Books & Literature

Book Review: Madly, Deeply; The Alan Rickman Diaries, edited by Alan Taylor

DIARY: ALAN RICKMAN was one of the world-class actors of his generation, as well as a tireless political activist, an avid traveller and a devoted confidant and friend. Through his never-before-seen diaries – a 25-year passion project – Rickman invites readers backstage and into his life.

Interesting read, but not quite what I was expecting.

Feature image credit: Canongate

The late actor Alan Rickman is probably best known for the role of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. I was a big fan of his work before this and was delighted to be able to review his diaries in Madly, Deeply, edited by Alan Taylor. I had expected something along similar lines to Alan Bennett’s diaries, which not only provided insight into his day-to-day activities but also featured reflections on his early life and family.

I was disappointed to discover that most of the entries consist of a record of daily activities with little or no context or explanation. Of course, it may well be that Rickman wrote his diaries in that particular style, recording appointments and events almost as an aide memoire. However, the appendix of early diary entries included suggests otherwise, in which case I would have appreciated some linking narratives from the editor as other than my interest in Rickman himself, there is no thread pulling me forward, aside from curiosity and the need to finish reading the book.

Taylor notes in the introduction that from 1992, Rickman’s style of diary writing changed from small pocket diaries to a more expansive page-a-day notebook which included colourful sketches and doodles. Given the book runs to slightly over 450 pages, it seems to me there would have been plenty of opportunity/space to include many more of the memorable or significant of these drawings. Sadly, all we get are three pages of these reproduced in the centre of the book plus on the end pages of the book. Following these reproductions are a mere five pages of photographs of the actor in various roles and with his partner Rima Horton.

The brief afterwards from Rima is very moving. They had been a couple since meeting in 1965 when Rickman was 19 and had been together 47 years, but only married after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. As there are no reliable tests for this insidious disease, despite aggressive chemotherapy, it was a brief six months before his death. He is sadly missed.

What I wanted, and expected, from this book was to learn more about Alan Rickman, the man and the actor through his own words and work. This is not what Alan Taylor’s work gives the reader – yes, the words are Rickman’s but with no overarching structure to the diary entries, other than chronology, little insight or new knowledge is presented.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Canongate
Released: November 2022
RRP: $49.99

More News

To Top