Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

20book Agatha Christie an AutobiographyA very enjoyable book. Evidently coming from a different time and a different place, Agatha Christie knows, however, how to put her very interesting life on page and keep you hooked. She did not have an ordinary life. Not a charmed one for sure (she lived through both world wars and her first husband left her for another woman) but an exceptional life in many ways.

Agatha Christie appears as somewhat of an outdated, shallow figure. She does not waste a lot of time talking about her writing but mentions multiple times that she took a long time before she thought of it as a career and of herself as a writer. “Married woman” would be the occupation she declared on official papers for the longest time. She was not one of those tormented creators, whose flame burns day and night for their work. She wrote because it made money and because she was good at it. And in the end she was not particularly proud of many of her books. It appears to me as if she didn’t find writing as something to be particularly proud of. Or she was of unbelievable modesty. Or both.

I do have great admiration for Agatha Christie because she was so successful as a writer, which very few women managed at that time. I also admire the fact that she wrote (most of her work) under her own name. Isn’t that admirable for a woman writer? Of any time? But she did come from a place of extreme privilege, which I cannot identify with or understand much. I must confessed that I felt judgmental of her ways many times throughout the book. I don’t know what were the upperclass standards of living in that day (or today, for that matter) but she had a child whom she left behind numerous times, for long periods, from an young age, so she could travel the world. It was something that she clearly did without giving it a second thought: it was not something she worried about for a second. At least that’s what it looks like. The child grew up with nurses and was cared for by Agatha Christie’s sister when Agatha was away on travels.

She was quite a fearless woman, though. I will give her that. And as a writer, she will always have my admiration. And I consider it a privilege to be able to read now the autobiography that she wrote toward the end of her life.