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Handling Edna: The Unauthorised Biography [Abridged, Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

Barry Humphries
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Oct 2010

In this unauthorised biography of Dame Edna Everage, acquired for an unprecedented advance and in spectacular secrecy, her long-time manager and the man who was there from the very beginning, Barry Humphries, takes a behind-the-scenes, no-holds-barred look at an icon of our times.

Superstar, swami, confidante and advisor to royalty, Hollywood stars and international political leaders, Dame Edna's life has catapulted her from her humble Moonee Ponds beginnings as a suburban housewife to the most elite social and artistic circles in the world. Who would have thought that this modest Australian woman could achieve so much from London to Louisiana to New York to Tokyo? Who could have anticipated her global fame? Barry Humphries certainly didn't.

Dame Edna will not like this book but Barry knows everything - the who, the why and the where - and in this much-anticipated work he will, for the first time, reveal all. This exhaustively researched account of Edna's roller-coaster life will surely dominate the bestsellers lists. Essential reading for scholars, female achievers, fans of Dame Edna and those who feel that behind the fairytale career lies a darker and more sinister story.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Orion; Abridged edition edition (28 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409122719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409122715
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 13.8 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 879,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Humphries is a complex character; he's also extremely funny. (Sue Arnold GUARDIAN)

Book Description

An intimate and penetrating examination of the world's most famous woman, Dame Edna Everage, by the man who knows her best. Abridged edition, read by Barry Humphries.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rip-roaring yarn 5 Oct 2011
This is a rip-roaring yarn that has countless laugh-out loud moments, but also some surprisingly quiet interludes of genuine depth, as Humphries (acting as the "agent" to his doughty Dame) relates historical and geographical details of antipodean culture, all of which drip with a knowing and self-deprecating satire. I have to agree with a previous reviewer that Humphries' perception of his beloved "Dame Edna" character is really quite "spooky" at times. I witnessed this first hand some years ago when Humphries brought "Dame Edna: the musical" to Guildford. She really is a larger than life character and there is no wonder that - even if book form - she utterly dominates her creator to the point, and arguably beyond the point of reason!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dame Edna above Average 28 July 2011
This book is about Dame Edna Everage and is written by Barry Humphries from the viewpoint of Edna's agent. As it is focused on Dame Edna there are gaps from Barry's life although he has written two other autobiographies such as "More, Please: An Autobiography" (which he says only mentions him playing Edna in his shows because of the pressure he was put under at the to,e by his publishers to write the story in that way to maximise sales) if you want to fill those gaps.

As for Dame Edna's life all the peripheral characters such as the invalid husband Norm, the housemaid Madge and the sons and daughters make an appearance. It is amazing how many times the author mentions the similarities between his mother and Dame Edna. It's as if Dame Edna could have been a character creation based on his mother?

There is also an appendix with a few different bits and pieces of Dame Edna's material as a sort of DVD extra section.

All in all this was an informative read about a comedy icon even if it is a work of fiction (or not as the case may be).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review from AntonySimpson.com 1 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Barry Humphries has been with Edna Everage since the very beginning. In Handling Edna: The Unauthorised Biography by Barry Humphries he describes how they met, and the adventure she's dragged him along for ever since.

Before the book even begins there is a "Note to the Reader" eluding to the fact that some people have come to believe that Barry Humphries and Dame Edna are essentially the same person. Humphries writes that he hopes to shed some light on where this belief came from, so that the reader can make their own decision about what they believe.

The first chapter starts in Moonee Ponds, Australia and describes how Barry and Edna met. Humphries writes in the first person, and throughout the book uses description to indicate the decade and location of events he describes.

Each chapter gives an entertaining and fascinating insight into Barry's life and career (or lack of), Edna and her family's life and careers, her rise to stardom (and Barry's lack of understanding as to why) and the problems that it brought her - all in a chronological order.

A few highlights (in no particular order) include Barry being the warm up act for Dame Edna - for various shows; Edna's time in Hollywood; Barry's stint in hospital with alcoholism and Edna being his only visitor; Barry's love life; Barry's impersonation of Edna on two occasions - the first for his benefit and the second trying to help her; Edna's poor mental health - in particular in relation to the death of Norm (her husband).

As the chapters go on, towards the end of the book you start to get a fictional feel to the book especially in the final few chapters. Earlier in the book Barry is handed a letter for Edna by Madge. Madge instructs Barry to only give the letter to Edna when she dies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Audio CD 30 April 2012
By J & K
Format:Audio CD
This begins really well, like one of those William Boyd novels where you can't tell what is fiction and what reality. Barry Humphries relates the story not only of his life but how he discovered the great Dame. The first disc had plenty of belly laughs. However, some way through the second the pace and concept slacks off. It moves from a hybrid of reality and fiction that teases you into what is / is not real and becomes more like a novel than the fictitious biography it claims to be. By the end implausibility is heaped upon implausibility and it just runs out of laughs. I love Barry Humphries and Dame Edna - but this disappointed. On the plus side, Barry's reading is brilliant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fabulous world of megastardom revealed 24 Aug 2011
How could anyone resist the temptation to learn more about this beloved character, megastar, entertainer and comic?! Written by Barry Humphries who as we all know knows Edna better than anyone, we get a remarkable insight into Edna's life and how she came to be the megastar we know and love. The purple fluffy world of planet Everage it seems can also be a sad and sometimes spooky place, but this somehow makes Edna more real and it doesn't stop the laughs at all. The only sinister question is that both Barry and Edna seem to meld quite often....but the book explains that too and theres even the possibility that we get a cheeky peek at some of Ednas romantic dalliances too and they are far from old fashioned! Other beloved characters are featured too, the long suffering Madge, Norm and her children. Its a must read possums!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather weird, very clever, amusing and entertaining. ...
Rather weird, very clever, amusing and entertaining. I can't say that it improved my mind, but I was very sorry to finish it and will definitely be buying tickets Dame Edna's next... Read more
Published 1 month ago by PGTips
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
Love this book. It's made even more special by the fact that I went to the Barry Humphries farewell tour and had it signed!
Published 2 months ago by A. WILLIAMS
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud moments
This book cheered me up so much. Wonderful laugh out loud moments . Like other comments it was hard to divorce fact from fiction and I began to feel sorry for Barry and Edna. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nicky Dorrian
5.0 out of 5 stars Barry allows us to see Edna's world unfiltered (something she is...
I'm loving listening to the audiobook by Barry Humphries of his revelatory 2009 unauthorised biography "Handling Edna". Read more
Published 6 months ago by John Frame
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD IDEA
Fantastic story and marvelous reader I could listen over and over again P Barry is just perfect at reading his own autobiography of Edna
Published 12 months ago by w h goulder
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn not yarn
I couldn't understand the point of this book, its not funny and it isn't a biography. I quite like Barry, thats why I thought I would like the book. Read more
Published on 21 July 2012 by Rod
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd, truly unsettling, funny but not just funny
Written as if Edna is a real person and Humphries is her "agent". Humphries carries off this ludicrous deception with conviction; consequently, the writing verges on psychotic in a... Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2011 by Robert
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