Jeffrey Robinson reeled me into Bardot's life story effectively from the very first page without me being a fan of her prior, so his entertaining, strJeffrey Robinson reeled me into Bardot's life story effectively from the very first page without me being a fan of her prior, so his entertaining, strategic narrative voice deserves as much credit as the unique nature of Bardot herself. Bridgette Bardot was and is a timeless icon of beauty and glamour rivaling that of Marilyn Monroe, but she also had to suffer the unforeseen consequences and burden of such a position for the rest of her life and in ways that really surprised and intrigued me. This led to many unpleasant and less than charming personality deficiencies based on competing self-importance/ego with self-loathing, but she ultimately took control of her fate and used her immense fame to improve the condition of animals around the world and left a legacy of love. Overall, a very redemptive biography....more
Despite having to leave the escort/madam industry after the Knapp chaos, Xaviera manages to have many exciting, poignant adventures due to her magnetiDespite having to leave the escort/madam industry after the Knapp chaos, Xaviera manages to have many exciting, poignant adventures due to her magnetic personality, blunt insight on the sexual revolution and breakthrough success in the publishing world with her first book "The Happy Hooker".
Unlike her debut book, this one is broken up with intermittent chapters on the escorts she has worked with, her personal life post-prostitution and the cities she visited on her publishing tour. This pattern and swift storytelling makes for quick, engaging reading and I really liked how her editor chose to organize the book. Hollander's narrative voice is personal like that of a friend but still very keen and observant of people and their complex psychology. She is unique in that she sees people with a kind, open heart and truly wants to help people or impact their lives in a positive way, even if only sexually. But at the same time she is no pushover and tells it like it is when it is called for. She doesn't allow people to degrade, manipulate or unfairly judge her. Nor does she allow herself to live in state of fear or self-doubt. There are numerous points in both books where she stands up to thugs, cops, creepers and thieves despite being a petite blond and her courage and reasoning usually save the day.
Overall, I really love who she is as a person and respect her views and values, even if not all of them line up with my own or formal society's. Even though she was renowned for being a madam and a sexual minx, she was always a class act and used her unusual experiences and insight to help as many people as possible. I think more women should read her books because she represents a truly independent, confident woman who held no shame for her sexuality, her body and didn't need a man to complete herself or ego. It's really refreshing to read about this kind of woman because even in modern society and in our modern generation, there are still very repressive and unhealthy mindsets surrounding women and being lived out by women. It's a damn shame her books are out of print. I highly recommend you try your used bookstore or look on amazon for it. You won't regret it. ...more
I agree with another reviewer that this should really be called a filmography of Elizabeth Taylor rather than biography. I really wanted to know moreI agree with another reviewer that this should really be called a filmography of Elizabeth Taylor rather than biography. I really wanted to know more about her relationships and personal, explicitly stated outlook rather than the author's interpretation of her character roles and analysis of her motives. It was however well written and was for the most part entertaining....more
If you liked the film even a little bit you will find this book impossible to put down. Partly because it is one of the most incredible true stories yIf you liked the film even a little bit you will find this book impossible to put down. Partly because it is one of the most incredible true stories you'll ever read and secondly because the film only gives a glimpse of how bad ass and clever Frank Abagnale really was and third, Frank's charm and humor come across so beautifully in his narration that what could have easily been a dry, factual nonfiction tale flows like a humorous suspense thriller.
By 16, he was romancing sophisticated beauties twice his age and successfully traveling/deadheading free under the guise of a Pan Am pilot, by 19 he had successfully impersonated a chief resident physician at a hospital and by 21 he had lived as a lawyer, college professor, Pan Am PR pilot and accumulated over a million dollars by way of counterfeit checks. It's insane this book isn't more popular considering the insane journey this social engineer genius takes.
I've seen this book on bestseller and book seller favorite shelves for a long time. It did live up to the hype and felt very much like a spiritual seqI've seen this book on bestseller and book seller favorite shelves for a long time. It did live up to the hype and felt very much like a spiritual sequel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a book I treasure and love. The author even acknowledges the similarity between her family's lifestyle and the nature of the classic book at one point. I admire the author for choosing to see her parents as flawed, but unique human beings rather than monsters, but I can't say I ended it with the same kind of empathy. Her dad at least attempted redemption at various points and was legitimately struggling with his own demons of abuse and alcoholism, but her mother is just plain awful.
There was never a point where her mother did anything but the most selfish, narcissistic, neglectful, inconsiderate, ignorant thing possible. I think the final straw for me was when she waves off an uncle sexual harassing her daughter with a "Oh he's just lonely" sort of comment. That is beyond simple ignorant neglect! That is plain evil, intentional negligence that confirms a heartless, soulless individual. I was happy when she became homeless and looked like the fool she was. I'm sorry if that seems really counter to what the author was hoping to evoke from the reader, but I hated her mother.
What made it a great story despite her parents failings, is how Jeannette and her siblings rise above their extreme poverty and neglect to find compassion, success and maturity beyond their years so that they can eventually escape their rough beginnings and live successful, constructive lives based on love and hard work. They completely reformed their family and started a legacy they can be proud of all on their own. It's a great, old fashioned all american tale that inspires you to look beyond your humble surroundings and pave your own journey. ...more
I saw the incredible criterion collection film first and sought out the book shortly after. It's a quick read and the accounts are much more plausibleI saw the incredible criterion collection film first and sought out the book shortly after. It's a quick read and the accounts are much more plausible than anything you see in Cameron's "Titanic". There were moments of chaos and despair, but the surprising thing is that there was much more composure, grace and dignity in the passengers and crew in the true story than any film could ever capture. Many men said some quiet goodbyes to their loved ones, donned their evening wear and waited around drinking gin or whiskey to die like gentlemen. Much of the crew went above and beyond their duties and helped everyone before they would help themselves. It's a remarkable example of how even large scale tragedy can bring out the best in people. Maybe not for current, wayward generations but certainly for the ones in 1912. ...more
I admire how Seinfeld's humor is at once reflective and hilarious. His work is an example of the foundation of comedy: focusing on the absurdity of thI admire how Seinfeld's humor is at once reflective and hilarious. His work is an example of the foundation of comedy: focusing on the absurdity of the world. It was a fun read....more