I confess, I was rather indifferent about actress Denise Welch until reading her first volume of memoirs. From the TV dramas I've seen her in, I always thought that she turned in a good performance, and her hilarious, often outrageous antics on 'Celebrity Big Brother' pretty much made that series for me.
In 'Pulling Myself Together', Denise looks back at a high profile career in Britain, which includes starring TV roles in 'Solider Solider', 'Byker Grove', 'Coronation Street', 'Waterloo Road', a stage production of 'Grease', and her popular association on the 'Loose Women' panel. Fans of any of these shows will find parts of this book very interesting, as she reveals lots of behind-the-scenes gossip, but make no mistake, this isn't you're strictly showbiz memoir, it is just as much about her difficult private life.
Even from the start of her career, Geordie Denise was hiding a secret, she was suffering from a post natal depression which was so severe that she admits that there have been many times over the years when she felt suicidal. I felt her whilst reading about this struggle, I really did, and was amazed at how she managed to play so many characters on the screen and stage so convincingly over the years, especially as she frankly admits to taking cocaine and drinking alcohol in the dressing room whilst filming her scenes in 'Coronation Street', which should have been the happiest time of her professional life.
I really admired the honesty which I believe was running high throughout this book, when she talks about the things she has done which don't always put her in a good light, her casual attitude towards infidelity, her stormy marriage to actor and comedian Tim Healey, who appear to be 'chalk and cheese' as people, her trouble with police, and some very embarrassing incidents that she is gutsy enough to recall. More importantly, this is the story of how this brave woman turned her life around.
I don't even think that you have to no the first thing about Denise Welch if you should decide to read 'Pulling Myself to Together', which is a book which I believe will inspire those who have faced similar health problems with depression (which I have myself), or just feel a little bit fed up, as we all do at times. There are enough good anecdotes to satisfy readers of celebrities and the acting industry, and anyone who just likes to read a real-life story.
My impression was that above all, although she does carry a very selfish streak, and has put her own interests first on more than one occasion, Denise is a great friend, a loving wife and devoted mother, who didn't always make the right decisions in life, but at least she can admit to that. I found this very easy to read, although I probably wouldn't wish to do so again, in it's entirety at least.
on 27 May 2012
I read this book ages ago but didn't review it because I wanted to consider why my opinion of Denise had changed. She has had some bad press recently, partly due to her reputation as a party girl. I didn't want to give a knee-jerk reaction to the book because I have always liked Denise & wanted to defend her. I know something of Depression & felt that some people didn't give due consideration to the effects of this. I applaud her honesty in telling her story. I think there is always something to learn whenever anybody tells of their experience of Depression. However, gradually I came to believe that Denise was quite selfish. She says in the book (& has repeated this on Loose Women) that she would rather make a joke about someone than take a moment to think about their feelings. This spoilt it for me & I haven't been able to think of her in the same way since. Her recent assertions on TV that her family adore her & 'love the bones of her' seem a touch boastful even if they do love her. Funny how other people think well of her yet she wouldn't think of them at all if there was a gag to be told. Her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother made her seem a bit deluded despite the fact that she often comes across as quite intelligent. I suspect there may be a follow up to this book. I wonder if Denise will grasp the fact that she can let her hair down & have fun whatever her age, but most people adapt their behaviour to act appropriately depending on their company & the occasion. If she still wants to be semi naked in a pool with a teenager in years to come I don't think she will deal with the ageing process very well.
on 24 June 2011
I'm halfway through this and really enjoying it. After a slow start it's become a book I can't wait to pick up again every evening.
Denise writes well (actresses usually do I find)and is witty.
The mentions of other actors/celebrities are interesting as always in this type of book.
I've just got to where she begins to suffer from severe clinical depression after the birth of her first child, and she speaks brilliantly about depression. As she says, 'depression is not an indulgence'. With depression, it's all too easy to self-blame for being depressed but I'm sure Denise speaking about her experience will help a lot of people and provide a bit of reassurance. She meets a lot of unhelpful 'mental health professionals' along the way and I'm sure many will recognise this experience also and maybe not feel so alone.
All in all, I'd highly recommend this book, the author is obviously both bright and down-to-earth, a great combination for a writer.
on 9 March 2011
Denise's life has been plagued by severe depression ever since the birth of her first son. Add to that the alcohol & cocaine addictions, some interesting relationships, a headline hitting affair and a lot of behind the scenes action and she's got plenty of interesting stories to tell. But the stories are mostly short and not so detailed so I found this book didn't flow as well as a lot of other autobiographies I`ve read.
However, Denise comes across as being very down to earth and frank, which I liked, and I admired her brutal honesty in telling her story. I also think she did a good job of writing about her depression and giving a clear insight into the mind of a sufferer.
on 19 March 2011
Really found this book too self indulgent and self pitying. Many people suffer from depression, tragedies, set backs etc and do not turn to drink, drugs and adultery. To do so and to learn from your mistakes is one thing but to continue to repeat the same mistakes without regard for your children, husband and family is another thing altogether. Certainly did not endear the author to me and I will avoid watching anything she is in from now on.