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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where are you? Let's be having you!, 7 Sep 2005
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Delia Smith: The Biography (Paperback)
Delia's famous plea to Norwich City fans in 2005 came several years too late for inclusion in this biography, but it proved (if proof were needed) that Delia is as passionate about her football as she is about the cookery that made her famous. Because of the timing of this book's publication, it only covers the early part of Delia's ownership of the club she has supported for more than three decades.
The author wrote this book without any help from Delia or her husband. As such, this is not the definitive Delia biography but I wonder if that will ever be written because it is clear that Delia doesn't like discussing some aspects of her life, especially her childhood in Bexleyheath. Of course, Delia is entitled to her privacy but it does limit the scope of this book. It seems that Delia has good reasons for not discussing her childhood because it seems that it wasn't an especially happy time, according to Delia's best friend at school.
Delia left Bexleyheath to seek a better future in London, sometimes doing two or three jobs at once. Most of these jobs were very ordinary but a combination of Delia's determination together with her ability to get on with people and a few lucky breaks eventually reaped its rewards. Although she had enjoyed the results of her mother's home baking, Delia began as a hairdresser. Indeed, it seems that Delia had not learned to cook as a child at all. Paradoxically, this was what enabled Delia to become so successful. Delia's policy has always been to develop recipes that are simple to follow. This endeared her to the British public but not to the culinary experts who generally regarded her with disdain even if they acknowledged her appeal. Of course, when Delia eventually took over Norwich City, fans assumed that catering would immediately improve. It didn't - it got worse initially - and those problems are covered in this book.
Delia's rising fame, punctuated by setbacks along the way, gets plenty of coverage. Having established herself as a TV presenter, Delia was at one point banished to a late night television slot. The BBC controller made the excuse that Delia wasn't attractive. Pictures of Delia taken at around that time prove otherwise, so the controller obviously had another reason. Nevertheless, Delia showed her renowned determination and made the most of her new TV slot. With such resolution, Delia continued to overcome any problems that she encountered in life. She will need all that determination to make Norwich City a consistently successful football club.
The author has made some mistakes here, claiming that Billy Haley was in the 1957 charts with Love letters in sand (it was Pat Boone, not Bill Haley). In the chapter dealing with Delia's marriage, she writes that Delia was three months older than Michael when they first met, but three years older when they got married. In the overall context of the book, neither of these errors matter much but it makes me wonder what else is wrong.
This book, with all its flaws, is still an interesting read. If you are curious about Britain's most popular cook - and one of Britain's most popular football club owners - you can learn a lot about Delia from this book. It'll do until the definitive biography is written. Maybe Delia will write it when she has achieved what she wants with Norwich City.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable Book, 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer
I received this book for Christmas and read it within a few evenings - I found it hard to put down. Delia is a very nice woman, and its just a shame the cookery world don't seem to gel to her, as do her public. Also, the reason I wanted this book is that I had found out that Delia was a Christian (like myself), but, sadly, all too often you read where people say they are Christians, but find out its all lip service. This I cannot say about Delia, Jesus is very real to her, and she certainly lives the life she believes in - which is what Christianity is all about. Carry on the good work, Delia.
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Delia Smith: The Biography
Delia Smith: The Biography by Alison Bowyer (Paperback - 5 Aug 2002)
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