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Just Me by Sheila Hancock

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 6 November 2008.

In Sheila Hancock’s second memoir she looks at her life moving on, after the death of her husband John Thaw. Both funny and sad this is a book about an experience so many will go through and associate with, learning to cope on your own. Whether you have similar experience or not this is a thoroughly enjoyable book looking back, looking forward and refusing to give up and become invisible. An honest and moving memoir.

If you like Sheila Hancock you might also like to read books by Joan Bakewell, Sue Gee and Eva Rice.


Just Me by Sheila Hancock

'Well now, prove it, Sheila. As John would say, "Put your money where your mouth is." Be a depressed widow boring the arse off everyone, or get on with life. Your choice. In The Two of Us Sheila Hancock relived her life with John Thaw - years packed with love and family, work and houses, delight and despair.

And then she looked ahead. What next? Gardening, grannying and grumbling, while they all had their pleasures, weren't going to fill the aching void that John had left. 'Live adventurously', a piece of Quaker advice, was hovering in her mind.

So, putting her and John's much-loved house in France on the market - too many memories - she embarked, instead, on a series of journeys. She tried holidaying alone, contending with invisibility and budget flights. She tried travelling in a group, but the questions she wanted to ask were never the ones the guide wanted to answer.

She tried relaxing - harder than you might think. Finally, heading out of her comfort zone, she found her travels and new discoveries led her back to her past: to consider her generation - the last to experience the Second World War - and the kind of person it made her.Just Me is a book about moving on, but it is also about looking back, and looking anew. Sheila, whether facing down burglars and easyJet staff (cross her at your peril) or making friends with waiters and taxi drivers, whether unearthing secrets in Budapest, getting arrested in Thailand, exulting in the art of Venice or mingling with the Mafia in Milan, is never less than stimulating company.

Honest - because if you can't say what you think at seventy-five, when can you? - insightful and wonderfully down-to-earth, she is a woman seizing the future with wit, gusto and curiosity - on her own.


'Heartbreakingly moving

wise, funny and deeply touching'
Daily Mail

'The thousands of people - many of them widows - will again find solace and comfort in what she has to tell them. But so will many others - those who warm to her gift for directly communicating the open-heartedness and spirit of adventure with which she confronts her life

It is the stuff of bestsellers'
Joan Bakewell, Guardian

'A bright, often witty account of a life moving forward. She tells her story with youthful vigour'

's Weekly 'Glorious'
Paul O


About the Author

Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock is one of Britain’s most highly regarded and popular actors, and received an OBE for services to drama in 1974 and a CBE in 2011. Since the 1950s she has enjoyed a career across film, television, theatre and radio. Her first big television role was in the BBC sitcom The Rag Trade in the early 1960s. She has directed and acted for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Her first book, Ramblings of an Actress, was published in 1987.

Following the death of her husband, John Thaw, Sheila Hancock wrote a memoir of their marriage, The Two of Us, which was a no. 1 bestseller and won the British Book Award for Author of the Year in 2004. Her memoir of her widowhood, Just Me, also a bestseller, was published in 2008. She lives in London and France.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th April 2009


Sheila Hancock

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


288 pages


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