When Tory MP’s wife Sasha Swire published her tell-all diary, it sent shockwaves through her inner circle. Here, we look at six more tell-all memoirs. Some dish the dirt, some are nostalgic, and some are painfully poignant.

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

Anne Glenconner
Lady In Waiting - My Extraordinary Life In The Shadow Of The Crown

This is the candid, often startling, frequently hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking memoir of Lady Glenconner, who served as lady-in-waiting to her childhood friend, Princess Margaret. The book opens with Helen Bonham Carter meeting Lady Glenconner for tea to discuss Princess Margaret and her upcoming role in The Crown. She goes on to write poignantly about her own family life, her suffering and her sons’ tragedies. It’s not all gloom. She writes, with great wit, about aristocratic eccentricities and the stiff upper lip.

You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

Julia Phillips
Youll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again - Julia Phillips

Drugs, sex and studio moguls. If you want the inside dirt on the movie industry in the seventies, eighties and nineties, this is the memoir for you. Hollywood producer Julia Phillips was the first female movie producer to win an Oscar for best picture. In her book, she wrote (in excruciating detail) about the unforgivably chauvinistic nature of Hollywood. Famously, she did not hold back from naming names.


Michelle Obama
Becoming By Michelle Obama

The beautifully written memoir of former first lady Michelle Obama is neither full of hot gossip nor is it a controversial political exposé. However, it does explore her views on race, class, motherhood and gender while offering a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight at the White House. She writes, with unerring honesty, about marriage counselling, carpool karaoke and raising her daughters under the unforgiving media glare.

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

Adam Kay
This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay

You don’t have to be in the public eye to pen a bestselling memoir. This insightful and endearing journal tells all about daily life as an overworked, highly stressed medic. Narrated with cheeky humour and a good turn of phrase, Kay writes about the NHS, the good and the grim, and his own family and romantic relationships. The book wavers between laugh-out-loud uplifting moments and tear-wiping reflections on life, grief and death.

The Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher
The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

Brutally honest, this book recounts the story of teenage Fisher’s secret three-month-long affair with Harrison Ford, who was then married with two children. ‘An unflinching, sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious look inside the mind of a 19-year-old…’ wrote LA Times. ‘It’s invasive, juicy, sad, nostalgic and gripping all at once. It’s as if you’ve knocked the lock off of your cooler sister’s journal and discovered she’s been sleeping with the hottest boy in school this whole time.’

Can You Hear Me? A Paramedic’s Encounters with Life and Death

Jake Jones
Can You Hear Me - An NHS Paramedic

Jake Jones is the pseudonym of an NHS paramedic who has worked on the frontline of the ambulance service for over a decade. His heart-breaking memoir is filled with sobering scenes, such as the blood-soaked man who attempts to flee from the ambulance or the hoarder who won’t move things to help his sick father. Or there’s the drug addicts who deliberately urinate on the floor when Jake won’t give them their ‘fix’. Such daily encounters with life and death are examined in this gritty heroic memoir. A sobering read.

By Annabel Jack
October 2020


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