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This review is from: Diana - The Last Word (Hardcover)
Simone prides herself on telling it like it is and saying what's true, not what people want to hear. Hence, for this review, I will do likewise.
Both times I read it, I was tempted to return it to the charity shop from whence it came. It's appallingly written, one of those autobiographies with ghostwriting help that do not sound like the person - in fact these all sound remarkable similar. It also suggests that Simone can't write. However, seeing her give an interview gave a better impression and did not sound like the bland voice of the book.
I was immediately alarmed that Simone pushes herself forward as almost sole confidante, entrusted to write Diana's real memoir - implying by the title that there is definite finality to this work. It always strikes me that the truest friends are the most circumspect, and do not need to reassert their specialness. Throughout the book, especially in the chapter Diana's Court, Simone goes through other people we might think are supposed to have been close to Diana and tells us why Diana didn't really trust them or how they fell out. It seems that Simone too was out of favour in the run up to Diana's death, which is played down.
She repeats things, such as Diana's sexual confidences, which are entirely inappropriate - such as grading former lovers. I was tempted to dispose of the book at this point.
Simone suggests that had Diana not temporarily frozen her out, her wisdom would have rescued the princess from the Panorama interview that Simone dismisses as "pathetic" and inaccurately summarises. I've just watched it and feel that Simone misunderstood the interview.
Simone is an energy healer with clairvoyant powers, but is critical of anyone else with those gifts. She expects us to believe in the authenticity of her own healing and in her premonition of her father's death and that her deceased grandparents appeared to collect him. But she denigrates Paul Burrell's claims of seeing his late mother or Diana, and is rude about other mediums and the many other practitioners that Diana consulted. Pyramid therapy is ridiculed, but house healing (as done by Simone) is normal and acceptable. I am open to energy healing and the possibility of other spiritual phenomena, but I disliked Simone's inconsistency. Again, she feels the need to aggrandise herself, spending some time talking about her healing successes and hinting at her other celebrity clientele, while reminding us of how down to earth she is.
She also speaks of her trip to Bosnia during the war, making out that Diana did her famous landmine work because of her example and cajoling.
I did start to wonder if Simone had attempted something clever: that this warts and all, no nonsense angle was meant to prepare us to accept what could have been an explosive finale. She gives precursory hints that Diana foresaw her own death but when she comes to that part, doesn't give as much detail as I'd expected. She also speaks of a dossier detailing the involvement of those in support of landmines and who threatened Diana for banning them. Perhaps for fear, this part of the story is also drawn back where I had hoped for a powerful ending.
That part, and the chapter on Diana's beliefs, were the most interesting, and for that alone I have kept it for now.