Daily Mail)

Funny and moving, James Herriot meets David Sedaris (The Times)

Forthright, thoughtful, funny . . . reads like a Jilly Cooper novel (Sunday Times)

Funny and unexpectedly wise. Balding has lots of good stories to tell. It is impossible not to admire her honesty (Mail on Sunday)

She can do anything. If there were four more Clare Baldings, we'd have our empire back. Six, and we'd be colonising the Moon. And there would be crumpets and ashtrays for everyone (Caitlin Moran The Times)

The reading equivalent of snuggling by the fire with a labrador (The Guardian)

A funny, affectionate memoir (Independent on Sunday)

Charming, refreshingly self-depreciating, funny and moving. Balding tells it with immense flair (Daily Express)

About the Author

Clare Balding is an award-winning broadcaster and writer. She became the face of the BBC's racing coverage in 1998, and now works across a wide range of sports for television and radio. She has been a lead presenter for the Olympics, Paralympics, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. For more than twelve years, she has hiked across the countryside for the BBC Radio 4 series Ramblings.

Clare has presented Countryfile, Britain's Hidden Heritage, Britain By Bike, Crufts, and Famous & Fearless, and has appeared on QI, Have I Got News for You and Sport Relief. She has been voted RTS Sports Presenter of the Year and Racing Broadcaster of the Year.

She lives in West London with her partner Alice, their wayward Tibetan Terrier Archie and a cat who couldn't give a damn called Itty. My Animals and Other Family is Clare's first book.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
146 of 149 people found the following review helpful
By A. I. McCulloch TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a cleverly constructed book, featuring one of Clare's beloved horses or dogs for each chapter of the book and her life until her early twenties. This device works really well; whilst each animal varies in the role it played in Clare's life, it gives real meaning to the title.

Gill Heeley's beautiful drawings of every extra- special dog or horse enhance the chapter headings. I suspect many people will want her to draw precious equine or canine companions as a result.
Clare's story will appeal to an enormously wide range of readers, reflecting the many different roles that make up her status as a National Treasure. Whilst best known as a sports commentator, Clare has presented 'Ramblings' (about walking) on Radio 4, contributed to Countryfile, and contributed to state occasions like the Trooping of the Colour.

Her warm, empathic personality is tremendously endearing - and this book shows how it was formed. Clare's background is widely known, being the daughter of top racehorse trainer Ian Balding, animals were sure to play a huge role in her upbringing. The demands of running a racing yard meant that whilst he worked at home her father had little time to spare for parenting. Which was probably just as well - there is a well-known but scary photo of Clare aged 2 perched on the back of the stallion Mill Reef. It could easily have ended in disaster.

Clare's formidable grandmother Priscilla played a major role in her upbringing. Unable to take on a role as a racehorse trainer herself (women weren't allowed), she appointed Clare's father as her trainer and he later married Priscilla's daughter Emma. Emma was at home having been denied a further education from a mother who thought women unworthy of senior roles.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Flipping good read!! 17 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If like me and millions of others around the world, Vangelis was the soundtrack of your summer then you must make Clare Balding's, My Animals and other Family, your read to take you into the darkening nights of autumn! Its a tale that not many of us will remember our childhood as (my twin sister and I, were pretend horses jumping over 'fences' in our back garden, not on actual ponies or horses, the nearest we got to that was Blackpool beach) But and its a big but, this is a rollicking good yarn, in every sense of the word, its humorous, sad, enlightening and witty and one minute you'll be laughing and if you're anything like me and you've spent the summer sobbing with our Paralympians and our Olympians the next thing is there will be tears running down your face! We've all seen how fantastic Clare has been on our tv sets this summer and as well as being the first woman of sport on television, she also tells a damn good story!
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. 14 Sep 2012
By Big Jim TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Clare Balding has come into her own as one of our top sports presenters this year and more power to her elbow. This is an easy and very entertaining read and a previous reviewer goes into much more detail than I shall attempt but suffice to say this story shows Clare to have more grit and determination than she may be given credit for and the smooth and urbane presenter we see now is as the result of a lot of hard work especially as described here in her early life. However above all she comes across as a very decent human being with some humerous and some downright painful anecdotes. Honest, funny, and genuinely interesting this book has impressed me and is well above the average celebrity autobiography.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUST OUTSTANDING 15 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
i read this book in a matter of hours i didnt intend to but could not put it down . Fascinating insight into her early life, very honest and open book and this would be a great gift for anyone . One of the best reads i have had in a decade . Its heart warming , sad and moving all at the same time . I hope Clare considers writing another one as this books leaves you wanting more. well done Clare!
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
By EllieH
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Clare is a superb broadcaster and commentator and her personality really comes through in this book. As she tells her story you really feel that you have been shown a little taster of the unusual world she grew up in. Her love of horses and dogs comes through with every chapter. She writes in a lovely warm way, keeping the reader entertained throughout - it is a delight to read. I could not put this book down - it's a great 5 star read!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First lady of sport 20 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover
When the author sprung from the edges of TV fame to being the voice of the Olympics, I wanted to know more. This gentle memoir is what a responsible book should be. Not chock full of shock and scandal, but kind memories of a well balanced lives through the friends, family and of course the horses and pets that make us who we are. Neither coy nor brash, this is a good read that makes you regard a familiar face as a friend.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT!! BUY IT NOW!!!! 5 Oct 2012
By Darren McCormac VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll prefix this by saying that I love Clare Balding. She's a great presenter, deeply passionate about sport, and does her research so that she knows what she's talking about. She's warm, interested and interesting - and that more than comes across in her book.

This is the story of Clare's first 20 years told through her love of animals, mainly the horses which surrounded her as a child and the family dogs. The prose is written just as if she's telling you a story face to face, and she is wonderfully descriptive when talking about the stables where she grew up. I sometimes wonder if she was a little harsh on her parents - they come across as a bit, well, unloving; but that seemed par for the course for the family, her grandmother (a real middle-class matriarch) never really showing love to her own children or grandchildren. Well, the female ones anyway. And really, her parents weren't uncaring, they just didn't really know how to show it.

What I think I liked most about the book was seeing Clare's personality really coming through and seeing that she was always a bit of a minx :) The woman we see on the TV is the real Clare Balding, warts and all, and I think this book shows that. Buy it, you won't want to put it down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem of a book
Just hooked from page one.A very Compassionate Witty and Wonderful,book . just loved the chapter sequenceing events through her life,and the animals associated with that moment. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Manderley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
An extremely good read which I could not put down. Lent it to several friends who all enjoyed it too.
Published 2 days ago by Susan Lang
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal magic
I've always admired Clare Balding but never knew there was so much more to her talent as a broadcaster. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Fantatoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A fab book to read, lots of history and horse information, learnt from this but also great to understand the woman behind the sport great read
Published 3 days ago by mr j p faithfull
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadpan and hilarious.
Nice to have a "oops I'm laughing out loud" book to read. She's had an interesting upbringing, quite different to many I would guess, and tells the story in an engaging and... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Crystal clear
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A wonderful, warm, genuine book that is thoroughly enjoyable - you find yourself reading and reading until you get to the end and then you want to read more!
Published 9 days ago by reviewer1
5.0 out of 5 stars What a good read
A brilliant easy read very entertaining book. I am a great horse lover so this book really appealed to me.
Published 12 days ago by Janet Eastwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
Actually I was very surprised at how Clare told her story in a very down to earth way. In the book she describes all about horse management and racing etc, it was not in the least... Read more
Published 13 days ago by itsmeagain
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
This book was bought as a present and the person receiving it stated that it was just what they wanted.
Published 15 days ago by Stuart Gilleard
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Great story love Clare and its so easy to download books to your kindle. love the kindle and the app on my ipad
Published 16 days ago by Mrs Barbara Deacon
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