Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman


Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Recent Historical, Memoir
Rating 5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Madly, Deeplyis a rare invitation into the mind of Alan Rickman―one of the most magnetic, beloved performers of our time.

From his breakout role in Die Hard to his outstanding, multifaceted performances in the Harry Potter films, Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and more, Alan Rickman cemented his legacy as a world-class actor. His air of dignity, his sonorous voice, and the knowing wit he brought to each role continue to captivate audiences today.

But Rickman’s ability to breathe life into projects wasn’t confined to just his performances. As you’ll find, Rickman’s diaries detail the extraordinary and the ordinary, flitting between worldly and witty and gossipy, while remaining utterly candid throughout. He takes us inside his home, on trips with friends across the globe, and on the sets of films and plays ranging from Sense and Sensibility, to Noël Coward’s Private Lives, to the final film he directed, A Little Chaos.

Running from 1993 to his death in 2016, the diaries provide singular insight into Rickman’s public and private life. Reading them is like listening to Rickman chatting to a close companion. Meet Rickman the consummate professional actor, but also the friend, the traveler, the fan, the director, the enthusiast; in short, the man beyond the icon.

Madly, Deeply features a photo insert, a foreword by Emma Thompson, and an afterword by Rima Horton.

A fascinating man in an everyday setting.

I love reading the diaries of famous people. Not because I want to learn something salacious. No, it’s because I want to see the person as a person–not the image on a screen. This book does that. Granted, its Rickman’s diaries and I have no doubt he ever expected them to be made public. That’s kind of what made them fantastic and magical to me. It’s just him. Just his thoughts, his boringness, his sometimes snarly comments…it’s just him. It’s what he does day-to-day. To some, this will not be an explosive read, but a boring one. He goes to fittings, struggles with depression and not feeling well. He talks about friendships and some might think name drops, but how can one name drop when they’re talking about being with the people they work with?

The most touching part of the book wasn’t even his writing, to be honest. This was a full four star read throughout, but what really tipped it over the edge for me was the afterward by his partner, Rima Horton. She writes about his last days, the decline when the cancer was too great, how he planned his own funeral and insisted on having “Uptown Funk” played that day. It made me love this actor even more. I’d already been a fan, but seeing the human side, really helped.

If you want to learn great new stories about Alan Rickman from his own hand, then this might be the book you’re looking for. I recommend it heartily.

Me by Elton John


Me by Elton John
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from his rollercoaster lifestyle as shown in the film Rocketman, to becoming a living legend.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation to conquering Broadway with Aida, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot the Musical. All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.
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In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. In a voice that is warm, humble, and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you by a living legend.

Tantrums and Tiaras had nothing on this book.

I went into this book knowing I loved Elton John’s music. I assumed I’d like him as a person, too. He’s complicated and can be a bit of a pain in the behind, but I wouldn’t expect him any other way. His writing is honest and flows well. Plus, he’s candid. He doesn’t pull punches. He talks about his relationship with his mother, his father–both ridiculously complicated–and his love life. Then there’s his music.

In the grand scheme of things, he rather glosses over the music. It’s almost like it’s there, but it’s not the focus. I kind of liked that because he talks more about himself than the songs. But if you’re looking for his insights on his music, then this might not be the right book.

I loved how he described his feelings about David, his husband, and how he fell in love and opted to have kids. It’s sweet, complicated and worth the read. There are the kiss and tell moments, but this is more than that. It’s his honest recollection of his life–full of dents, holes, wrong turns and love.

If you want an autobiography that doesn’t come off preach and will keep your interest, then this is the book to try. Elton John fans, check it out!