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on 23 July 2013
I have mixed feelings on reaching the end of this very well written autobiography. First, my interest is in Tony Hancock primarily, and then John Le Mesurier. Other than the fact that Joan was having an affair with the former whilst married to the latter my interest in Joan Le Mesurier is non existent. I have other biographies on Tony and only bought this book to read of things from Joans viewpoint. My only real criticism is the somewhat narcistic and cavalier way she mistreated John first with Tony, and later with others regardless of how brief the affairs resulted - and even preventing John from being the subject of "This Is Your Life." However, Joans story from her childhood to her living in Spain is a very good read which is difficult to put down because of the journey she took along the way. I'm left feeling that as much as I find Joan difficult to like and believe that she has had a charmed existence being involved with two of Britains best loved comedy actors and riding on their coat tails, I am grateful for her giving us this book.
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on 11 March 2013
it is easy to see how such diverse personalities as John Le Mesurier and Tony Hancock fell in love with the author. Even when she is,by her own admission, behaving badly, it is impossible not to like her as she is so very honest about her own shortcomings and she writes very entertainingly about her complex love life.
Joan captures the sense of the restrictive attitudes of the 1950's and she writes warmly about her parents, who were completely supportive and encouraged her in her decision to move to London even volunteering to look after her son while she was away during the week.
The reader might feel a sense of anger at the way she treated John. She was aware that he had been deeply hurt by the breakup of his marriage to Hattie Jacques. John came to the assistance of his good friend Tony Hancock and with Joans consent offered him a place to stay when he was in the grip of chronic alcoholism. Hancock betrayed his generosity by starting an initially passionate affair with Joan. John was again the injured party when she moved out and subsequently set up home with Tony at various addresses, none of which proved to be happy in the long term. Hancock, like most alcoholics was incredibly selfish and his behavior became increasingly boorish and at times violent. She captures the madness of alcoholism very well, the damage to the drinker and to the repeatedly let down friends and family. The mood altering effect of the drink on Hancock was quite frightening, necessitating repeated failed episodes of rehab and more alarmingly even E.C.T. to cope with his depression.
John Le Mesurier remained loyal and constant to both Joan and Tony. It is obvious by the affection that is expressed by all of Johns friends and family for him that he was an extraordinary man. We find out later that he too succumbed to a life of consistently heavy drinking when he developed cirrhosis of the liver. I wonder if he could only cope with all the heartache by numbing his pain with alcohol. Joan's description of his passing is incredibly moving and he left this world with a lot of dignity and surrounded by his loved ones which I feel was not the case with Tony Hancock, dying alone in an hotel room in Australia. His legacy is some of the most brilliant comic acting on both radio and television thanks to a very large degree to Galton and Simpson, his brilliant writers. It should have been so much more.
Her reconciliation with John is very satisfying for the reader. She found contentment in her later years and they achieved a level of happiness based on a mutual understanding of each others needs. It is wonderful to see John Le Mesurier so often on the television. He was such a part of so many peoples lives long before he found his way into our hearts as Sergeant Wilson.
Ask yourself who amongst the current batch of spoiled Hollywood(and elsewhere) actors could hold a candle to his catalogue of such richly human and often flawed characters.

Joan Le Mesurier should be very proud of this book. It is brutally honest,very readable(there are some car crash moments that you will want to avert your eyes but just cannot). I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope the author is still enjoying life in her adopted Spain.
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on 30 January 2011
This book is superb.

I came across it by randomly searching for books about Tony Hancock. At the good price I decided to get it and it arrived very quickly.

I very rarely get transfixed by books, but this was one of the few! I read it all in one day!! Excellent!!

If you can find it I recommend it - if you're a Hancock fan - as it explains much that is previously unknown at the time of writing. Plus most of the life of John Le Mesurier. (His wife wrote it.)

Geoff.
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on 2 October 2001
Tony Hancock was possibly the finest comedian Britain ever produced. But he was beset by demons. Joan le Mesurier was one of the women who was entranced by this comedy giant, and almost brought to the brink of destruction by his love affair with the bottle. Here she recounts how she betrayed one of Britain's best-loved actors, John Le Mesurier, to have a tortured affair with her husband's best friend. It is a testament to John's deep-seated decency that he found the inner resources to forgive her and the couple enjoyed a happy marriage until his death.
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on 28 February 2016
A great little book about an affair but more than that, about a life. Actually three lives. That a man stayed with his wife even though she was having an affair is strong enough motive to read this book. But that it is told by the one who had the affair more so. It is obvious she loved both men but in entirely different ways.And being about the UK's two top comedy actors/comedians of the time,it was relatively a private affair not like today.

Saying that expect it to be a bit vulgar in some of its language as it is how people react to situations. It maybe a bit no-holds- barred for some people but it is written with affection. I'm not one for biographies normally but this is a top read.
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on 24 October 2013
Found this book a good read and very interesting. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a light read without anything heavy. Gives an insight into Tony Hancock but not a great deal about John Le Mesurier .
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on 21 February 2013
A touching and very frank story of dealing with two very different lovers who were themselves very close friends. Hancocks dark side is well documented elsewhere but this tells it from direct contact and personal involvement.
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on 16 April 2014
I wanted to read this to complete the picture, so to speak. I have long known of the intertwined lives of Joan, Hattie Jacques and Tony Hancock and having thoroughly enjoyed Tony's and Hattie's biographies I wanted to know the situation from Joan's perspective. I found Joan's writing style very easy to read and brutally honest but I felt an unexpected lack of sympathy for her. Whilst affairs of the heart are not always logical or sensible it was obvious Joan was totally in love with Tony and being myself of an age able to remember Hancock I can perhaps understand some of the reason why. My sympathies mainly lie with the unassuming and self effacing John le Mesurier, Joan's loyal and forgiving husband, Tony's friend and Hattie's ex husband. This was the eternal triangle and then some. I think perhaps John's autobiography might prove to be the most revealing of them all. I have yet to read that.
Recommended reading for anyone who enjoys real life stories and probably the older generation. I can't see much interest from younger people who don't remember that era.
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on 11 June 2015
Really good book.fascinating story about two tortured great legends.
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on 17 December 2015
I don't think I would have told this story.
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