My Animals and Other Family — Clare Balding

As soon as Henley Literary Festival sent an email saying they had managed to pin down Clare Balding to speak for an hour I snapped up four tickets.   Had no idea if we were free that afternoon or who would come with us but knew I had to have tickets.

The same with Clare’s book.   As soon as it came out I knew I wanted to read it, and I didn’t bother with any reviews, they were irrelevant, I just wanted to read it.

And read it I did.

And actually ALL the reviews have been fabulous and the book has been number 1 on the bestseller list for two weeks.

In virtually two sittings.   It is a gloriously easy read telling the story of Clare’s arrival in the world through her life in chapters related to animals that have been significant.   Clare’s humour comes through and even the more serious bits such as Clare’s father telling Her Majesty “it might take a while to get used to our country being run by a woman” after Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister are brilliantly written.   I was a bit scared by tales of Clare’s granny though, she sounds like a formidable lady!

I read the book ahead of seeing Clare on Sunday and then sent this cheeky tweet:



And boy did Clare throw it open to me, asking where I was before she even started.  I was mortified when Clare then explained to the audience about the tweet and that I had spent the morning in a ditch.

Hearing Clare read from this book was a real treat.   You might not be able to organise that as it sounds like Clare isn’t in the same county for more than an afternoon but if you read this book you will be able to imagine her reading it out loud.  Recounting all the important events in her life.

It’s brilliant and will make you want to go out and buy a racehorse for her brother to train, just on the off chance that when you pop into the stables Clare and Alice are visiting.



Out now, published by Penguin, RRP £20.


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  • Thoroughly enjoying this, in my head I can hear Clare reading it. I loved the story about the sausage flying down the table towards HM. Sausage and marmalade sounds like the sort of thing I would try, love Cheese with fruit cake.