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A funny, evocative and profoundly moving autobiography by one of our best-loved actresses

'There was a lot that we kept from my mother. My dad would say to me as a teenager "Don't tell your mother." We couldn't face the disapproval.'

Sue Johnston always seemed to be disappointing her mother. As a girl she never stayed clean and tidy like her cousins. As she grew older, she spent all her piano lesson money on drinks for her mates down the pub, and when she discovered The Cavern she was never at home. The final straw was when Sue left her steady job at a St Helen's factory to try her hand at that unsteadiest of jobs: acting.

Yet when Sue was bringing up her own child alone, her mother was always there to help. And playing her much-loved characters Sheila Grant in Waking the Dead and Barbara in The Royle Family- although her mum wouldn't say she was proud as such, she certainly seemed to approve. And in her mother's final months, it was Sue she needed by her side.

The relationship with your mother is perhaps the most precious and fraught of any woman's life. When she began writing, Sue set out to record 'all the big things, and all the small things. Everything I wanted to tell my mother but felt I never could'. The result is a warm, poignant and often very funny memoir by one of Britain's favourite actresses.


Searingly honest

Daily Mail

Candid, affectionate ... Johnston's unadorned prose style, blending tender personal recollection with just enough showbiz gossip to season the narrative, is like listening to her chatting to you over a cup of tea - ****

Michael Simkins, Mail on Sunday

Warm, fascinating but brutally honest memoir


She lays bare the complicated and often difficult relationship she had with her mother with humour, warmth and honesty. Wonderful reading for mothers and daughters alike


Racily readable, humorous autobiography

Saga magazine

A book about love - ****

Sunday Express

This is a heart warming, unpretentious, beautifully written account of the relationship between two women ... Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother is a delightful, unselfishly composed read that goes just that bit deeper than most memoirs written ... a pleasure from start to finish

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    March 15, 2012

    Ebury Press

    368 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • EBook


    September 15, 2011

    Ebury Digital

    368 pages

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