Sarah Beaudoin's Reviews > The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy

The King's Speech by Mark Logue
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's review
Jan 09, 2011

it was amazing
Read from January 04 to 09, 2011

I am not sure which came first, the movie or the book (even the author's introduction is ambivalent on this point) but each version of The King's Speech tell a slightly different version of the same great story. King George VI had a terrible speech impediment and after no success with countless doctors, enlisted the help of Australian Lionel Logue, a self taught speech therapist and elocutionist, to train him to speak correctly.

The book The King's Speech is written by Lionel Logue's grandson, Mark. He explains in the the introduction that he grew up in a house surrounded by pictures of the King George VI but until he was an adult, he didn't understand the role his grandfather had played in the King's life. He maintains his feeling of discovery and awe throughout the book, as he draws from diaries, personal papers, and publicly available information to tell the story of his grandfather and the King. At times, Logue's excitement was such that I felt that I was discovering this story along with him for the first time.

The book is far different than the movie, although they both hit all the same key points. The movie gives a great deal of detail to a small piece of the story, whereas Logue begins at the beginning and concludes at the natural end - the death of both his grandfather and the King. The resulting story is one that demonstrates the deep friendship that developed between the two men, and it is obvious from Lionel's diary that he greatly valued his relationship with the King. He insisted on a reasonable degree of equality between the two men while they were working (for instance, they called each other by their first names) but in his diary and letters his references to His Royal Highness reveal nothing but the greatest respect.

My favorite parts of Logue's book are the moments where the common man and royalty intersect. For instance, Lionel's description of attending King George VI's coronation contains both a degree of familiarity (after all, he was there at the King's invitation) but also a certain amount of disbelief (Lionel and his wife were seated in the royal family's box). Lionel benefitted from his proximity to the King but he never took advantage of it and the overall impression the book creates is of a common man with an uncommon sympathy, allowing him to understand the King's impediment for what it was (a fixable physical ailment) and thus to help a great man regain his voice.

I was lucky enough to read this book before seeing the movie but I don't think that mattered. This is a great book regardless of is you have seen (or plan to see) the movie.
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message 1: by Ron (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ron It's an odd situation; they were more or less developed in parallel. The movie inspired Mark Logue to research his grandfather's relationship with His Majesty, and when Logue's family uncovered additional source materials, the film incorporated quotes as something of a shout-out.

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