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on 11 February 2008
...you were not there!" Or so they say. This "memoir" starts off with the handicap of having been written by the latter day quasi-husband of the lady in question. Admittedly, it could be said that that is no different to many a ghosted authobiography, but, somehow, it just is...

Shoe (Sue) was brought up the daughter of a butcher in the North of England, drifted into swinging London in the early 60's and led a life of a very unusual kind: imprisoned several times for cannabis possession (at least twice or thrice in England and once in Tunis; she followed the (to me anyway) absurd child/teenage guru Maharaj Ji; meditated and helped orphans in Sri Lanka; lived in a cave in Catalonia and sold flowers and wickerwork etc to tourists in a nearby village. She seems rarely to have had anything approaching a "normal" paid job, though she did do work for love of spiritual enlightenment and for suffering people like the Sri Lankan children, many of whom were mentally retarded or had Down's Syndrome.

Eventually, in Catalonia, she met Guinness, the wealthy son of Lady Diana Mosley (the wife of Sir Oswald; she was imprisoned --like Shoe-- in Holloway, though in her case she was a political prisoner held in WW2 for being Mosley's wife. She was held in dreadful conditions for over 4 years). Shoe had never even heard of Mosley (an indication of her poor educational level) and they got on well from the start. Despite his being married, they had three children and she eventually led a more sedate life, in England. Although not mentioned in the book for obvious reasons of date, later Shoe predeceased Guinness and he inherited the title of Lord Moyne before his death. Both merited Daily Telegraph obituaries.

A book well worth reading, though one wonders at the accuracy of both her thoughts and feelings (presumably told at some point to Guinness) and her recollection of actual events: she (Guinness) says she was tried at the historic Bow Street Court for possession of marijuana. Bow Street was a magistrates' court, now defunct. She (he?) says that she remembers the "judge's" hammer crashing down. This is unlikely for two reasons: Bow Street would have had a magistrate not a Circuit or High Court judge; neither magistrates nor judges in England use hammers or gavels...She also remembers the barristers' gowns: not worn in magistrates' courts. Hm...

Still, a good read, read sceptically...
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on 9 December 2012
a fascinating story of a truly interesting character. love it. susan taylor is an inspiring woman. i went to cadaques and dalis house after reading this book and a fab holiday. thank you shoe.
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