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The Surprise of My Life : An Autobiography

Claire Drainie Taylor

Wilfrid Laurier University Press

“It’s an autobiography! If I tell you what’s in it you won’t read the book.” — Claire Drainie Taylor Or would you? Maybe you’d be intrigued by the progression of a life begun as an unexceptional little girl born to a middle-class Jewish Canadian couple in a small prairie town who, at age sixteen, married a refined Englishman, and survived the Great Depression, partly alone in a shack in the woods of Vancouver Island. Or how, only a few months after returning to Vancouver, with no training and minimal education, this same young woman walked on stage at one of Canada’s finest old theatres, and went on to a successful thirty-year career as an actress and radio dialogue writer. Having been compelled by her family to write her memoir, it wasn’t until she’d finished and reread her manuscript that Claire Drainie Taylor realized what an extraordinary life she’d led. Her descriptions of the many fascinating incidents that make up her story, and how she dealt with them, revealed herself to herself in a way that illuminates what she calls “The Surprise of My Life.”

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