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I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry... [Paperback]

Susie Kelly , Stephanie Zia
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
Price: 8.41 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

20 May 2013
With her usual humor and honesty, Susie recalls her early career as a fledgling thief. A 1950s childhood in post-war London's every shade of grey contrasts vividly with the splendours of Africa as, with her glamorous mother and father, Susie boards a ship bound for exotic, technicolor Kenya. Kenya was in its final decade as a colony, peopled with larger-than-life characters who had helped to forge its identity. There, in this "Out Of Africa" Karen Blixen setting, with the threats of the Mau Mau uprising ever-present, Susie's life disintegrates at break-neck speed into a web of jealousy, rejection and casual cruelty. Each time it seems things cannot get any worse, they do as Susie lifts the lid on her own, often shocking, behavior in her quest to protect herself and those she loves. Rebellious, lonely and self-destructive, it is a small grey pony named Cinderella who saves Susie from herself and brings her the love she craves. Readers will shed a tear at her losses and laugh at her predicaments. This book gives a moving and often shocking insight in the the earlier life of the bestselling French travel writer. “What a story! Written in Susie’s extremely honest way, but unlike her other books, in this one, we learn of her childhood in England and Kenya, her life choices and the decisions she has had to make.” “Susie is not afraid to put into words her feelings of insecurity as a young girl, evoking compassion for the trials she endured.” “I’m sure autobiographies can be a form of therapy but this one must have been the most painful book to write. I read it in one session. There is humour and there is humanity.” “At one point I was almost ready to shout at the book: No, no don’t do it! The whole story is a great tug on the heart strings. I couldn’t put the book down and have every intention of reading it again.” More praise for Susie Kelly: 'There are a handful of authors that will achieve that elusive trick of making you laugh out loud. For me it's James Herriot, Bill Bryson & Susie Kelly.' French Entree Magazine June 2013 "What a great sense of humor Susie has, it makes her writing so endearing." "Reading her books is like listening to relaxing music." "This is a book I could read again and again." "Absolutely brilliant, made me laugh - in fact snort out loud - and then cry.." "Wonderful! Am now going to buy another of Susie's books without further delay!" "I read this book in March 2005 and could read it time and time again as I could with all of Susie Kelly's books. She is an inspiration." I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry... took 10 years to write: “Over the last few months I have written late into the night, when I could be alone and cry unseen. I’ve shed more tears than a human body could feasibly produce, and I’ve eaten my way through endless plates of comfort food. Finally I’m happy with what I have written, satisfied that it is honest and sincere and as good as I can make it.” Susie Kelly If you enjoyed My Animals & Other Family by Clare Balding or A Child Called It: One Child's Courage To Survive by Dave Pelzer, you will love this book.

Frequently Bought Together

I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry... + The Valley Of Heaven And Hell - Cycling In The Shadow Of Marie Antoinette + Travels With Tinkerbelle: 6,000 Miles Around France In A Mechanical Wreck
Price For All Three: 25.23

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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (20 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484955951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484955956
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susie Kelly was born in grey post-war London, and spent much of her childhood and young adulthood in the beautiful country of Kenya.

She now lives in south-west France with a menagerie of assorted animals, and is passionate about animal welfare.

Her first book "Best Foot Forward" was published by Transworld Publishers in 2003, followed by "Two Steps Backward" in 2004, and "A Perfect Circle" in 2006.

Since 2011 Susie's books have been published by Blackbird Digital Books, whose theme is strong, adventurous women living life to the full. Blackbird Digital Book people love birds and animals, travel, history, romance, natural health and environment, resourcefulness, humour, the surreal and magic.

If her house caught fire and she could only save three things (apart from her animals, of course), they would be courage, compassion and a sense of humour.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last to Know 26 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read the author's travel books and half the fun of those is getting to know her a little bit more each time. As travelogues go they transcend the sharing of anecdotes and you really feel as if Kelly is your travelling companion. Sometimes you're walking together in the sunshine enjoying the moment and she is entertaining company, at other times it's better to walk ahead, or behind, especially when she's suffering from blisters or the weather is unrelentingly foul.

I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry is a real departure for the author from the travel-writing. To be fair there always was a personal odyssey dimension to her previous works. Always disarmingly honest she comes across as resilient, vulnerable, brave, bloody-minded, passionate, foolish. This new work is her back story and proves to me she is all of these things.

It could easily have been titled 'Always the Last to Know', Kelly's autobiography contains situations as heart-wrenching as they are impossible to embellish. Beautifully told, populated with larger than life characters, moving back and forth between late colonial Kenya and post-war/ cold-war England, repression, fear, jealousy and misunderstanding tear a family apart. Characterisation is nuanced and complex. Kelly affords everyone alibis and is hardest of all upon herself. There is also love: unrequited love, love lost and love regained, and, like a thread running through the book, a love affair with Africa (and Cinderella!).

I found, like The Remains of the Day or On Chesil Beach, this book doesn't leave you with any sense of closure, rather there's aching, guilt and the remorse of opportunities lost forever. I'm sure autobiographies can be a form of therapy but this one must have been the most painful book to write.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, and compelling reading. 20 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Books are escapism, and Susie Kelly's books about her adventures and life in France have kept me entertained over the years.

I knew this book was going to be different, but nothing prepared me for its content.

When you see an author's picture, and have followed her escapades, somehow you feel in a way, you know her. This book dispels that illusion. The title is easily understandable, everyone regrets not having the chance to say things, or leaving it too late...

What a story! Written in Susie's extremely honest way, but unlike her other books, in this one, we learn of her childhood in England and Kenya, her life choices and the decisions she has had to make.

An open, heart-rending insight into her life, which I found a compelling read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Susie we didn't know 9 Jan 2014
By Jenn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read all of Susie Kelly's books and enjoyed them all. Little had prepared me for this book though. I follow Susie's blog and know her to be inventive, sensitive, a great champion and lover of animals and most of all, she is funny. Her sense of humour in her blog writing can make my day! In this book, Susie opens up to us as we journey with her into her past. Written from the heart, Susie generously shares with us her experiences of growing up without her mother. It is an interesting account of life in Africa and the UK. I read the book quickly and shed a few tears during the last chapter. A lovely read. I can recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In our lives so much is left unsaid 3 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Susie tells the story of her life with freshness and honesty, the hopefulness and humour of her young life is translated through the pages as if it had happened yesterday, and the unbearable sadnesses are enough to break our hearts and touch those lonely places in our own lives we had longed to forget. This isn't a story that wraps up neat and tidy, it's real life and that's never like the movies, kid, but I hope that for Susie and the rest of us there is some comfort yet to come. Thank you, Susie Kelly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I took far too long to get to this... 28 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My "to read" pile is enormous, and I did take far too long to read this wonderful book by an author I'd read before and enjoyed.

It was worth waiting for though. Kelly's style is a winning one; honest, open, and always willing to engage the reader even when the subject matter is difficult.

Forget celebrity memoirs...read one by a real person with a real and compelling story to tell.

Superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward, evocative, and compelling 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
"I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry" by Susie Kelly is a fascinating look at a woman's life that was both ordinary for her time and extraordinary for any time.

Born in post-war England but raised mostly in Kenya, author Susie Kelly grew up the privileged daughter of whites in a country undergoing change. Her own life was filled with change as well--from an almost idyllic childhood to estrangement from her parents, jobs easy and dreadful, an unhappy marriage complete with horrid mother-in-law, children, divorce, and life after. Told in clear, concise prose, the reader feels as if (s)he is sitting at the table listening to Kelly tell her story. The writing is straightforward but evocative, and at times painfully honest. It takes a brave person to admit she married basically to keep a horse--the exquisite Cinderella, the source of one of the few calm centers in a tumultuous life.

In a blog post, Kelly wrote that she'd written this book several times, but that earlier versions never had the right tone. The time and many rewritings were worth it. The tone is measured, mature, and just right. The pace is generally good. There were places I wished she'd explained a little more and occasionally I felt jumbled in time, but overall I was drawn in and compelled to keep turning the pages.

A strong 4.2 stars.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Alexes Razevich
AIA Reviewer
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I just got this book on the off chance, as i love biography but wanted to read about an 'ordinary' person. incredibly well written and showing strength of character of the author.
Published 29 days ago by Susan Holdroyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Susie Kelly books
This was the third Susie Kelly book and I loved it. I found it very hard to put it down it was so engrossing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Moyaux
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible read
A real page-turner and a very moving story, right up to the very end. I love the style of writing and will definitely read more of her books. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars Susie Kelly
Have to read it again, but think that her parents weren't very responsible people. Maybe because she was at first the only child.
Published 4 months ago by M H Farmer
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could say I was sorry- Susie Kelly
In this book, Susie shared everything in her life past, with her readers. I felt very privileged to be able to read it and to get to know more about her. Read more
Published 4 months ago by B. F. Orme
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not you who should apologise!
Very interesting and sad tale of a young girl growing up in the 50's and having so many unhappy things imposed on her with no thought to her needs. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ida's mum
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadness or something else?
Beautiful memoir of growing up with parents who just like us make mistakes. I could feel Susie' s isolation from her family and her need to build her own family despite knowing her... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A strange tale of a strange life
Unlike so many reviewers I did not find this a very satisfying read. The author seems to have lived a life remote from any true intimacy. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bill from Brid
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book
No need to say sorry - really. Best book I have read in years, an absolute corker, buy it now.
Published 7 months ago by Hebrew Blanket
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