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Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis
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Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Miss D & Me is a story of two powerful women--one at the end of her life and the other at the beginning--and how they changed each other forever.

As Bette Davis aged, she was looking for an assistant, but she found something more than that in Kathryn Sermak: a loyal and loving confidante, a co-conspirator in her jokes and schemes, and a competent worker whom she trai
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Hachette Books
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  785 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-movies, history
Excited doesn't even begin to describe my reaction when I heard this book was in the works. Duly preordered, I've been anticipating this for months. Or decades to be honest. I joke how there's a new Bette Davis biography almost like clockwork yearly (mostly rehash but I eagerly devour them anyways), and finally one of the major people in Bette's life has put her experiences to paper, and this will take a place of honor along with the other 31 books on Bette I have.

Sermak herself mentions that s
Robert Russin
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2017
Many, many things have been written about Bette Davis, particularly about her early and mid career, her various battles with studios, directors, and, yes, Joan. Aside from many biographies of varying quality, we also have her two memoirs and a ridiculous TV show to go to for information. The story of Bette’s life is usually most successfully told by looking through the lens of her career, and is one filled with rage, determination, and triumph. However, by the 80’s, the career slowed down, and ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Up to this point in my life, I have two heroes: my mother, and Bette Davis. Although, I never met Miss D, I felt I knew her to a certain extent because of her films and various facts concerning her life. Dark Victory, The Little Foxes, and Now, Voyager, just to name a few of her classics, got me through some rough times during my teenage years and early twenties. Now in my forties, they still do.

Kathryn Sermak’s account of her time spent with Miss D (as she affectionately called her) during the
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

This book is so engrossing that I read it in one sitting.

This is a wonderful account of Miss Davis’ last years with Catherine “Kathryn” Sermak. It is written with love, tenderness and some frustration at living with an exacting and perfectionist character like Bette Davis. Though their years together are vividly described in this book, the highlight is their four day automobile journey through the countryside of France on their way to Paris. During the journey they have moved beyond thei
Kimberly Hicks
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Kimberly by: Publisher (Net Galley)
I was never fortunate to meet Miss Davis in person, but I’ve seen quite a few of her films, and after having read this beautiful story by Kathryn Sermak, I feel as though I got to know the real legend, Bette Davis. Oh my, this book was amazing!

It was so refreshing to read how Miss D came to hire Kathryn. And even though Kathryn was a bit green when she was first hired, Miss D, in her typical fashion, groomed and guided Kathryn to become the woman she is. Their working arrangement was a bit rocky
LAPL Reads
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir written by Bette Davis’ former assistant, Kathryn Sermak, who spent nearly a decade working for Davis and developed an unlikely friendship with the screen legend. It took Sermak nearly thirty years to write this book and it stands as a tribute to Davis’ bravery and resilience.

In 1979 Sermak was a recent college graduate living with her strict parents in San Bernardino. College had given her a taste of independence and she was doing her best to avoid graduate school. She fell int
Valerity (Val)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Kathryn Sermak about her years working with the legendary Bette Davis. During that time they became as close as family and Bette Davis mentored the young author in many customs and manners. Sermak went on to become Davis's personal assistant and best friend. Later, Davis went through some serious health problems and it was Sermak by her side helping her all through the long recovery.

She took such good care of Miss Davis that she was eventually able to return to
Leslie Goddard
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely book. This is not a biography but rather a memoir written by the woman who was Davis's personal assistant/companion/surrogate daughter in the 1980s. Sermak's memories are a touching tribute to Davis, who in the course of the book evolves from a confident, demanding employer to weakened, elderly woman battling cancer and loneliness.

I appreciated that Sermak does not shy away from the grittier side of Davis -- her ability to lash out when angered, her pouting sulkiness when hurt or a
Susan Snodgrass
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the old Hollywood movies. In my opinion, they're better than today's movies. And I love reading about the old stars. Bette Davis held top position for many years, and even after her prime had past, she never shied away from other roles, as did some of the other stars of the age. No one wanted the public to see them aging, but not Bette Davis. She acted in many roles that showed her age, movies like Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. She acted up until nearly th ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bette-davis
This is a special book and I am so grateful to Kathryn Sermak for writing it. I knew I would get emotional reading it but I did not anticipate to be the sobbing mess I was. I am deeply moved by her love and respect for “Miss D” and the gentle, discreet way in which she pays homage to her mentor, someone who shaped her at a very early age into the woman she is today. I can picture her going through her diaries, polaroid albums and tape recordings, trying to find the right words to express what th ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book about the late actress Bette Davis and her Girl-Friday and friend Kathryn Sermak. I've read a lot about Bette Davis in other books but I learned more interesting things about her that I'd never read before from this book. Bette and Kathryn had a marvelous time together. Highly recommended by Julian!
Hannah Hormell
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't even write a coherent review because I'm crying so much/
I am abit biasen since Bette Davis is My favourite actress.
What I do not like about this book is that it is to detailed. Like What the writer and BD had for dinner every time. (with BD I mean Bette Davis herself, not BD her daughter)
It was interesting to Know How BD was as a person when she was in her seventies and eighties.
The writer does not give a positive Portrait of BD ’s son in law, Jeremy Hyman. Neither does BD’s daughter. I Will later read her daughter’s book, since it is mentioned in th
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A biography of Bette Davis, as told by her personal assistant and great friend for the last ten years of her life. So intimate and tenderly written, it was a joy to hear stories told by Kathryn, who obviously loved her a great deal.
I was introduced to Bette Davis’ movies when I was a preteen. My mother, an avid viewer of the old black and white movies, sat me down and we watched “Jezebel”. When Bette Davis walked into the party in the red dress, I thought to myself “This is a cool woman”. After that she was that femme fatale character in my mind. I just knew this was actually how Ms. Davis was in real life. After reading this bio I wasn’t too off the mark.

Ms. Davis was a force to be reckoned with. She commanded an audienc
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this an almost five. I was a lucky goodreads giveaway winner of this well written book. I tend to be a bit cautious when I read a book that is written about a famous person. Bette Davis of course is a very famous movie star. Kathryn Sermak was Bette Davis's assistant over ten years. She got to now Bette Davis the last ten years of her life. I would not want to read a book that was meant to be a "mud sling" against someone. I am happy to say this is a wonderful homage to Bette Davis. ...more
Sarah Andreotti
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been waiting for this book to come out for months, preordered on Amazon and was so excited to have it show up in my mailbox on its release day. I was not disappointed! It's not often we get to read new information on our favorite classic film stars, and this book was such a treat! I had recently read This 'n That, and got a taste of Kath's view in one of the chapters in that book. I enjoyed seeing this side of Bette Davis so much- her very particular ways of life that I didn't realize until ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely and fascinating look at the last ten years of Bette Davis life through the eyes fo her friend and companion Katherine Sermak. Bette Davis was tough, smart, demanding and charming and this book shows all those qualities and more, a wonderful read.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a opportunity to learn about the ups and downs of Bette Davis. It was nice to read a book about a famous person that showed different sides of them. Enjoyable.
May 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a terrible book. Written by someone who is a horrid author. I could not get into it. Yuck. What a prima donna. Some say great actress - I am not among her admirers. She put much work into her preparation for a role but was so demanding of this personal assistant. She even "suggested" she change the spelling of her 1st name. Who do we think we are???
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Sermak, Bette Davis' personal assistant from 1979 until her death in 1989, presented what could have been either a glossed-over, star-struck look at an icon of the golden age of cinema or another trashy tell-all. However, she rises above both of those possibilities to give us an intimate look into the real nitty-gritty daily grind of catering to a difficult and demanding woman but which also has its share of enriching and fulfilling emotional experiences. An illustration of this can be seen ...more
As a life-long Bette Davis fan, I was excited for the release of the memoir, Miss D and Me: Life With the Invincible Bette Davis written by her personal assistant, Kathryn Sermak. Sermak, who became Davis' employee in 1979 and eventually transitioned to devoted friend by the end of Davis' life, writes intimately of the ten year period beginning with her hiring prior to the filming of Watcher in the Wood in England, highlighting the major events of the star's late career, blending aspects of her ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miss D And Me was a novel written by Kathryn that detailed the years she spent as the personal assistant to Bette Davis. At the age of 23, Kathryn started working for Bette Davis in a 'Girl Friday' role. Over the years, she was promoted to personal assistant and took on a much more hands on role helping Bette Davis when Bette became deathly ill. At the beginning of her job she began writing her daily experience in a journal, so I felt that her book was a good retelling of their relationship. Thi ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I feel like there was a lot of build-up around this book. It was promoted for months before it was released, and the fact that Ms. Sermak had been working on it for nearly 30 years, essentially since Ms. Davis' death, also leant to the anticipation and excitement. As with many things that are highly anticipated, it was a bit of a let-down. Not so much because of the stories themselves -- there are some interesting insights into Ms. Davis' character through her daily life -- but because of the te ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pleasure to read. I loved Miss Davis' movies, but my very favorite thing about her wasn't the movies, it was the interviews she gave. I dearly loved her sense of humor. The best ones were when she was on The Late Show, with Johnny Carson. Those two together were hysterical! I was hesitant about reading this book at first because I usually don't read stories about show biz personalities that I love. I prefer not to find out the bad, and just continue thinking good thoughts....It's ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I realized as I finished the book yesterday that it's been nearly 28 years to the day that Bette Davis died (Oct 6, 1989). It's taken "Kath" Sermak that long to write and release this book honoring her time as Ms. Davis' personal assistant. Once you've gotten to know a star the size of Bette Davis, I'm sure it takes about as long to get over it, if you ever do. Just reading the book, hearing her legendary voice in my head, I sat taller, and fought my own urge to speak like Bette when addressing ...more
Denise Morse
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Miss D and Me by Kathryn Sermak is the story of the last years of Bette Davis' life through the eyes of her personal assistant and confidant. Bette Davis is a legendary woman - known for strong roles and personalities on and off the screen. She is no different in this book.

You can tell that Sermak truly cared for Miss D (as she calls her) and was unwavering in her support and loyalty to her; although she did not always deserve it. Miss D came across as very intense, critical, lonely, and manipu
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After having loved "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and watching "Feud" on TV, I was very excited to get the chance to read this book. I have always loved that movie and the ensuing "feud" behind the scenes.

This book was perhaps one of the more interesting memoirs that I have read written by someone who knew the star and spent time with them.

I loved the technique and style that was used in writing this book and certainly enjoyed reading it. A person could tell that the author truly felt a lot f
Kathy Cunningham
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kathryn Sermak’s MISS D & ME is a tribute to the last years of Bette Davis’s life. Sermak served as Davis’s assistant for seven years, living and traveling with her, helping her prepare for film roles, and seeing her through several very difficult trials. The Bette Davis we see in this book is both the acerbic, witty, scathingly opinionated Star we know from such films as “All About Eve” and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?,” and the aging, fragile woman who suffered through breast cancer, s ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are more than a dozen full-length biographies devoted to volatile two-time Oscar-winning actress Bette Davis (1908-1989), but none offer the up-close and personal view of Davis's final decade as Kathryn Sermak's engaging, outrageous and heartfelt memoir MISS D & ME. Davis hired the 23-year-old Sermak as her personal assistant in 1979, and immediately lived up to her difficult reputation. She started retraining Sermak on how to walk, talk, eat, dress and act in public. Davis even convin ...more
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