Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Myself When Young: The Shaping of a Writer” as Want to Read:
Myself When Young: The Shaping of a Writer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Myself When Young: The Shaping of a Writer

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  220 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Both in her novels and her memoirs, Daphne du Maurier revealed an ardent desire to explore her family's history. In Myself When Young, based on diaries she kept between 1920 and 1932, du Maurier probes her own past, beginning with her earliest memories and encompassing the publication of her first book and her marriage. Often painfully honest, she recounts her difficult re ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published December 31st 1977 by Doubleday Books (first published 1977)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Myself When Young, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Myself When Young

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If you have writerly inclinations, it helps to be born rich in a time and place where your first 20-plus years can be almost entirely given over to idleness and leisure pursuits. This is Dame Daphne's account of her life from age four until she married at twenty-five. She wrote it as she was approaching her 70th birthday, drawing from the diaries she kept as a youngster.

If you've enjoyed her novels, you'll appreciate how her early life nurtured that fertile imagination, and you'll also find som
Aug 02, 2015 Daniela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-or-diary
"Oh, I am sick of my unhealthy lassitude, which comes from yawning over a fire, or breathing the stifling air in the tube, wearing tight hats and stupid shoes. I ought to be digging with a spade. I ought to be on the top of a cliff, running and running, and drinking in great draughts of sky, and grass, and sea."

Myself When Young is Daphne du Maurier's autobiography written when she was in her seventies, using old diaries to back up her memory, starting with her earliest memories and ending in h
Oct 11, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who are intrigued by how normal people become famous writers.
A fantastic read about the younger years of Daphne du Maurier and how she started writing.

This book taught me that all writers have reservations about how good their works are and the first thing to get published is the hardest "labor" so to speak.

I saw how her love of sailing, her rememberance in great details about the houses she lived in growing up, and her independence of not wanting to be tied down, came to play in the writing of Rebecca.

I absolutely loved the pictures that were included w
Sarah Milne
Mar 30, 2010 Sarah Milne rated it liked it
I love Du Maurier's panache. Her clearly very...shall we say "comfortable" lifestyle made me roll my eyes a bit and wonder if I just need to be independently wealthy to be a productive writer. That's probably jealousy speaking. :)
Good memoir of her early years as a writer. Beautiful photgraphs as well. Oh -- to be wealthy and talented!
Heather Gilbert
Dec 12, 2011 Heather Gilbert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite author bios, but now out of print. She was a master writer, for sure.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Du Maurier December (December 2014)

Daphne Du Maurier had a somewhat typical childhood with a-typical interludes. She was taught at home with her two sisters, was finished in Paris, and spent her spare time outdoors with her dogs or indoors reading. A-typically she was the daughter of a famous actor and was surrounded by playwrights and authors and other actors growing up. Therefore a flair for the dramatic was in her blood,
Feb 27, 2017 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best parts are unfortunately towards the end of the book. When she was writing her first 3 novels, that's what I wanted to hear about. The other interesting bits are how she took real life events and used them for later books, and fans of her novels will notice this. Though, the interest in this book goes on and off throughout, buts its on the shorter side so I can't judge too harsh.
Jan 14, 2009 Discoverylover marked it as released-or-to-release-without-read  ·  review of another edition
From Amazon: "Both in her novels and her memoirs, Daphne du Maurier revealed an ardent desire to explore her family's history. In Myself When Young, based on diaries she kept between 1920 and 1932, du Maurier probes her own past, beginning with her earliest memories and encompassing the publication of her first book and her marriage. Often painfully honest, she recounts her difficult relationship with her father, her education in Paris, her early love affairs, her antipathy towards London life, ...more
Not nearly as grim as I expected, given my past experience reading Daphne du Maurier. Very light, breezy read describing her childhood and young adulthood, including her efforts to write (and sail?). Apparently, du Maurier kept diaries throughout her life, in which she writes about books she's read and every day events. For example, Daphne on dating:

'Disappointing,' I noted in the diary. 'Fred wore a dreary suit and talked to us about big game in Africa. How different from Caux, where he looked
Miss Lemon
Written well, no trouble there and Daphne doesn't seem to hold back sharing her self-centered personality traits along with the beautifully described family and friends that fill her life. A look into an authors mind. She does lots of thinking and thinking and more thinking and thereby creating her fiction. But the A-type in me at several points of the diary just wanted to get her moving on something...anything! But that's why she's who she is. There's a second autobiography of the later half of ...more
John Newcomb
Aug 13, 2013 John Newcomb rated it really liked it
I really wished I had read this book earlier in my reading of the complete works as it explains so much. I figured out the Bronte connection of course but should have been aware of the Robert Louis Stevenson connection (especially Frenchman;s Creek and Jamaica Inn) and I had not realised the Katherine Mansfield influence. The privilege, the loner, the famous relatives and friends are all here and the glamour although not deliberate gives it a sense of time and place that provides a much more rea ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Anjalique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daphne du Maurier is one of my favorite female authors, and I've read nearly all of her books. So when I came across a copy of "Myself When Young" at a local library sale, I snatched it up happily. I pulled it out one day recently while bedridden and sick, hoping it would prove a pleasant diversion. I was not disappointed. In fact, I found it as equally charming, captivating, and entertaining as any of her novels. An enjoyable, easy read. Highly recommended, especially if a fan of the author's o ...more
donna wilkin
Nov 14, 2014 donna wilkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book is worth the whole read. Intimate, sometimes whimsical, sometimes stark recollections of the author's happily eventful childhood in 1920's England. It stirred my own long-ignored memories of family, pets, fancies and books. Adolescence and young adulthood are less captivating. But the threads from her toddler years are pulled through to authorship and marriage with simple, enchanting prose.
Gowri N.
Sep 13, 2015 Gowri N. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book, hoping to get a lot more insights into the psyche of a writer whose short stories I greatly admire. But I was disappointed.

The book reads more like a memoir and seems really shallow when it comes to intellectual depth. Very little of her inner thoughts, observations, and perspectives are shared, and what is shared seems very inadequate.

At the end of the book, I do not feel I know a lot more about Du Maurier than
when I started.

Matthew Mainster
A fascinating look into a fascinating life and mind. Perfect for anybody who adores Daphne Du Maurier's writing. It is an honest, genuine account of her early life. We see Du Maurier as a human being, just like us, yet still every bit as likable as one of her heroes or heroines. She also has the sweetest account of somebody meeting their husband that I've ever heard, but I won't spoil that here. A brief glimpse (only 170 pgs) into what was obviously a fully appreciated life.
Nov 07, 2010 Amalie rated it really liked it

This book is based upon a collection of old diaries of the author. Daphne du Maurier looks back in time to provide readers with a picture of who she was as a child and how she developed into both a young woman and successful author. She is a highly creative and intelligent from her childhood and like most authors, has enjoyed her own imaginary worlds almost up until her marriage.

If you like Daphne du Maurier,like I do, this autobiography is the one to read.

Apr 12, 2011 TrumanCoyote rated it really liked it
A very snappy and intriguing way of writing a memoir as though it were a novel. Succeeds for the most part; it is though admittedly a little difficult for me to feel fully at home in a world of estates and carriages, or to entirely sympathize with somebody whose cares seem on the whole to be rather ethereal and far removed from the concerns of daily life.
Aug 05, 2016 Sonja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was OK but nothing special. She was certainly an enigma - wanted to be alone but also had a great time with company once she got older. It didn't seem she had any trouble writing once she got started. I remember reading Rebecca years ago when I was a teenager and enjoyed it at the time. I wonder how I would feel about it if I reread it now, over 50 years later!
Oct 08, 2013 Heidi rated it really liked it
Delightful and inspiring. Oh to live a life like hers... what a dream to imagine her seaside writer's retreat, her sail boat, loved townspeople and pets. The travels to Paris and Switzerland... And I was beside myself to realize that the Manderley of "Rebecca" was based on a real place- where the author ending up living. Such perfection.
Jul 05, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
It is not so much that this is a brilliant autobiography by Daphne du Maurier but I love this period in Britain. Nice life if you can get it. It was the right book, at the right place in time for me.
Linda Orvis
May 13, 2009 Linda Orvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
It was so interesting to read about this romantic young girl who became one of the most famous writers of our time. in all her biographies, Daphne does not shelter herself from her concept of the truth in her autobiography.
Sep 06, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed her story - she certainly was blessed with the very finest life had to offer. I'm pleased to say that reading this has sparked an interest in me to read her novels she discusses in this book. Dare I say I might even pick up Rebecca again!
Jan 06, 2016 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I found this book to be delightful, probably because I'm a complete Anglophile. In this slim volume, Du Maurier covers the first twenty-four years of her life, including how she became a published writer.
Echo Heron
Sep 07, 2013 Echo Heron rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
I had to force myself to finish this self-aggrandizing portrait of a wealthy, spoiled, arrogant young woman who appears to have
little conscience, if any, and no compassion whatsoever. Not worth the time. Into the paper recycling bin it went.
Feb 06, 2011 Erssie rated it it was amazing
Love it.
Feb 27, 2015 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked learning about the life of this British author. It has encouraged me to read some of her novels sooner rather than later.
Aug 03, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thumbs up, humorous and honest. I enjoy du Maurier's writing style and self awareness. I've been getting a feel for life of those times. Reminds me of my relatives.
Victoria (vikz writes)
Oct 30, 2010 Victoria (vikz writes) rated it really liked it
A charming study of a young woman growing to be a wrier
Apr 27, 2012 Meghan rated it liked it
I am in awe of this woman. It was sobering to discover she was just a girl that grew and struggled in her world as we do in ours.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A London Child of the 1870s
  • The Sun in the Morning: My Early Years in India and England
  • A Writer's Space: Make Room to Dream, to Work, to Write
  • Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939
  • First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low
  • The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
  • Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries and Letters, 1929-1932
  • Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers
  • The Writer on Her Work
  • Lytton Strachey: The New Biography
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 3: 1923-1927
  • Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction
  • Your Name Is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz's Story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
  • The Nature of Alexander
  • Man, Oh Man!  Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks & Cash
  • Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling
If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles a fairy tale. Born into a fami
More about Daphne du Maurier...

Share This Book

“We are all ghosts of yesterday, and the phantom of tomorrow awaits us alike in sunshine or in shadow, dimly perceived at times, never entirely lost.” 46 likes
“Only a lover of animals will understand the sudden feeling of loss, of emptiness, and the intuitive bond which exists between man and dog, has always existed from the beginning and will, please God, continue to the end.” 12 likes
More quotes…