Lumley, Joanna. No Room for Secrets

Joanna Lumley

No Room for Secrets is a wonderful autobiography of Joanna Lumley, one of the most beautiful people from within and without which is very rare to find these days.

She has a wonderful rich heritage born in exotic India in one of the most beautiful places on Gods Earth near Kashmir. She has travelled to far-flung locations around the world, met some of the nicest and most prominent figures of the 20th Century. She has undertaken great charity work, and has even received recognition from the Queen. I suspect the future holds even more success for her including The Fellowship. The only other person I know who had nearly as much experience was Princess Diana.

I have to confess I know nothing of Joanna's TV career; I have not had a TV for the last 15 years. I vaguely remember seeing Sapphire & Steel, which my sister watched. We had an old flickering monochrome television set where the valves would overheat after half an hour; hence, you never saw the ending!

I read this book because of her excellent campaign supporting The Gurkhas, and was very impressed with her dedication to help them. In all my time whilst growing up in UK, I have never known anyone to fight so passionately for people of colour... Therefore, I was fascinated and felt compelled to read her autobiography. I am glad I did because I learnt that Joanna is an exceptional human being and far different from the average run-of-the-mill types I often come across.

This book reads very well, the narrative is clear, and right from the first page she captures your imagination when she describes the place where she was born (p. 3). The narrative conveys her style of speech and voice, which is a bonus for the reader because she has that wonderful clear accent.

In this book, she mentions that her father James Lumley studied at Sandhurst in England and then joined the Gurkha regiment. Her father was born in Lahore, which at that time was the capital of Punjab, India. Her mother, Beatrice, had also travelled to all the exotic places in Asia such as Sikim, Bhutan, and Tibet. As I read this book, it certainly occurred to me that she comes from a very well travelled and therefore a highly educated family, which is also rare to find these days.

The format of this book is based on the idea that to really know a person you need to see how they live. I like that, because it is a unique way of writing an autobiography and it works very well. Therefore, each chapter starts with a tour describing a different room in her house. I have to say that she has a wonderful home and very good taste. I particularly liked the description of the Drawing Room. I love the idea of three walls full of books and a piano.

I play the guitar myself but if I had a piano, I could probably figure it out in a few weeks with some help from my old pal Ludovico Einaudi. I will be playing Le Onde in little time.

If you want to get to know me then this is how I live: I am writing this website from a very cold leaky damp old shed in my garden. So welcome to my shed. If you wish to understand Dickensian poverty then you are in the right place... It is all courtesy of Google Adsense! I thank them every day. :-) In my world, there is no television, no radio, and no telephone. This is just how I like it.

An autobiography in a question and answer format is unique and seems to work very well. By answering questions on specific topics, the narrative remains focused. The questions also help to expand on interesting topics. It is much better than reading a large volume of text where the author rambles on without a clear direction.

In this book, she makes some interesting points regarding education, and useless paper qualifications (p. 11). I know exactly what that is like. It is certainly worth considering, with the current situation where young people end up in debt for the rest of their lives to gain paper qualifications, for which there are no jobs. What did she say? You will just have to buy the book to find out. :-)

This autobiography is very much worth reading. The reader will gain a lot of knowledge about this very exceptional person, and will end up liking her more as I did.

Highly Recommended

Joanna Lumley - Autobiography

[Braille Monitors] The back cover reads "I may have been in your life for many years, as a vaguely remembered name, or as a shadow on a flickering television screen in the background: or this may be the first time we have met. In any case, I have been in your home - but through an appalling oversight, I have never invited you into my house until now. You cannot say you really know someone until you have seen where and how he or she lives. My house is my home, where all my life is assembled: all thoughts and memories from my earliest days up to this very moment are here, and this book will be a tour of... well, to be frank, me."


TitleNo Room for Secrets
AuthorJoanna Lumley
InterviewerMichael Joseph
PublisherPenguin Group
ISBN Number0 718 14682 4
First Printed2004
Copyright HolderJoanna Lumley
Last PageNumber 264
CoverHardback with glossy dust jacket
Cover Price£17.99
PrintersClays Ltd
Cover DesignsHarry Borden
AvailabilityAmazon and all good online bookstores