My Review (5 stars out of 5)
Alan Rickman shot to fame as villainous Hans Gruber in Die Hard, back in 1988. Up until then he’d done a lot of theatre, mostly in the UK. His diaries run from 1993 until his death in 2016 and offer insight into the actor’s public and private lives, the people and friends he knew and loved, as well as those he didn’t.
Some diaries are easy to read, and some aren’t. This is one that isn’t, mainly due to it being written very much as a diary, rather than notes intended for an autobiography. I chose the audiobook for this very reason and hearing the words rather than reading them does make a big difference. With a foreword by Emma Thompson and a short piece by his wife Rima Horton, most of the book is taken up with Alan’s diaries from 1993 onwards, with footnotes explaining who certain people are, which play or movie he’s referring to, etc. There is also a selection of earlier diaries from 1974 before he got into television and movies.
Though some entries are little more than ‘met so-and-so for dinner, watched TV, went to bed…’ many reveal his thoughts and concerns about his work, his criticisms/admiration of particular movies, directors and actors, as well as many entertaining stories of the people he spent his life with. Towards the end of the book, rather poignantly, many entries concern friends and acquaintances who have died, noting his memories of when he first met or worked with them, or how they were the last time he saw them.
A thoughtful and insightful book for anyone who, like me, would have been delighted simply to be in the same room as the man.
Hi Colin, I rarely watch movies but I do know Alan Rickman and have seen him perform. I would not read a book like this but I do appreciate your interest and review of it.
Thanks, Robbie 😉
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I really appreciated his work. I had no idea about this, because I live under a rock. Thank you for the review, the fact that it reads as a diary makes it sound more interesting to me, but I am nosy and lame.
Aren’t we all? ;-). Yes, his thoughts on acting and acting techniques are very interesting – he’s much more critical than I’d have expected, but that’s probably cos he was so damn good.