Ari's Reviews > I Know Where I'm Going: A Personal Biography of Katharine Hepburn

I Know Where I'm Going by Charlotte Chandler
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's review
Jan 02, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2012

IQ "I have the photographs of the people I love. I don't have any pictures of myself. I don't need pictures of me. I have me" Katharine Hepburn pg. 302

This was the first book I've read about Katharine Hepburn, or about any one movie star actually. I'm not sure what to make of it only because its hard to tell if its the real Kathy or Katharine Hepburn, the public persona Kathy nicknamed "the Creature". She seems very much like her on-screen image and it seemed like the book was entirely under her control, which is good and bad. Its very "official" which makes me wonder if its 100% truthful. However I've decided that Katharine Hepburn is honest, she just omits certain private details.

Fiery, talks a mile-a-minute, very blunt. She mentions a few times that she didn't think she was beautiful, just skinny. I always thought she was lovely, elegant. But everyone does look better in black-and-white. Really though, I don't think she gave herself enough credit. The book is filled with her poignant thoughts and witty one-liners and charming stories. She seems a bit more reserved in the book in terms of her personal life but she's open about sex, with everyone except Spencer Tracy (and lets be honest that's who we care about the most)! For me this book did reaffirm why I'm not a big fan of the Hepburn-Tracy romance, she talks about how he never said "I love you" and I think he did cheat on her a few times. She didn't deserve that. She's so fabulous she deserved someone who was gonna challenge her like Tracy but also love her back 100%. I just don't get that impression about Tracy...I also loved how Hepburn had nothing bad to say about guys she had affairs with. Then again, her exes she hated she might have decided not to talk about.

The transitions are awful. Its not always clear when the author is explaining something or when its her interviewee talking. Also I wish the author/Katharine Hepburn had talked more about her family. She mentions her older brother Tom a lot, since they were very close and his suicide deeply affected her. But she rarely mentions her other siblings. I would have liked to know what they thought of her acting, did they begrudgingly support her like her father? Oh and way more pictures were needed!

It was a really nice touch of the author to include lengthy interviews with Katherine Hepburn's co-workers and friends (and its not a hunky-dory image all the time. People do point out her flaws such as her bossy manner). Ultimately I finished this book with a renewed resolve to watch all of Katherine Hepburn's great films that I haven't seen yet, before summer ends (Morning Glory, Little Women, Stage Door, Woman of the Year). Along with her favorites (Pat&Mike).

Other fav quotes: [referring to her ex-husband, S. Ogden Ludlow] "When I married him, I wasn't certain about what I was doing, although I couldn't imagine that I would ever like anyone more than I liked him. I could imagine the possibility that I would love someone more or feel greater passion, but liking is very important." pg. 58

"She [referring to her dear friend Laura Harding] was an objective observer of my life in Hollywood and elsewhere, and that gave her a different perspective on what I was experiencing than on my own. When you are so involved in your own life, its ups and downs, and your own emotions are at play, you need someone standing back and watching who isn't so involved in your life a you are, who can explain your life to you." pg. 70

"In our private life, Spencer didn't talk a lot, but what he said counted. It suited me because I always preferred a man who didn't talk too much, for two reasons. One, it doesn't seem manly to me for a man to babble, and second, if he talked a lot, we would be talking at the same time. You know, the way birds do. I think I don't talk as much nw as I once did. I don't think I have the same drive to communicate because so may of the people I wanted to communicate with are gone to where no one can communicate with them." pg. 234

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