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on 21 September 2011
Sue Johnston memoir should be compulsorary reading for all us women who have/had overly critical mothers and keep on going. She writes about those ambivalent feelings for her mother which are easy to relate to, even though my life experience is so very different from hers. She is an inspirational and charming women who shares her interesting passage through life, motherhood and acting career in such a warm hearted friendly manner that it was as though she was in the same room. Reading 'Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother' was good for me, like getting a hug from a good friend. Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother: My Autobiography
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on 1 September 2011
The only things I was really expecting from Sue Johnston's autobiography were that it would be funny in parts, have some insights into the TV worlds of Brookie, The Royales, being Grace in Waking the Dead and from the title `Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother' I hazarded a guess that either Sue had some skeletons in her cupboard or her relationship with her mother might be a fraught one. Indeed it is the latter and really if I was to say Sue's book is about anything then it would really be about the difficult relationship they shared. This was much more interesting than any gossip of any TV set could have in store.

There are of course the tales of the television work that Sue has done, and I will admit I wanted a little more than the snippets we got, but there is a huge amount of stuff in store for anyone picking up this book, and I don't just mean the stories of her mother. Sue struggled to find what she wanted to do after her childhood, which sounded wonderful, and after a stint at the Tax Office she found herself hanging out at The Cavern in Liverpool with The Beatles and working for Brian Epstein's company where she discovered `The Hippy Hippy Shake'. We look at her two marriages, being a single working mother (and the struggles that could bring) as well as her political involvement with the Labour Party and how she protested and rallied for the miners and gay rights. Sue Johnston is a woman with a lot more going on than just being a wonderful actress who has become a national treasure.

The heart of Sue's thoughts and memories are really those of her mother though. A woman who whilst making her only child have a good, happy, secure childhood could never show her affection or full approval and it's this which really comes to life in the pages and almost haunts the book with its echoes throughout. What Sue Johnston doesn't do is make all this maudlin, yes there is some regret and anger on occasion, on the whole where possible you do feel Sue is looking at life with a glass half full attitude, there is a certain wryness here amongst the serious stuff.

I was a fan of Sue Johnston before I read `Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother', I am even more of a fan now that I have finished the book. I loved the books honesty and clarity I think the only thing is that I would have liked more of it. I felt like there was so much that Sue had to say, and so many other interesting stories in the background, it almost didn't all fit in the book and could have gone on much longer, I could easily have read another few hundred pages. Read `Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother' it's a great memoir from one of Britain's best loved, and most down to earth, actors (I nearly said actresses there, that wouldn't do) and don't be surprised if you find yourself shedding a few tears along the way, there's much laughter too.
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on 3 October 2011
I gave this book to my wife for a suprise present and never expected it to be such a popular gift which has been handed to me to read and what a read, You expect that these actors and actresses have an easy life, not so for Sue, yes she has been a star on our small screen for a number of years and you feel you know who she is, forget that, you reade this book and it gives you an insite into what it was like in the North West and also in Liverpool during her life and the struggle she had to make it in her chosen profession
It is a first class read and one I would reccomend to any one who, like me, enjoys seeing Sue on the small or large screen.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2011
i have been a huge fan of sue ever since her brookside days...and have followed her career ever since.

a wonderfully versatile actress who can do comedy as well as drama - she has hardly been off our screens since 1983.

immensely private about her life over the years - sue now tells the story of her early upbringing, her days with the beatles and her ongoing career. wonderfully illustrated and well written - a must read for her fans and people who love autobiographies!!!
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I was 16 in 1984 when Channel 4 was launched and I remember it clearly - the first programme was Countdown, followed by Brookside. I was hooked from the first episode. Brookside was a soap opera like none of the others, fresh and new and dared to cover issues that hadn't been seen before on a soap. I watched it from episode one right up until the end - even through the very odd storylines towards the end.

Although Sue Johnston is now more famous as Barbara Royle from the Royle Family, she will always be Sheila Grant to me. I loved the Grants. Sheila and Bobby and three children Barry, Damon and Karen. I had a massive crush on Barry Grant played by Paul Usher.

Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother published by Ebury Press is Sue Johnston's memoir and it's a warm and honest read. You can almost hear Sue's voice as she tells of her childhood, her relationship with her parents, her marriages and her career. What struck me the most is the fact that Sue has stayed 'real' throughout her career, despite the success and the fame and the OBE, she never strayed far from her roots and never lost that no nonsense attitude or her belief in social justice.
Sue's relationship with her Mother is a theme that runs throughout the book, they loved each other, of that there is no doubt, but it was never an easy love. Sue never felt that her Mother was proud of what she did and knew deep down that if she had married a plumber, stayed at home and had two kids, her Mother would have been happier.
Despite this, their relationship was strong and her recollection of their last days together is very moving.

This is not a showbiz gossipy type of memoir, although Sue has many famous friends, this is a story about a real woman, who achieved her dream and has stayed through to herself
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on 11 October 2011
This book is a must read,I couldn't put it down and in fact, I read it twice! I've enjoyed watching her in roles over the years such as Sheila Grant, Barbara Royle & Grace Foley and thought I might enjoy this book and I did, very much! She is a loving, caring woman who has had lead such an interesting life. I found it very touching in parts and very funny in other parts, after reading her very frank, honest and facinating book, I am now a life-long fan. A very caring and compassionate lady.
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on 5 November 2011
My mother recommended this book and I enjoyed reading which did not take long. The relationship between parents and their only daughter is very close to home and certainly brought a tear or two on. I am not normally a memoirs reader, however I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Sue and how hard life can be as an actor.
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on 1 November 2011
Sue tells of her life in very open and honest terms. She is a wonderful actress and throughout her career has met and worked with many "celebrities" but she remains a down to earth person who is true to herself. Her life has not been easy but she has soldiered on and made the best of everything whilst remaining steadfast to her chosen career in spite of never having received the full and open support of her mother. Sue's mother found it very difficult to show love, affection and support to her only daughter and with many children, even as adults, this could have proved too hard to accept and could have manifested itself in anger and resentment and a very estranged relationship. However, instead of rejecting her mother as many would have done, Sue accepted her mother as she was, although hurtful at times, and continued to be a support to her mother right to the end of her parent's life. Deep down Sue knew that her mother did love her but wasn't able to show it for some reason.
Once I began reading Sue's autobiography I couldn't put it down as I found every page interesting as Sue told the story of her life from childhood through to the present day. She is a very strong person with true beliefs of fairness and her love for her chosen art of acting shines through.
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on 7 October 2011
I knew that Sue Johnson was on Brookside but I was to young to associate her with that. However as an avid Royle Family fan I grew to love Sue Johnson as an actress, hence when I saw she had published her autobiography I went straight out and bought it. Whereas Barbara Royle is portrayed as having a simple life, Sue's life is far from simple and it was a real pleasure to read her inspiring life story, I struggled to put the book down each time.
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on 7 November 2013
This is an enjoyable enough account of the life of one of Britain's increasingly iconic TV actresses but is spoiled by some glaring inaccuracies. Sue obviously regards herself as something of a long established fan of Liverpool FC but somehow believes the dreadful Hillsborough tragedy, which she seeks to speak of with some authority, to have taken place at a league match between Sheffield Wednesday and Liverpool rather than an FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Hard to believe that any football supporter, let alone a self proclaimed Liverpool fan, could make such a mistake. A few pages later, when she refers to Sean Bean as a 'passionate Sheffield Wednesday fan' one really does have to wonder about the veracity of some of her accounts, as referring to die-hard 'Blades' fan Bean as a 'Wednesdayite' is almost on a par with discussing George Best's career at Manchester City! There also don't actually appear to be that many things she 'couldn't tell her mother' but otherwise it's okay although it has to be said that she's a much better actress than a writer.
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