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Calendar Girl: In Which a Lady of Rylstone Reveals All [Paperback]

Tricia Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Aug 2003
The true, inspirational story behind the film "Calendar Girls", starring Julie Walters, Helen Mirren, Penelope Wilton and Annette Crosbie, as the women behind the "Alternative W.I. Calendar" (better known to most as the "Naked Ladies Calendar". When John Baker died of cancer, many of his friends in the small Yorkshire village of Cracoe were devastated. During his illness Tricia Stewart had joked with him about creating an "Alternative W.I. Calendar" - she and his wife Angela were members - and after his death they were determined to continue and give the proceeds to leukaemia research. It took guts - and a big glass of red wine - for eleven mature women to pose wearing nothing but a string of pearls and a smile. The result was an astonishing two-year rollercoaster ride as the ladies become international stars. In "Calendar Girl", Tricia writes honestly about the whole experience: Angela's courage and strength, the enormous strain that fame placed on marriages, friendships and family, being doorstepped by the tabloid press and the experience of seeing their story be turned into a film. Above all though, she writes about the positive transforming effect the calendar has had on their lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (15 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330427385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330427388
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,006,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Riveting' Valerie Grove, Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

When John Baker died of cancer, many of his friends in the small Yorkshire village of Cracoe were devastated. During his illness Tricia Stewart had joked with him about creating an 'alternative' W.I. calendar - she and his wife Angela were members - and after his death they were determined to continue and give the proceeds to leukaemia research. It took guts - and a big glass of red wine - for eleven mature women to pose wearing nothing but a string of pearls and a smile. The result was an astonishing two-year rollercoaster ride as the ladies became international stars. In Calendar Girl Tricia Stewart writes honestly about the whole experience: Angela's courage and strength, the enormous strain that fame placed on marriages, friendships and family, being doorstepped by the tabloid press, but above all about the positive transforming effect the calendar has had on their lives. Funny, insightful and moving, this book will change your view of the W.I. forever. 'Riveting' Valerie Grove, Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've Seen the Film ----- Now Read the Book! 29 Feb 2004
By P. A. Rushforth VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Few people can be unaware of the true story of the 'girls' who, although in middle age, plucked up the courage (and why not?) to appear discreetly nude for the Alternative WI Calendar. Some people might even say it was "one in the eye" for the page 3 girls.
Those who have seen the film 'Calendar Girls' will have experienced the various emotions ranging from the sadness of John Baker's illness and untimely death - which was the inspiration for the calendar - to the anxiety of the Rylstone WI wondering if the WI Head Office would give their approval to what might be considered an audacious calendar, to the many amusing incidents they encountered whilst they produced and promoted it.
There were so many interesting events and not all could be included in the film but Tricia Stewart, a good friend of Angela - John Baker's wife, has set them all down in her book aptly titled "Calendar Girl". Tricia based the book on her diary of the letters she sent to her daughter,Lizzie, who was in Australia. In a small village such as Cracoe everybody knows everybody else and John Baker had encouraged Lizzie with her University studies. Tricia continues to tell us in her book of the continuing events which the calendar created for the'girls' from this beautiful Yorkshire Dale.
Whatever you views on such a matter, you will be intrigued by the episode, early in the book. of the blue-tit (the bird, nothing to do with the calendar!).
As with the film I found extra interest having had the privilege of knowing John when he and his parents were neighbours of ours, where we than lived, and before he married Angela and moved to the Dales.
It is an enjoyable read of the background to the calendar, its unexpected success, its affect on their lives - especially Tricia's - and the amount of money (now over 1,000,000) raised for Leukaemia Research.
-- You've seen the film, -- now read the book!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Candid Honest Tale 7 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is the tale of the Rylstone WI and provides an insight into how a small group of Yorkshire Women decided to raise money for charity by doing a very tasteful humourous calender.
The book is a great read and explains how fame can be a strain
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No front bottoms 17 Aug 2004
By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In 2003, American audiences were treated to CALENDAR GIRLS, a little gem of a film starring Helen Mirren based on the experiences a group of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s in the north of England who posed starkers for a year 2000 calendar to raise money for leukemia research, and in memory of John Baker, the husband of one of the ladies and a locally well-regarded and much loved Assistant National Park Officer in the Yorkshire Dales, who'd died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in July 1998. Of course, the nudity, both in the film and on the calendar, was tastefully presented, with the naughty bits obscured and most definitely "no front bottoms". The calendar's concept, and the driving force behind its creation, came from Tricia Stewart, a close friend of John and Angela Baker. In real life, Tricia ran a medical software company with her husband, Ian, and taught yoga and Pilates on the side. This book, CALENDAR GIRL, is Tricia's story of the 2-year flurry of frenetic activity that the calendar catalyzed, and the roughly 300,000 copies that were sold in Britain and the United States.
First of all, let me unequivocally state that the film adaptation was wonderful, and I deeply admire author Alicia Stewart for the originality of her idea and for the hard work and dedication she and her colleagues demonstrated in getting the calendar created and marketed. What started out almost as a lark burgeoned into a monster with a life of its own - as such things are wont to do - involving a grueling schedule of domestic and foreign media interviews, appearances on television talk shows and at book-signings both at home and in the U.S., product endorsements, the film, and considerable fame. And the Leukemia Research Fund in Britain and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America received a bunch of money.
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Amazon.com: 1.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No front bottoms 17 Aug 2004
By Joseph Haschka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In 2003, American audiences were treated to CALENDAR GIRLS, a little gem of a film starring Helen Mirren based on the experiences a group of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s in the north of England who posed starkers for a year 2000 calendar to raise money for leukemia research, and in memory of John Baker, the husband of one of the ladies and a locally well-regarded and much loved Assistant National Park Officer in the Yorkshire Dales, who'd died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in July 1998. Of course, the nudity, both in the film and on the calendar, was tastefully presented, with the naughty bits obscured and most definitely "no front bottoms". The calendar's concept, and the driving force behind its creation, came from Tricia Stewart, a close friend of John and Angela Baker. In real life, Tricia ran a medical software company with her husband, Ian, and taught yoga and Pilates on the side. This book, CALENDAR GIRL, is Tricia's story of the 2-year flurry of frenetic activity that the calendar catalyzed, and the roughly 300,000 copies that were sold in Britain and the United States.

First of all, let me unequivocally state that the film adaptation was wonderful, and I deeply admire author Alicia Stewart for the originality of her idea and for the hard work and dedication she and her colleagues demonstrated in getting the calendar created and marketed. What started out almost as a lark burgeoned into a monster with a life of its own - as such things are wont to do - involving a grueling schedule of domestic and foreign media interviews, appearances on television talk shows and at book-signings both at home and in the U.S., product endorsements, the film, and considerable fame. And the Leukemia Research Fund in Britain and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America received a bunch of money. It also destroyed friendships, almost administered the coup-de-grace to a marriage, and, as a final insult, subjected Tricia and Ian to hateful articles in the gutter press. However, that tribute said ...

I realized what was wrong with CALENDAR GIRL about two-thirds into it. It has the flow of a diary, and I gather that Stewart used such as the primary source for her narrative. Trouble is, she failed to edit out so very much that was trivial and, frankly, numbingly boring. As a random example of the story's "feel" , which is typical of the book throughout:

"Lynda had had an invite from Preethi, the Indian girl we'd met at the bookfair, to go to her book launch at Dover Street, by the Ritz, on Thursday night. It was the same day as a shoot in London for the "Mail's You" magazine. Lynda had sent her a calendar, which was in her office. She was having a stressful day organizing her launch and when she went in her office, the calendar fell off the shelf. So she phoned Lynda who was also miserable and the depression lifted for both of them."

Then later, when they meet this Preethi for the launch dinner:

"Sunflowers mean happiness and are Preethi's mum's favourite flower. We met her mum and dad and lots of her friends and drank champagne. Her book focuses on following your dreams, following the African dancer. Later after speeches an African dancer appeared and a band, it was brilliant."

All of the above - and so much more in a similar vein -should've been left out, but perhaps wasn't because the resulting volume wouldn't have been much more than a pamphlet in length.

I really wanted to award at least three stars because Tricia's heart is in the right place, but just couldn't because I struggled to finish CALENDAR GIRL, and was so relieved when I arrived at the last period. I highly recommend the film, but not this well-intentioned but fatally flawed book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Transcribed, not written 6 Jan 2004
By Christine Quiriy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wanted to like this book; I love what those women did. I had heard about the calendar in 2000, and then while visiting England last autumn, I heard about the movie. While visiting England again at Christmas, I was given the book as a gift and was pleasantly surprised. However, because of a lack of narrative, the book is eventually unreadable; it reads like a word-for-word transcription of Ms. Stewart's diary. Some of the words are very funny -asides in conversation transcribed- but there aren't enough of them. And, without a thread of a story to lead the reader along, I lost interest; I hadn't made it halfway through before giving up and skipping to the epilogue.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 1 start should be 0 stars 23 Jun 2005
By E. Northrop - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I should've listened to the other reviewers here before I bothered with this book. I bought it at a discount book store ($5 wasted) and thought I could find something in it that others couldn't. Wrong. By page 30 the author had said the word "brilliant" about 18 times and indeed rattled on incessantly about insignificant, painstaking details.

The movie version (Calendar Girls) of this book, however, was charming and highly recommended. First time I've ever said that the book sucked but the movie was great.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as the Movie 12 May 2004
By takingadayoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I expected to like both the movie and the book. The movie was just okay, and the movie was better than the book. To give credit, the movie was faithful to the spirit of the book, if not the details.
Tricia Stewart, the author of Calendar Girl, and the driving force behind the calendar, would have benefited from someone else writing her story. She rambles on at times and describes everything as "brilliant." She comes across as sometimes overbearing and a bit of of a showoff, not unlike her character in the movie, Chris, played by Helen Mirren.
The story of a group of women in an English village who decide to raise money for the local hospital by posing for a nude, but tastefully so, calendar, is irresistible. But a story has to have conflict, so there are a few tossed in, and perhaps they really happened. Not everyone in the town thinks a nude calendar is a good idea, especially when it leads to an overdose of publicity. The families of the "models" feel neglected when the calendar becomes a hit and they spend all their time giving interviews and traveling. There are strained relationships within the group of women when some think that others (Tricia) are hogging the limelight.
But everything works out in the end, and they become temporarily famous, and make a ton of money for cancer research.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Calendar Girl 6 Jun 2004
By Phoebee Tree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you enjoy listening to one side of a telephone conversation, or to someone who talks a mile a minute about people and places you don't know, you might enjoy this book.
Try to get beyond the British slang, and you will find a story about fairly shallow women who had one good idea.
This is almost all direct characterization; the author tells everything. The reader discovers little.
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