Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gertrude and Alice” as Want to Read:
Gertrude and Alice
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gertrude and Alice

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  20 reviews
They were the talk of Paris, photographed by Beaton and Man Ray, painted by Picasso and written about by Hemingway. "Perfect... and witty... Souhani brings out the irreducible eccentricity of this particular marriage."
Paperback, 300 pages
Published 2000 by Phoenix (first published 1991)
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 Gertrude and Alice, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gertrude and Alice

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 306)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is the third of the voyeuristic readings I've been doing on these gay lovers of long ago, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. After reading "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" (by Gertrude) and "Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Toklas" (by Alice) I got the impression that it was more of a platonic, literary partnership between the couple. I was mistaken. They did have lots of sex. Gertrude was the "husband" and Alice called her "lovey"; while Alice was the wife and Gertrude's term o ...more
Suzanne Stroh
The first time I ever got thrown out of a university library, it was for uncontrollable laughter while reading The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein. The second time, ditto while reading this biography of Stein's and Toklas's marriage by Diana Souhami.

There's something so hilarious about this lifelong matchup of polar opposites who were connected at the hip since pretty much the day the two American rebels met in Paris. That was shortly after the San Francisco earthquake, back
Apr 30, 2015 Joanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Curiosity seekers, standard-poodle lovers, old lesbians.
Recommended to Joanne by: Another Random Selection
Where the phrase "Don't have a cow" originates lol.

I'd become irritated by enough Gertrude Stein references already when I stumbled across this book. Having eaten the brownies referenced by Alice's name (she was appalled by the recipe's attribution) and curious about the development of the modern 'artiste' I became more fascinated by these two women and the dynamic influence Stein had during this era of much foment. I was a fly on the wall reading the author's reconstruction of how the unusual p
I've read The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (really by Gertrude Stein), Staying on Alone, a collection of Alice's letters from the long years she lived on after Gertrude's death, and the Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company by James Mellow, a really wonderful portrait of the life and times of Gertrude Stein (and the people she and Alice knew, sometimes loved, often quarreled with). I have read Three Lives by Stein, admittedly her most accessible work, and have made forays into some of t ...more
Very readable biography of this dynamic Sapphic duo. Souhami isn't as exhaustive as James Mellow in CHARMED CIRCLE or as "investigative" as Janet Malcolm in TWO LIVES; this is biography as straightforward narrative, without the day-by-day calendarisms that happen when a writer tries to be a completist or the "meta-" inflections that occur when she uses a life as an allegory of writing biography. If there's nothing groundbreaking here, the author does do a nice job of taking "Pussy" and "Baby"'s ...more
A tight overview without excess embroidery. Here again
are favs Carl Van Vechten, Mabel Dodge, Robert McAlmon.
Now what was Janet Malcolm's beef about Gert during WW2?
Oh, right, Janet needed 'copy.'
Although I found Getrude and Alice's life together pretty boring, I still learned a lot from this book. Art and culture in the 20th century, Picasso was a great friend of theirs and they accumulated valuable paintings by him when his paintings were still largely unknown. Not too much info on their personal lives, none of their correspondence to each other was included, but that may have been because it was destroyed on the day of Gertrude's funeral. I'm not sure what the reason for that was, but ...more
I had no idea who Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas were beyond a vague recognition of their names prior to reading this book. Now, I wonder how that was possible. Gertrude Stein was a literary movement.

I thought this biography had a relatively smooth narrative which kept me interested and never bored. The book spans the life of both Gertrude and Alice and is relatively thin for that length of time. Accordingly, the book proves to be only an introduction to the very interesting life these two peo
extremely interesting, not sure if Gertrude Stein was a genius or a megalomaniac, and not sure if Alice B Toklas was a sycophant or the woman behind the 'man', and not sure if anyone really knows, but they had a fascinating existence, pissing people off and living for themselves. Not a brilliant exercise in writing, but a great read nonetheless
Nov 23, 2008 Julene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: to anyone interested in this historical figure
I melded my reading and writing based on Gertrude Stein's work by reading this biography that I found it a second hand store. It was the most enjoyable to read, lively and seemed to capture the life of both of these strong women. It was easier reading than Gertrude's writing. It was a great complement.
Frankie Reeves
This book will always be special to me for sparking my love for both of these amazing women, but especially for Gertrude Stein's practice: genius is almost an understatement. A well researched, detailed and entertaining read through the lives of one of the greatest couples to have ever lived.
I read this book so long ago but I do remember that it was facinating learning about these two women and thier unique lives.
Fun read. Great insights about the era and about art collections.
Marian Ferguson
Thorough background, may entice me to read their letters.
I was completely wrapped up in this book. These were two really fascinating women! However, upon reading the excerpts from Stein's writings, I had to agree with many of the publishers who rejected the materials she submitted. Still, what a time it must have been to be alive, free and relatively prosperous! Gertrude Stein certainly lived her life to the fullest. I think she would have been interesting to know, yet I know I'd be relegated to the kitchen with the other wives and Alice Toklas, who I ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Amy is currently reading it
So far so FUNNY
Although not a riveting book, I enjoyed learning more about the lives of these two- their friends, their interest in art, and, later, their lives during the war. If I understood or enjoyed Gertrude's writing more, I would certainly have enjoyed the book more. But, there were a lot of excerpts of her writings, which I find rambling, and I skipped over many of them.
This was an interesting biography about the life of author Gertrude Stein and her life partner, Alice B. Toklas. They were very quirky and I would only recommend the book as a period piece, as it doesn't go into much detail about them personally - mostly an overview of their life in Europe and the publication process of her books.
much better than souhami's "gluck" - which is a shame because i SO want to fall in love with gluck the way i've loved G&A all these years.
Dec 15, 2008 Amoyra is currently reading it
I hope this stops looking like a patchwork of journal entries real soon...but then, so far, Gertrude is only 12.
Judy Scognamillo
Judy Scognamillo marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2015
Hg Ramsay
Hg Ramsay marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2015
Hoyadaisy marked it as to-read
Mar 30, 2015
Basak marked it as to-read
Mar 25, 2015
Rino marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2015
Sheila marked it as to-read
Mar 11, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Violet to Vita: The Letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West, 1910-1921
  • Vita: The Life of Vita Sackville-West
  • The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of 'Joe' Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water
  • Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson
  • Empty without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt & Lorena Hickok
  • Wild Heart: A Life: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris
  • A Restricted Country
  • Toulouse-Lautrec: A Life
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol
  • The Architect of Desire
  • A Giacometti Portrait
  • Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life
  • Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All!
  • King of the Confessors
  • Tales Of The Lavender Menace: A Memoir Of Liberation
  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
  • Our Life in Gardens
Diana Souhami is the author of 12 critically acclaimed nonfiction and biography books, including Selkirk’s Island (winner of the Whitbread Biography Award), The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (winner of the Lambda Literary Award and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography), the bestselling Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter (winner of the Lambda Literary Award and a New York Times Notable Bo ...more
More about Diana Souhami...
Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter Wild Girls: Paris, Sappho, and Art: The Lives and Loves of Natalie Barney and Romaine Brooks Selkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe Edith Cavell The Trials of Radclyffe Hall

Share This Book