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Publisher's Summary

Be it as Nicky Hutchinson in Our Friends In The North, Maurice in The A Word, or his reinvention of Doctor Who, one man, in life and death, has accompanied Christopher Eccleston every step of the way – his father Ronnie. In I Love The Bones Of You, Eccleston unveils a vivid portrait of a relationship that has shaped his entire career trajectory, mirroring and defining his own highs and lows, from stage and screen triumph to breakdown, anorexia, self-doubt, and a deep belief in the basic principles of access and equality denied to generations. The actor reveals how his background in Salford, and vision of a person, like millions, denied their true potential, shaped his desire to make drama forever entwined with the marginalised, the oppressed, and the outsider.

Movingly, and in scenes sadly familiar to increasing numbers, Eccleston also describes how the tightening grip of dementia on his father slowly blinded him to his son’s existence, forcing a new and final chapter in their connection, and how ‘Ronnie Ecc’ still walks alongside him today. Told with trademark honesty and openness, I Love The Bones Of You is a celebration of those on whom the spotlight so rarely shines, as told by a man who found his voice in its glare. A love letter to one man, and a paean to many.

©2019 Christopher Eccleston (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic Reviews

"My father was an “ordinary man”, which of course means he was extraordinary. I aim to capture him and his impact on my life and career." (Christopher Eccleston)

"A beautiful book." (Zoë Ball)

What listeners say about I Love the Bones of You

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Fascinating insights beyond the actor

it's funny when you know somebody as an actor - you somehow fall into the assumption that you know them, and know all about them.
That's what makes this book so intriguing: a look at how he grew up, his complicated relationship with his father, his experience of the British class system... so much beyond what can be known from watching his works.
Not being British myself, there were some references that went over my head. But most of it is universal.

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  • Robin Casey
  • 03-11-2019

A kinder view of a loved one

I love Chris Eccleston already, but I appreciate getting to hear him talk about some of the things that fashioned his world view and then some of the performances we've seen from him. During some of the times where he talks about the fragility of his mental health, I wish I could hug him like an old friend. It both comforted me and grieved me to hear someone I do respect and admire talk about how hard he's struggled, and I think I will watch his roles with a greater appreciation than before. There were times where I wish he'd taken a step back from the constant self deprecation, but it was something that honestly affected those experiences. I appreciated the way he talked about gender and gender roles, especially in the way that he acknowledged them as a product of their time, and how often he saw his parents either transcend them or personify them. I loved hearing him talk about how experiences with being The Doctor, and explaining it to his children. I love how he talks about his children, too. I loved getting this new perspective of him, and I think I will appreciate watching him more now that I see where he's come from to get there.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Elizaveta
  • 04-01-2020

A moving, honest story

It is always enlightening to read people’s histories - how they came to be what they are. Christopher Eccleston’s book is a sincere, honest self-analysis. It also tells a moving story about his family and their experience with Alzheimer’s. The fact that the book is read by the author himself adds to the emotional impact, because it feels like you are a friend who the author is confiding into. Definitely a must-listen - you will learn a lot about the inner life of one of the best actors out there, what informs his performances. Finally, as a person who speaks English as a second language and doesn’t know much about the British history and society, it was enlightening to learn so much about the life of the British working class (you might laugh, but I didn’t even know it existed, used to think of the UK as a classless paradise where quality education was available for everyone). It was also a very pleasant and useful experience to listen to a Northern accent, because the ESL learners are only taught the RP, which is only spoken by a fraction of people in the UK - so listening to something different was a nice practice!

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  • T. Stein
  • 11-12-2019

I laughed & I cried. Thank you Chris. You moved me

I came in to this as a fan of Christopher Eccleston the actor.
I come out of this as an admirer of Christopher Eccleston the man.

I've been a fan of Christopher Eccleston's work since Let Him Have It. It still sits with me after all these years. I became more of a fan after falling in love with Doctor Who.
Hearing him open up about his life and his struggles and his family and his views on life, relationships and what makes a person who they are, was incredibly moving. He's fiercely intelligent, has a strong sense of fairness and a world view very similar to mine, which includes disdain for societal class systems, unjust justice systems, bullies and those who punch down instead of up. It may come from having grown up working-class poor and the innate rejection of that "this is all you are" message thrust upon us. His definition of success is one I admire and agree with.

I noticed that later chapters had lots of editing in them, and some had passages that sounded almost slurred, which I attribute to his either being exhausted after a long day of narrating or due to the intimately personal material being emotionally draining.

I don't think our paths will ever cross professionally, although I would love to work with him. But if our paths ever cross in real life, even if it's at something like a Doctor Who convention, I would like to shake his hand and thank him for being the person he is. Quite honestly, I feel like I owe him a hug after this book.

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  • Sekova
  • 11-12-2019

Well worth your time.

Open and from the heart, very powerful and moving. A book I'll be referring to friends.

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  • Bob
  • 09-11-2019

All the words I heard in my head as I listened to a great voice of my generation

Poignant, honest, reverie, blustery, deep, intense, commentary, raw, open, wonderment, willingness, generational, grateful,
Thank you.

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  • David M. Lay
  • 08-11-2019

Wow

This book is a deep dive all about how Christopher see's not only himself, but the world. There are times he gets on his soap box and preaches but hey its his book and I paid my dime so I listened. Over all hear his love/fear of his dad, and even more fear of the realization that in end we are all just like our parents comes threw. I enjoyed this book immensely.

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  • D. M. Farmbrough
  • 14-09-2020

Soul-bearing, authentic, riveting!

I've read a lot of autobiographies and a lot of actor's autobiographies. But this is different. Eccleston's approach of telling his father's life story as well as his own is not unique. Many autobiographies start with a genealogy, some even have the father's life story told before the author's. But Eccleston approaches his account of his father's life in parallel to his own, comparing the two men throughout the book, wondering what his father would have made of his life if he'd had better opportunities or been brought up in later times. These parallels are expanded upon, bringing in Eccleston's grandfather and his son, so he can see himself as father and his father as a son. This is the state a lot of middle-aged men find themselves in, a parent ages, and needs to be cared for like a child, meanwhile the man has his own child to take care of. The inevitable death of the parent also brings with it the inheriting of the parent's childhood effects, school books, toys, and photographs, at a time when a ready comparison with one's own child can be made.

Eccleston uses his relationship with his father to highlight his father's dementia and his own mental health struggles, ranging from anorexia nervosa to depression and overindulgence in alcohol. He is, as far as the reader/listener can tell, very honest, and at times self-deprecating about his own failings. But he seems to have reached a point in his life where he has come to peace with his own qualities, good and bad, and can appreciate his own successes as well as his mistakes. It would have been easy for him to reel off a stream of successful films and television programmes, from Let Him Have It through Cracker, Our Friends In The North, Doctor Who, and The A-Word, all hits which the author's performance enhanced (notwithstanding his criticisms of some of his performances).

There is a little defensiveness about his perceived character as a chippy northerner, but Eccleston acquits himself well, proudly admitting that he is a 'fully paid-up member of the awkward squad'. His character comes through as someone of integrity, someone who cares about his work and its impact, and who cares about people. He does contribute a little political naivety, but also a steely commitment to do the right thing, for example in how he tackled the role of a bereaved parent in Hillsborough.

The author's own reading of his book greatly enhances the text, we know when he's being angry, when he's conciliatory, and when he's being matter-of-fact.

I have always enjoyed his performances, but came away from this book liking Christopher Eccleston more as a person, and respecting him more as an actor.

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  • Monica
  • 29-08-2020

Amazing

Thank you, Chris. My 13 yr old
Son is struggling with anorexia along with feelings of inadequacy/ self hate. I think your words gave voice to so many of the things he is feeling but can’t express. Your family story is absolutely “universal “ and deeply resonated with me. BTW, I was deeply moved by the film Jude in the 90s when I saw it. I have never forgotten that film. Also, you were my favorite character in Elizabeth. Never doubt your talent Chris. It may be hard for you to accept it, but everyone who watches you and listens is mesmerized. Blessings to you and your family.

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  • L. Nehring
  • 20-01-2020

wonderful exploration of devotion, life, & acting!

Eccleston pens/narrates heartfelt love for family, respect for craft, and challenges of mental health. Fantastic!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Suzanne R. Barner
  • 06-06-2021

This story resonated with me.

I don’t write reviews often, but this book really resonated with me. Apart from CE being my Doctor, and enjoying his voice, I was so often touched by his relationship with his father. The book made me chuckle, and brought a tear to my eye. CE’s unflinching descriptions of mental illness, his own and his father’s, was appreciated. I was primary caregiver for a younger sister with MS, and found myself nodding in agreement throughout the book. It’s not slick, it’s just good, honest recitation.

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  • Roger Boyle
  • 04-11-2019

Beautiful Poignant Biography

A beautiful story about Christopher Eccleston's father. His life , his family and his dementia.
Also an autobiography of the actor and an insight into working class life in the 1960's and 70's
Also a useful description about mental illness.
A great book

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jake lewis
  • 13-11-2019

outstanding

a passionate insight to a passionate man, the struggles he went through throughout his career have been immense

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  • Alison Collins
  • 06-11-2019

Thank you

Thank you Christopher for sharing your story in such an honest way. My Dad has Alzheimer’s and so much of what you talk about resonates with me and my Dad.
I am sorry that your Dad and your family had to go through all that but here we are , my family going on this journey. It is somehow comforting to hear that we are not alone. From standing at the window waiting for mum to come back when she was out to the calming effects of music, the anxiety and sheer bewildered look on his face. His eyes say it all.

I have received great comfort in a weird way from listening to it. We are looking for a care home at this time. But we will be strong.

Sharing your struggles especially about Anorexia was also very enlightening as I have found this illness hard to understand.

An excellent listen.

Thank you for sharing.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Liam_H
  • 01-12-2019

Northern. Working Class

Wonderful listen. Funny and bleak. A little different from the usual autobiography. Essentially a letter to his dad and their complex relationship.

8 people found this helpful

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  • P. M. Thomas
  • 26-12-2019

Ordinary but extra life

In many respects the ordinariness of the early life Chris talks about is remembered perfectly and vividly on the page such that I thought yes that was me and my dad and me and my mam too. Thank you for helping me draw these beautiful pictures of my youth in my head and realising that I too am my dad and so much a better person for it.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-11-2019

Brilliant, so unexpected yet captivating.

One of my favourite actors and this book is not your usual autobiography. Written from his family's, mostly his father's perspective and intertwined with his own account of real struggle. Don't want to give anything away, but listen to this, I couldn't stop. Great book. Laura

5 people found this helpful

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  • Beth
  • 10-12-2019

Incredible

You cannot listen to this book without recognising, the deep seated love pouring from it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-11-2019

Inside Mr Ecclestone

Never morose, deeply brave sharing of Christopher Ecclestone's personal experiences of mental health, political perspectives and his relationship with his father. Inspiirational and a fantastic legacy for his own children. Highly recommended

4 people found this helpful

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  • sandy
  • 28-11-2019

Touching and sensitive read

Not always an easy listen, but a touching and thought provoking read. It tackles difficult subjects. Christopher’s account of his experience of mental ill health is raw and gripping as it is for those who experience such challenges. Equally the account of dementia was moving and real , not sugar coated . A beautiful and authentic tale.

3 people found this helpful

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  • colette whittaker
  • 16-12-2019

Honest and humble!!

Great honest account of a working class upbringing and relationship with his father and family. Great listening!!

2 people found this helpful

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