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Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,809 ratings  ·  198 reviews
Her name is synonymous with elegance, style and grace. Over the course of her extraordinary life and career, Audrey Hepburn captured hearts around the world and created a public image that stands as one of the most recognizable and beloved in recent memory. But despite her international fame and her tireless efforts on behalf of UNICEF, Audrey was also known for her intens ...more
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Published 2006 by Books on Tape
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa Kay


Love, love, love Audrey; however, this book was just middle of the road for me. Somewhat repetitious, too. I would have liked to have read the actual critics’ reviews instead of just this author’s opinion of her movies; I would have preferred him to be more factual instead of opinionated throughout.

For instance, what was Audrey’s reaction to Julie Andrews’ quip in her acceptance speech at the 1964 Oscars, thanking Jack Warner? (He chose not to cast Andrews - who originated the role on stage - b
...more
Vicki
I started out this book really rather excited about it. Her early years were fascinating, and the author's style was good. I was really enjoying it up to the point when Spoto started discussing the movies she was in. Then he really started to annoy me.

While Spoto's writing is well done for the most part, he seems to blur the line between biographer and film critic. A biographer should deal in the facts. Tell me what films she did, what happened during filming, what the public reaction was to the
...more
Erin
I have always loved Audrey Hepburn. I was not overly impressed with this book about her though. The author made it seem like she was never happy. Whether that was true or not, no one but Audrey would know for sure. For most of this book the author focused on the the hollywood making of the movies aspect, not so much Audrey. i felt like she got lost in the shuffle of a book that was supposed to be about her.
Alyne
I recently started watching classic films, which prior to my 25th year held little interest to me. I always WANTED to enjoy them, I just couldn't get past the black and white. Now that I have aged a bit, (that, or run out of Netflix options ;) ) I have begun to really enjoy classic films. I love the simplicity, the straightforward plotlines, the raw emotion of Hollywoods brightest. I enjoy the good simple stories, and the lack of overt sexuality, violence, and vulgarity. It's very lovely.

As for
...more
AJ
Jul 31, 2008 AJ rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes biographies
I really like reading about her. I don't love this author's writing style. He is a little repetitive and kind of adds his own opinion to some things. He is, however, very thorough, and seems to have a lot of really good sources that actually knew the people he wrote about. He does write in a way that actually makes their lives very interesting and kept me wanting to know more. I would recommend his biographies.
Lindsay
Aug 08, 2012 Lindsay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in her
I have always admired Audrey Hepburn, but sadly did not know much about her besides her filmology. This biography is written really well, so it does not seem like a dull text book but almost like I am reading fiction. Her life was so much more than just an actress and this book gives much detail showing that. Even if you don't think you are interested in her life, you might surprise yourself while reading this.
Elly Sands
I just picked this up in the local library thinking I'd take it home and simply peruse it. I ended up reading every word. I mean who doesn't admire Audrey Hepburn? Her movies were fun and some very poignant.I was surprised to learn how unsure of herself she was, never thinking she was good enough. These feelings stemmed from a rather traumatic childhood. Yes I was surprised about her various affairs and her chain smoking as it doesn't fit her "Image" but she was more than her image. She truly fo ...more
Susan Kelley
Jan 12, 2008 Susan Kelley rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: movie lovers
Recommended to Susan by: Bookcrossing Reading Group
Audrey Hepburn has always been someone that I have admired. It's obvious to anyone who has seen her that she was a beautiful woman. But deep beneath those looks was an even more beautiful heart. Her charitable works brought about so much change and good things in the world - her acting seems to be just a brief footnote.

Unfortunately, this book discusses more of Audrey's career than her life with UNICEF. I learned many things about her, from her childhood in Nazi-controlled Holland to her bad mar
...more
Isabel
I have always been inspired by Audrey Hepburn's grace and tactics, so when I decided to pick up a biography from the library, I chose one about her. Even though the author gave us a lot of information about the her childhood, movie-making, and her love affairs, it focused more on what made Audrey unhappy rather than what made her happy [such as her sons, cooking, UNICEF:].

The book was very informational on Audrey's career. And maybe I would have given it a higher review had I not had a specific
...more
Joy H.
Added 4/6/08.

1/17/15 - I had forgotten I had read this book already! So, recently I've been listening to the audio version of this book, Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto. I never realized how many problems she had during her life and during her career as an actress. It's almost painful to hear about these things because she has always seemed so enchanting and sweet. It seemed that no harm could come to her. But she had problems like everybody else.
Jill
This was a really troubling read. I love Audrey Hepburn and always have, but I found her consecutive adultery really disturbing (her husbands were adulterous as well). I learned so much about her and loved getting details on portions of her life with which I was already familiar. What was most impressive to me about her is how none of her colleagues ever had anything bad to say about her. Other than her reptetivive adultery, she was a really classy lady. And she did incredibly wonderful work for ...more
Tarma
I am sure Audrey was a sweet girl, and she certainly did do a very amazing job for UNICEF but, thanks to Spoto, I was heartily sick of her long before the book ended and I ended up just skimming the last few chapters so I could put it down and be done with it.

I am not a huge fan of Hepburn - I was bored by Roman Holiday, enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany's but cannot bear to rewatch it thanks to those hideous Mickey Rooney scenes, and I am a great admirer of My Fair Lady, even with the dubbed singing
...more
A. S.
I recently picked up a few biographies to add variety to my list of books, and I was mostly pleased with this one. I've read a few of Donald Spoto's other biographies a long time ago (the one that stands out in my mind is the one about Alfred Hitchcock), and while this book packs in a lot of information without describing the subject's feelings without proof (which was what annoyed me about the last biography I read, Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus), it still lag ...more
Barbara
I'm going to start this off by saying that Audrey Hepburn and her films are not my favorite in terms of old Hollywood. Roman Holiday and Charade are probably my top films of hers, although after reading this book I really need to check out A Nun's Story and re watch The Children's Hour. And yes I am a member of the camp who thought she should not have been cast as Eliza Doolittle (although she did look fabulous in that movie) but that's not really her fault, that honor goes to Jack Warner.

At any
...more
Deep Dev
It hurts to give it 2 stars.
Ambigous. Off-the-subject. Unintelligent.
Abby Kidder
"Enchantment: The Life of Audrey" tells the story of the legendary actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn. It explains her harsh childhood during the Holocaust, her rise to fame, and her humanitarian efforts in the later years of her life. This biography was written by Donald Spoto, best known for his biographies on Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock. He explained her life in chronological order which made it very easy to follow. Every chapter was extremely informative and well ...more
Angela
It is ironic that the part of her life Audrey herself considered most important, the humanitarian work she did for UNICEF, is also the smallest chapters in this biography. Especially considering how strongly Spoto appears to idolize Audrey.

And boy, does he ever idolize her! I agree with other reviewers that much of this book seems to be the rose-coloured opinions on Audrey and her film performances. He frequently refers to her in an almost reverent fashion, elevating her to a mystical level of
...more
Tara
I've always liked Audrey Hepburn, but then again most girls tend to have a weird obsession with her at some point. Reading about her life was interesting. It's hard to judge someone's character from a third-party perspective, but from what I gathered she was a pretty extraordinary person. The concept of being famous and staying a good person is interesting to me. But it seems that Audrey Hepburn did her darndest to stay true to herself. She kind of had a rough life, the most interesting part of ...more
Abbers77
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Enchantment by Donald Spoto describes the life of Breakfast at Tiffany's star Audrey Hepburn. She grew up in Belgium with a Dutch mom and half-brothers, and a British father who abandoned her family when she was young. War struck in Europe when Audrey was only a teen who dreamt of becoming a ballerina. After a hard life, she entered small film productions to gain money for her family, and that was when she was discovered. Some of her roles were "...the greatest performances in the history of fi ...more
Marci Antoniuk
3.5-4 stars.

So, I don't know if there's a single person who's like, "You know that Audrey Hepburn? I just really dislike her." I mean, beautiful, hardworking, endearingly vulnerable, selfless humanitarian advocate. So annoying. This was an extensive biography about her, and it was neat to learn more about her life. I liked how family was number one for her, and she just kept getting sucked into films (for the money, as part of her contract, or as favors for friends). It was also really neat to l
...more
Jannifer
I started reading Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto. The beginning was interesting and sad. Audrey lived during the WWII in Holland when the Nazis had occupied her homeland. As a teenager, she was part of the underground Dutch resistance. She would carry messages to different members of the resistance, which was extremely dangerous and performed as a ballerina to raise money for the resistance. She also shares how she almost starved to death during the war. The story of her ...more
Scott Taylor
Maybe its just me, but this book didn't paint an incredibly great picture of Audrey. She came across, honestly, as kind of dull. I refuse to believe that she actually was dull, and think rather my perception is due to a combination of factors about Audrey herself coupled with the author's decisions.

By accounts she was a very private person. It was not uncommon for her to escape from humanity for long periods and just not talk to anyone. I would call it shyness, but it seems more than that due t
...more
Alessandra
I adore Audrey Hepburn & she is one of my favorite actresses, so reading a biography about her was a great opportunity to get to know her more personally. This book is an amazing biography of the recollection of the events in Audrey Hepburn's life. It starts from her childhood & leads up to the events that took place up until the day she died. It not only elaborates on her life history but as well as the people she became close friends with & her co-stars that were with her in her mo ...more
Carla
Oct 23, 2008 Carla rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Audrey Hepburn fan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carl Rollyson
"Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn" enters a crowded field. Barry Paris's encyclopedic "Audrey Hepburn" appeared in 1996, Alexander Walker's astute "Audrey" in 1994, and Diana Maychick's chatty "intimate portrait" in 1993 — just to mention Donald Spoto's immediate predecessors. At this point, the impatient reviewer is supposed to complain, "Do we really need another biography of Audrey Hepburn?"

This is almost always the wrong question. Biography by its very nature is incomplete. It is a Ra
...more
KaRo
Osoby Audrey Hepburn raczej nikomu nie trzeba przedstawiać. Jest to jedna z największych legend kina, modelka i działaczka humanitarna. Jako aktorka została nawet uhonorowana w 1954 r. Oskarem za kreację pierwszoplanowej bohaterki w „Rzymskich wakacjach”. Mimo że od jej śmierci minęło już 20 lat, nadal jest uważana za ikonę stylu, a przede wszystkim wzór do naśladowania, bo Audrey była nie tylko fenomenalną aktorką, ale co najważniejsze wrażliwą na ludzkie cierpienie osobą. Wydaje się, że była n ...more
Rhonda
I have loved Audrey Hepburn for a long time. Love all of her movies I have seen. ( my two favorites are Sabrina and Funny Face.) Audrey grew up in a home that was a bit void of love. Her father left when she was still very young and her mother was not the lovey dovey motherly type. She was more of a motivator and encourager, enrolling Audrey in ballet and schools that would make more a life for Audrey. She was caught in the war when Hitler invaded and in fact almost died of starvation until the ...more
Louise
Audry Hepburn was in a league of her own. When was the last time we heard of a star of this magnitude helping a friend in business and firing his/her manager for trying to make a profit from the help? While I was aware of her work with UNICEF, I was unaware of the depth of her commitment. The trip to Sudan was hard enough to read about. I cannot imagine going there as she did.

WWII's deep scars were well hidden from public view. For most of the war she and her family had daily fear for their live
...more
Jennifer de Guzman
This was some light reading for me after I took my master's degree comprehensive exams. The author is admiring of his subject and treats her sympathetically, keeping a respectful tone when he describes some of her more questionable habits -- she seemed to have some trouble not falling in love with men when she was already married, for example. Sometimes his use of quotes from interviews with Audrey Hepburn or perhaps from her writing are inserted into the narrative a bit awkwardly -- being an ac ...more
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A prolific and respected biographer and theologian, Donald Spoto is the author of twenty published books, among them bestselling biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, and Ingrid Bergman. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Donald Spoto earned his Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University. After years as a theology professor, he t ...more
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