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117 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and moving
I have a particular interest in this story because, weirdly, I also have hypothyroidism and endometriosis, and wanted to find out more about this commonly misdiagnosed illness. But I'm also a huge fan of Mantel's highly varied fiction, and was curious to find out where it came from.
In one sense this is a familiar tale about a girl from the Northern mill-town who...
Published on 27 April 2005 by A. Craig

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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, especially if you are a child born in the 1950s
I did enjoy this book. Probably because it was evocative of my own childhood in the 50s. I liked the scenes of family life at the start of the book, the simple detail of everyday living. I kind of turned off when she started banging on about the medical stuff, yes, it was a shame that she didn't get diagnosed properly, but it did go on and on. I liked the character...
Published on 29 Nov 2009 by L. Bretherton


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117 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and moving, 27 April 2005
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Giving up the Ghost: A memoir (Paperback)
I have a particular interest in this story because, weirdly, I also have hypothyroidism and endometriosis, and wanted to find out more about this commonly misdiagnosed illness. But I'm also a huge fan of Mantel's highly varied fiction, and was curious to find out where it came from.
In one sense this is a familiar tale about a girl from the Northern mill-town who escapes poverty and hopelessness through a good education at grammar school. Many other British women authors, from Margaret Drabble to Margaret Forster have told it. Mantel's childhood, her apprehension of the Devil (she was raised a Catholic)her fatherlessness and confusion are described in all their black comedy and raw pain. However, the story goes off in an unexpected direction because of Mantel's illness, which colours her time in Africa and Saudi Arabia, her marriage and inevitably her choice of career. Some people are going to like it simply because of its frank account of what it feels like to go from being a size 10 to a size 20 (Yes: it sucks) and as one anxiously waiting to see if the effects can be reversed I'd like more on that... But what it also does is make you very angry on behalf of someone who, despite her formidable intelligence, was advised to become a librarian not a lawyer, and who was medicated as psychologically disturbed when she had a physical illness which rendered her infertile. It made me admire her work even more, knowing the conditions in which it must have been composed.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK, 12 Jun 2003
By A Customer
It is almost impossible to convey the emotional impact of this memoir. At times it is almost too painful to realise the wrong done to Mantel by the medical profession over several decades, but it is the mark of a writer of depth, intelligence, insight and wit that she has turned such appalling experience into intensely moving prose that is little short of miraculous. But then Mantel is a miraculous writer. If you haven't read her fiction you have a rare treat in store, and if you have you will have fallen upon her memoir eager to discover something about the razor sharp intellect behind such astonishing and varied story-telling. Every woman should read GIVING UP THE GHOST, as should every writer, every doctor, every student of human nature. Everyone, in fact. I defy anyone to remain unmoved by it.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clean, deceptively simple writing - but rich food indeed!, 2 Aug 2003
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Any autobiography written by a novelist whose literary craft and imaginative eye appeals to you, will be looked forward to and savoured, since the reader must hope that whatever the writer's life has been like, he or she will bring to bear their fine sense of observation and interpretation onto themselves. The best autobiography won't be just a catalogue of events, but will illustrate something universal. Hilary Mantel does not disappoint!
This is marvellous. She takes the stuff of ordinary beginnings, and of course illustrates how extraordinary we all are, how precious and unique, how our history and memories shape and mould us. I also found her accounts of how her own ill health has had profound effects on her perception of herself extremely moving (side effects of medications which changed her whole physical identity) She chooses to take 'snapshots' of various facets of her life, and expands them into something almost approaching meditations.
A wonderful book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad you didnot give up the ghost, 8 Nov 2012
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I read this autobiography when it was first published and having greatly enjoyed 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring out the Bodies' I wanted to reread Hilary Mantel's extraordinary life.It was well worth a second visit and though much of the story is painful she writes with such humor I was laughing and wincing at the same time. It made me admire her even more.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thoughtful, 6 Jan 2011
This review is from: Giving up the Ghost: A memoir (Paperback)
I have quite a weakness for autobiographies, especially those by fluent writers becaue, in their hands, an almost ordinary life can become very interesting purely through the way in which they present their experiences. This book fulfils on this front and I'm very pleased to have read it.

Unlike many autobiographies, this one is not exhaustive - there is no scrabbling for every last little bit of detail. Rather, HM centres her story on the sale of a house - a second home - which was a pivotal moment for her on her own journey through life. The message is 'this is me up until now, this is how I got here', and the mood is reflective, thoughtful and deeply personal.

For me, it was a short and interesting read, temporarily satisfying my endless curiosity about other people's lives. If you have the same curiosity, you will probably enjoy this book but if you are looking for a compelling read, you will probably be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, 10 July 2012
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This is a life story of how a brilliant writer's life affected her work. It also makes me realise that all obese people are not lacking self discipline.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Giving up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel, 7 Sep 2011
This review is from: Giving up the Ghost: A memoir (Paperback)
A beautifully written account of a life destroyed by endometriosis, moreover a life adversely affected by the chauvinistic attitude of the medical profession towards women's illness and the eagerness to send a woman patient down the route of psychiatric treatment. I should know: I am the carer for a wife who was sent down the same route over two decades with catastrophic results.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography, 12 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Giving up the Ghost: A memoir (Paperback)
One of the best modern autobiographies I have read - brilliantly written. You are left wanting to know more! Highly recommended reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far Better, when Ghosts give Up You!, 18 Feb 2013
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It's not always easy to transmute the personal into the universal but this is Hilary Mantel's particular talent. Her childhood was historical in the sense that those characters and social networks have long gone gone. "Something" happened in the late 1950's!
As to the quite awfully ignorant medical treatment, this is where her writer's detachment hits many nails on the head. I will not forget her surreal delivery, with a "nurse" as companion, in the taxi as she went seeking her scan!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation, 5 Aug 2012
This review is from: Giving up the Ghost: A memoir (Paperback)
I bought this book because I wanted to know more about Hilary Mantel. Hers is an incredible story and she tells it with honesty, humour and, at times, sadness. Battling against a serious condition which would have destroyed the spirit of a lesser person, she made me feel humble. I laughed out loud, at times, and felt tearful at others. The injustices she suffered, the lack of understanding from medics, her Catholic upbringing,the feelings of helplessness in childhood which inform and illustrate her writing - amazingly powerful stuff.
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Giving up the Ghost: A memoir
Giving up the Ghost: A memoir by Hilary Mantel (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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