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The Centre of the Bed: An Autobiography Hardcover – 13 Oct 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (13 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340823100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340823101
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Wise and wry (The Times)

Bakewell's level-headed discussion of her ambivalent response to the tag (the 'thinking man's crumpet') makes fascinating reading...as does her calm but moving account of her lengthy affair with Harold Pinter. (The Sunday Times)

Mesmerising (Caroline Gascoigne, Books of the Year, Sunday Time)

Book Description

The memoirs of a legendary figure in TV and the arts, beautifully written, honest and fascinating

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Joan Bakewell writes a beautiful account of her life, from her birth in 1933, which runs parallel to the incredible and turbulent history of the 20th century. She has also lived through significant social changes, from the Education Act which enabled her to get to university, to the very gradual shift from gender discrimination which caused her mother (and thousands like her)to live a melancholic and disappointed life. We follow Joan's life through marriage, children, divorces and her reporting arts work at the BBC - this organisation also going through something of a revolution. I was a bit muddled with the chronology about the middle of the book - when and who she was married to and when she had divorced - the dialogue seemed to jump back and forth somewhat. Despite that however, still an absorbing, jolly good read.
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Format: Paperback
It's so great to read a well-written autobiography and be in no doubt that the subject really did put pen to paper themseleves. As one of the most well-known and respected journalist of her generation, Bakewell has a great command of the English language. The tale of her life is both informative and entertaining. There is no sensationalism here - even when we are learning about her extra-martial affairs - she is restrained without being secretive and it seems that at all timees she is considering the thoughts and feelings of everyone else involved in her story. Bakewell's experiences put her at the centre of so many social changes - the rise of feminism, the fall of communism and the decline of public broadcasting are all chartered through her personal experiences. Never self-indulgent or apologetic, this is a mature look at a well lived life. A welcome change from all those autobiographies of so-called celebrities who have achieved nothing and have even less to say.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pithy, clever, perceptive and warm-hearted – Joan Bakewell always worth reading, probably the original 'been there, done that' person! This biography is wonderfully evocative of a period (1960s and '70s) that is much spoken of, but rarely better understood or more fully engaged with. Now can't wait to read her most recent book about later parts of her life – just hoping it will be available in paperback soon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joan bakewell is an inspiration. Flawed, yes, real, yes, intelligent, without doubt, talented, most certainly. I loved this book charting her life from birth to accomplished broadcaster. In many ways the book is a chunk of social history; how life and opportunity has changed for women over the latter half of the twentieth century. It is expertly written, her prose straightforward yet beautiful. I have never underlined so many sentences in a book, which capture the thoughts so perfectly and speak to me directly. Her life is laid bare with all its intricacies, complications, pain and triumph from her Cambridge days to her troubled relationship with a depressed mother, from her original and ground-breaking programmes to her affair with Harold Pinter. My only criticism is that I wanted to learn and understand more about her, the woman, not the broadcaster, more about her relationships with her husbands and children, this is given less shrift than her long-term headline grabbing affair with Pinter. That said, I found the book fascinating and engaging and would heartily recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Joan Bakewell's book,The Centre of the Bed is a must for those old enough to have watched BBC2's flagship
news review programme in the late 1960's.

Joan was a masterly vision in her mini skirt and she made the programme unmissable. I will never forget an overwhelmed male interviewee who all of a sudden exclaimed ''my God you're beautiful !''even Joan, the ultimate professional, was visibly moved.

At the time it would have been great fun to have known even some of what was going on in her private life but it's all so well described in this autobiography.
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Format: Hardcover
Joan Bakewell has been an iconic figure on radio and TV since the 1950s and 60s. Her autobiography gives considerable insight into the person behind the public face we know so well. The description of her dying father's last hours, when four generations came together so very briefly, moved me almost to tears. The section ends, "My son smiles, I smile. This is what life is. There is no sadness at all. No tears. I feel my father is liberated into his death". Here is a woman who has experienced life to its fullest and given us all so much on her journey through it. She may have been labeled the "thinking man's crumpet" but her legacy will be so much more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great autobiography by a clever and classy lady.She had great sex appeal for me when I was a young man and has since satisfied me intellectually.What more could one ask.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting jounrey own memory lane, But seen from the centre of things; not simply as an onlooker. Gives a vivid sense of how things have changed.
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