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Summary

Sue Johnston always seemed to be disappointing her mother. As a girl she never stayed clean and tidy like her cousins. As she grew older, she spent all her piano lesson money on drinks for her mates down the pub, and when she discovered the Cavern she was never at home. The final straw was when Sue left her steady job at a St Helens factory to try her hand at that unsteadiest of jobs: acting.

Yet when Sue was bringing up her own child alone, her mother was always there to help. And playing her much-loved characters Sheila Grant and Barbara Royle – although her mum wouldn’t say she was proud as such, she certainly seemed to approve. And in her mother’s final months, it was Sue she needed by her side.

The relationship with your mother is perhaps the most precious and fraught of any woman’s life. When she began writing, Sue set out to record ‘all the big things, and all the small things. Everything I wanted to tell my mother but felt I never could’. The result is a warm, poignant and often very funny memoir by one of Britain’s favourite actresses.

©2011 Sue Johnston (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

What listeners say about Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Honest and Entertaining

I heard Sue in various interviews discussing her book and I was not disappointed by it. (Unlike Ricky Tomlinson's) Her style is just as she is and her tales are warm and well told.
I would thoroughly recommend this book.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic autobiography

I am a huge fan of Sue Johnston and she is an exceptional actress who has been in many of my favourite television and film dramas. This autobiography is sensitively written, moving and honest; Sue clearly had the same insecurities and tensions in family relationships that we all have. I cannot recommend this highly enough - I listened to it twice in a row in my car on the way to work .

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My best walking partner

I was given an MP3 player and my first Audible credit as a birthday present over a year ago, with a view to enhancing my daily (well - fortnightly) walks to attain more fitness. I have to say that as I walk up and down the steep hills of Hastings (much more frequently now), this honest, warm, and most down to earth account of Sue Johnston's life has given me wings. I literally haven't been aware of whether I'm climbing a hill or not - it's a wonderful listen. I liked Sue Johnston's appearances in The Royle Family and Waking the Dead before this download, but having been given insights into many facets of her life and of her personality, I feel the greatest respect and warmth towards her. It doesn't ooze sentiment in any way, as it's understated and narrated by the author with gentle, self-effacing humour. Those who remember Brookside will be fascinated by the accounts of her time there, with Ricky Tomlinson as her screen husband - I never watched Brookside but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of that area of her life story.
During her life, Sue Johnston has become friends with many famous people including The Beatles, as she grew up in Liverpool and frequented the Cavern.These and many other celebrities are included in the narrative only because they are part of the author's story and who she is today - it doesn't become tiresome as when names are 'dropped' in other people's less powerful autobiographies. I bought this also as a paperback for my mother - who unfortunately doesn't have the technology to download the audiobook - and although she had to miss out on the excellent reading by the author, she loved it and was hooked by the first page. This is one story that has uplifted and warmed me and one that , rarely for me, I look forward to revisiting.

7 people found this helpful

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A bit too much of the sad dilutes the happy.

What could Sue Johnston have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It's rather difficult being constructively critical of an autobiography, you can hardly hope the author had had a different life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Maybe it is because I have had similar experiences with aging parents prior to their death, but this story does seem to labour the moribund aspects of coping with a dementia sufferer; bring back sad memories and tears running down my face. Not for Sue, but for the healing emotional wounds she has reopened.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

My first Audio Book

This was the first Audio book I have listened to. It It was great to have Sue chatting to me while I caught up on my ironing and did some 'sifting and sorting out stuff' for several weekends! Her style is very natural, honest and down to earth. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad and sometimes joyful - this audio story kept my mind completely occupied while I got on with mundane tasks! I enjoyed it very much.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 24-06-12

lovely lady

i loved this book as i have always like Sue and was intrested in her this book didnt let me down such i nice read .

2 people found this helpful

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Heart warming and funny

I couldn't stop listening to this book so lovely and funny at times I will definitely be buys this book for my family members to read

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A Beautiful Autobiography

Sue Johnston, A lifetime of love laughter Happiness and loss which we can all relate to in our own ways. What a credit to Sue this is. Beautifully read from start to Finish.

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Brilliant insight into a wonderful and interesting life

I knew Sue Johnstone from Waking the Dead but to hear about everything else she was in and about her personal life was really captivating. Would highly recommend even if you’re not familiar with Sue or her work. Have some hankies at the ready though.

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brilliant

warm, funny and completely well written and read. I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Jennifer Grant
  • 14-01-19

What a Dame!

Incredible actor and humanitarian! extra bonus getting to hear Sue's story in her own voice. highly recommend