‘A Pocketful of Happiness’ by Richard E Grant

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

Swaziland-born actor Richard E. Grant has been a firm favourite with cinemagoers since his debut in Withnail and I in 1987. When his wife Joan was diagnosed with cancer, he was faced with a challenge that would end in her death in 2021.

I’ve long been a fan of Richard E Grant and thoroughly enjoyed The Wah Wah Diaries – his account of the making of his directorial debut, Wah Wah – a few years ago. This book, while similarly packed with hilarious and challenging situations, is, as you’d expect, a far more emotional ride. Having always loved the actor’s voice, I plumped for the audio version of A Pocketful of Happiness, knowing he would bring it to life with his usual panache and charm. Charting the decline of Richard’s wife, Joan Washington, the book is at times hard to listen to, and though peppered with amusing stories from his movie career and his hilarious fan-worship of Barbra Streisand, I often found myself in tears as I listened to the day to day rounds of hospital visits, scans, diagnoses and good or bad news, as well as the earnest encounters with friends who stayed in touch (and those who didn’t), amid the endless trauma of knowing how it would end.

A thoughtful and incredibly moving book.

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