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Publisher's Summary

‘Seeing Mum lying in a hospital bed, in what would be the last few days of her life, it was hard to marry her with the mother I had known. She allowed me to help her in a way that she would have normally rebuffed. She was not the mother who had constantly battled with her own emotions, and with her inability to express them without anger, fear or regret. To say that throughout my life we hadn’t always seen eye to eye might be something of an understatement....’

In this intimate and entertaining autobiography, Sue Johnston recounts her working-class Liverpudlian childhood with her close-knit family; her teenage years in the sixties, where she worked for Brian Epstein and was friends with the Beatles; and her acting success over the last three decades. But it is in her relationship to her mother that Sue has measured her life. They were close when Sue was a child, but when she moved to London to pursue her acting career her mother declared 'my life is over’. From then on, Sue and her dad had to choose what they would or wouldn’t report back to Mum.

Today, after nursing her mother in her final months, and with her own son recently married, Sue has been compelled to revisit her life and assess just what it was that she couldn’t tell her mother – and to ask herself why.

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

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a Dame!

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TheFribbler
  • 09-22-11

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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 04-12-12

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 .

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Judy T
  • 06-01-12

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Stevie
  • 12-30-15

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
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  • Susie S
  • 08-19-12

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • p
  • 06-24-12

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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  • Sarah Will-Mac
  • 03-26-21

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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  • shopper
  • 03-07-21

brilliant

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 01-30-21

loved it

warm, funny, moving- a delight to listen to. really enjoyed the book and would recommend.

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  • Jenny Cutler
  • 02-26-20

A very interesting account of a great life.

Sue Johnston is a lovely person and has a lovely voice, what better use than to tell her own story with it. A dream for anyone.