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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2008
This is a marvellous book, chronicling one year of PD James' life while looking back to her younger days and recounting many interesting stories. Early on, she explains her wariness of autobiographical writing, and it's clear that this has a strong effect on the contents of the book - she is reserved about certain highly personal events, and fairly so, honest in her self-assessment, and generous and discreet about friends and colleagues. This is a considered collection of thoughts expertly drawn together. Her year is a remarkable one, seeing the publication of a new novel, and the insight into the publicity process surrounding that is fascinating. Her views on religion, literature, television, politics and health care are thought provoking, well reasoned and firmly held. A delight to read.
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on 12 August 2000
Reading this thoughtful, immensely readable book, appropriately subtitled "a fragment of autobiography", is like a personal invitation to a friendly, but never cozy, English cream tea prepared specially by the author. One comes away captivated by her honesty, humility, intelligence and wit, touched by her courage and fortitude in the face of troubles and sorrows, cheered by her masterful writing, grateful for her keen discretion in choosing to exclude the more sensitive areas of her personal life (an uncommon but wise option in this "confessional" age), and finally, satisfied but never satiated by the delicious repast. Thanks for the memories, P.D. James!
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on 2 April 2010
An interesting form of autobiography and interesting mainly by virtue of its autobiographical content. The first half is more interesting and impressive because it has more autobiographical data in it. The second half is tiresome because of the all too frequent accounts of meetings or lectures at august occasions at which the author is the centre of attention and honour. A remarkable woman, who surely deserves her peerage, but it would have been better to present her memoir in straightforward autobiographical mode.
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on 14 May 2016
So far extremely interesting and I enjoy the way P.D. James has incorporated a diary of her activities with comments on the differences between life when she was a child with current attitudes and values. Her observations on religion and education are particularly fascinating as her comments on the events surrounding the death of Princess Diana which were in accordance with how I felt at the time. As expected from a writer of her capabilities and expertise, the language is rich and expressive and my vocabulary has been expanded considerably. A really interesting and stimulating read.
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on 20 September 2013
On her 77th birthday, P.D. James decided to write a diary for one year. The diary containts not only descriptions of her personal life. Through her comments, the reader learns much about P.D. James' personal views on events, issues and topics regarding both the past and the year during which this diary was written. The comments show wonderful observation skills and read more like a novel. Captivating!
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on 27 April 2014
I give this book a five star rating because I thoroughly enjoyed reading about one of my favourite authors. Considering this book came out in 1999, there is still so much to be recorded. The successes of her four more Dalgliesh novels, the publication of Talking About Detective Fiction, and the arrival of Death Comes to Pemberley. This is an exceptional insight to the life of Britain's leading crime writer. Through simple things we see her life. Her recollections are often charming and at some times heart wrenching. But her insight to her works is also brilliantly drawn. P. D. James is my favourite crime novelist, and her autobiography is beautifully written, her ideas are extraordinary, her humour and wit is brilliant. For someone who believes all fiction is autobiographical and all autobiography is fiction, she certainly keeps her memories well. I like how she wanted certain personal things private because in the end they are hers to keep private. I highly recommend A Time to be in Earnest to all P. D. James fans and those who like autobiographical works.
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on 12 December 2013
I really loved this book. In the guise of a year's diary - from one birthday to the next -P. D. James writes about her life, past and present, providing an insight into her unique life. I also enjoyed the Appendix on Austen's 'Emma', considered from a sleuthing point of view!
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on 12 October 2015
Boring. Very disappointing as I admire work of PD James. Only so much of the boring trivia of other people's lives one can take. Fans of her fiction should just stick to her fiction books.
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on 24 November 2013
Quite boring really. I love her detective books, and I suppose I expected something a bit more interesting. Probably one to delete when I eventually finish reading it.
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on 18 December 2014
Not as absorbing as I thought it might have been, but she kept her silence about her own difficulties.
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