3 Stars Reviews

Review: Smile Please – An Unfinished Autobiography by Jean Rhys

Goodreads summary: Jean Rhys’ unfinished posthumous autobiography. From the early days on Dominica to the bleak time in England, living in bedsits on gin and little else, to Paris with her first husband, this is a lasting memorial to a unique artist.

I’ve read a lot of Jean Rhys’ work but knew very little about her. She, unfortunately, died before she could complete this autobiography, so it doesn’t give much information about her life as a writer, but her recollections from her childhood in Dominica were fascinating. One of my favourite books of hers is Wide Sargasso Sea which, as far as I’m aware, is the only one of her books which takes place in Dominica, and I really loved that setting so I was glad to return to it in Rhys’ autobiography. She goes on to talk about her life in England, particularly how miserable she found it, and her time in Paris spent with her first husband. The whole book provides another layer of context for her fiction work, which has always been seen as very autobiographical and made me want to reread her other books all over again. 

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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