Growing up in Essex, the youngest of seven children, Liz Jones was always eccentric. She was convinced her mother would die at any moment, and that her family home was haunted. She would buy paperbacks from jumble sales, change the titles and re-write the endings. She became anorexic, aged eleven, after her sister told her how many calories there were in marmalade on toast. Her mother couldn't communicate - she never worked, never had her own bank account and was always off having her neck stretched at hospital, suffering terribly as she did from arthritis. Aged eight, Liz vowed she would never have children or do housework.
But this isn't a misery memoir. With deftness and humour, Liz romps through the stories of her past: from the childhood that shaped her and the teenage years of unrequited love and dodgy fashion choices, to moving to London, being told she wasn't thin enough to be a model and being turned down by every fashion magazine going. She describes her brief, doomed time as a sub-editor on the Evening Standard before finally landing a job on the Sunday Times magazine, having braved the pickets and worked through the printer's strike. It was a world of excess: people drank, a lot. After a staff member jumped out of a window during a Christmas party, alcohol was banned from the office. Then came her big role as editor of Marie Claire and her eventual sacking over her anti-skinny models campaign.
This book charts three decades of working at the forefront of magazine and newspaper industries. It is also an incredibly moving tale of how our childhoods really define who we are.
Liz Jones is the Fashion Editor of the Daily Mail, a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, and the former editor of Marie Claire. She was named Columnist of the Year 2012 by the British Society of Magazine Editors and has three million dedicated readers.
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