DOUBLE OR NOTHING,
A JOINT AUTOBIOGRAPHY
BY THELMA RUBY AND PETER FRYE
Peter and I wrote a book which is a conversation between us, exploring the paths which we took until we married late in life. Available on Amazon from £0.24 to £15.24. See comments.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE REVIEWS:
"...Their joint autobiography, DOUBLE OR NOTHING, (for once it really is a case of two for the price of one) is fascinating on several counts. It offers a vivid panorama of the Jewish experience throughout the twentieth century; it provides an attractively anecdotal account of theatrical life in England, America and Israel; and it concludes with a touching tale of late-blossoming romance." DAILY MAIL
"....It's a page-turner. This book examines international theatre in a personal, direct manner through a dialogue between these two very different Jewish theatre people with catching enthusiasm and with both anger and warmth." VISION MAGAZINE
"....It was something of a stroke of genius to decide to tell their stories in parallel, two widely divergent people gradually converging towards a happy marriage. Theirs is an oddly uplifting story, a triumphant partnership of apparent opposites." THE STAGE
"....The paths that led to their meeting were strange and uncommon and their joy in each other when that happened is moving." JEWISH CHRONICLE
Here is an interview with THE HAMPSTEAD AUTHORS' SOCIETY given by Zsuzsanna Ardo
Zsuzsamma Ardo: What triggered the writing of your book DOUBLE OR NOTHING?
Thelma Ruby: My wonderful late husband, Peter Frye, had a rich and varied and Interesting life. He was amazingly creative in all spheres, he was a leader both in thought and deed--he was endlessly fascinating to live with. Four and a half years before he died, he suffered a stroke (it is all in the book) that left him very disabled. He lost completely the use of his left arm and hand, and fifty years before he had been left with the use of only three fingers on his right hand as a result of his wounds in the Spanish Civil War. He could use his left leg, but he walked with difficulty and needed a wheelchair. Although he was remarkably brave and inventive after the stroke, he was severely restricted. And it was heartbreaking for me to watch such a man spending so much time just reading or watching TV.
One day I said, "You have had such an interesting life, why don't you write your autobiography?"
ZA: How did he respond to your idea?
TR: He replied after thinking abut it: "Well, maybe I will if I can call it Diary of a Failure". I explaimed "How could you think of yourself as a failure after all you have achieved?" He replied: "I think of all I SHOULD have achieved. It was not always my fault, sometimes I didn't get the chances, but I did not realise my potential. And I think many people would empathise with that!" Of course I said "No way would I agree to your calling it Diary of a Failure.
ZA: But later he changed his mind.
TR: Later he said, "I will agree on one condition: that you join with me and make it a joint autobiography." I said, and I meant it: "My life hasn't been anything like as interesting as yours". "Let's sit down with a tape recorder and find out" he said.
ZA: How did you go about writing the joint autobiography in practical terms once the joint decision was made to write it?
TR: We took three years to record the book. There was enough material there for five books. We had just started to edit it, when Peter died. I felt I couldn't go on by myself--it had been such a close collaboration. But after a few months I thought, "I can't let Peter's wonderful stories disintegrate and crumble into nothingness, I owe it to his memory to get our book published". It took me another year to edit it, and I know I did things Peter would not have agreed to.
ZA: How did you structure the book?
TR: It was not recorded in order--just as we thought of different events and feelings. I think Peter would like to have left it freewheeling like that, but I preferred to organise it seriatim.
ZA: And the editing process?
TR: I reworked most of what I had said, because I write better than I speak. But I hardly had to change a word of Peter's as he spoke so brilliantly. He was famous in Israel, so the book was first translated into Hebrew and published in Israel. There are a lot more stories in the Hebrew version than in the English version, because Hebrew is a very compact language. For instance to print AND in English you need "Space A N D Space", in Hebrew AND is just one letter at the beginning of the following word.
ZA: How long did it take from the idea to the published book?
TR: From beginning the recording to getting the book finally published in English took nine years!
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