Shop Girl
Mary Portas

Book cover image

Narrated By: Mary Portas

Duration: 6 hours and 49 minutes

What to expect

Young Mary Newton, born into a large Irish family in a small Watford semi, is always getting into trouble. When she isn’t choking back fits of giggles at Holy Communion or eating Chappie dog food for a bet, she’s accidentally setting fire to the local school. Mary is a trouble magnet. And, unlike her brothers, somehow she always gets caught…

Britain in the 1970s is a world where R. White's lemonade is drunk in secret, curry comes in a box marked Vesta and beanz meanz Heinz. In Mary’s family, money is scarce. Clothes are hand-me-downs, holidays are a church day out to Hastings and meals are variations on a potato theme. But these are good times and everything revolves around the force of nature that is Theresa, Mary’s mum.

When tragedy unexpectedly blows this world apart, a new chapter in Mary’s life opens up. She takes to the camp and glamour of Harrods window dressing like a duck to water, and Mary, Queen of Shops is born…

Genre

Autobiography: business & industry, Autobiography: general, Memoirs, Fashion & textiles

Listen to a sample

Absolutely fabulous... Colourful, camp and unexpectedly heart-rending, I loved it.

The Bookseller

Her school stories are hilarious... a nostalgia-fest

Heat

Portas's memoir is witty, fascinating and, at times, sad but always compelling

Stylist

Enormous fun, readable, nostalgic, poignant and authentic... Read it then give it to your daughter

Daily Express

Portas writes with wit and verve... The book has the narrative charm of Anita and Me or The Buddha of Suburbia; so when the darkness comes it's genuinely shocking. Shop Girl is a testament to survival. But most of all it is a love letter to her mother, Mary Flynn. Every joke, argument, cake baked, tenderness proffered, sings off the page. 'To my mum - How lucky was I getting you' is the book's dedication. And we are lucky to read it.