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Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  1,170 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA.

The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. T
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Scribner
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Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik is a 2019 Scribner publication.

I read a lot of rock biographies, love pop culture, and know a fair amount of trivia from the sixties and seventies, but I don’t recall hearing about Eve Babitz. Seeing this book advertised, I was curious enough to do a Google search, which had me jumping down my own rabbit hole, much the same way Lili Anolik must have.

However, Anolik took a fascination and turned it into a minor obsession.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an expanded version of Anolik’s Vanity Fair article. There is a good bit of information about the author’s pursuit of Babitz and some interesting observations about Joan Didion. It’s a solid biography if you haven’t read the article. If you have read it there isn’t much that is new.
In 2012, after several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the reclusive Eve Babitz, who was living forgotten in obscurity in her West Hollywood condo—biographer Lili Anolik was finally rewarded for her persistence and began meeting Babitz for occasional lunch dates. “Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.” (2019) recalls the life and times of Eve Babitz (1943-) and the story of Anolik’s passion and fascination for her subject. Since Anolik lived in New York, a great a ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
"You've heard of people marching to the sound of their own drum? Well, [she's] got a whole fife and bugle corps." -- line of dialogue spoken by actress / singer Julie London in the 70's

Artist. Author. Shameless hedonist. Friend of celebrities. The ultimate It Girl from sunny So-Cal.

Eve Babitz was living a reclusive / secluded life (in Hollywood, of all places), mostly forgotten about by the American public until seven years ago when she was the subject of a Vanity Fair article by journalist Lili
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"On the one hand, how great, new fans for Eve, and who cares if they were fans for the wrong reasons, and is there such a thing as a wrong reason, and bless their ingenuous little hearts in any case. On the other hand, though, Jesus fucking Christ. And as they talked, I'd nod and make appropriate remarks, all the while internally sighing and muttering sarcastic comments to myself. Because unh-uh, because give me a break, because absolutely not. Eve is nothing like Darren Star's heroine, a tough ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is a terrible book. It is about half gushing over over babitz and her at best mediocre writings as if they were creative gems and blistering the overrated Joan Didion, particularly for her Play It As It Lays. She praises bibitz beauty, especially when she was young, but the photos of Babitz belie that praise. Babitz was a Hollywood groupie who had sex with many notables, including the overrated Jim morrison and dozens of hollywood lounge lizards. Anolik writes partial sentences in some case ...more
Britta Böhler
More fan-nonfiction than a biography, but I found the mix of the author's personal point of view, interviews and biographical snippets very fitting for the subject in question, and also a highly enjoyable read. ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography
I am sorry to say it, but I think this might be the most boring biography I have ever read. I like biographies and think everyone has a tale to tell but you would never know it from reading this book. The author gushes on every page about Eve Babitz and I'm never sure why. Because she posed nude, because she had sex with celebrities or because she wrote a few unsuccessful books? Even though the subject supposedly had a relationship with Steve Martin and Jim Morrison to name two of many mentioned ...more
Meg (fairy.bookmother)
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It seems like two summers ago, everyone on Bookstagram and on book Twitter was talking about Eve Babitz. The more I read about her from the people I followed, the more I wanted to know who she was through her writing. I purchased Sex & Rage in the fall of 2017 (and, shamefully, still haven't read it), and I bought Eve's Hollywood this past fall at Strand Bookstore in New York City while I was there visiting a friend. I read Eve's Hollywood from the end of November t
Bree Hill
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can’t remember the last time, if there ever was a time that I’ve read a biography and if this is in deed my first, I’m glad it was.

I’ve never read anything by Eve Babitz. Shamefully, Sex and Rage has been sitting unread on my shelf for about 7 months, but this biography was such a joy to listen to that I want to binge as much as I can by her now.

Listening to this on audio transported me to the late 60s and 70s Hollywood.. a time and place I’d love more fiction and nonfiction stories set in. I
Emma Kearney
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
For all my feminism and constant work to undo internalized misogyny, I still struggle with unlikable women. Perhaps more than anything, I want to be likable. And I love to dole out compliments to my female friends that are overblown, commenting on their kindness and sweetness.

Eve Babitz is not likable, but she is a genius. Practicing sitting with her is a helpful, if uncomfortable exercise.

Babitz is like Lana del Rey (also a genius), but it isn’t a pastiche. There is no wink or nod. This is ju
Aug 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
The best parts of this book were the quoted bits from Eve and Mirandi, as well as the few, mediocre reveals of some of the men that were featured in Eve's books.

The rest of this was fangirl drivel paired with the most pretentious, judgemental opinions - as if Lili believed we came for her opinion on which of Eve's books she believed were good or not. She hated on Jim Morrison, and literally said "want to make a bet" on Hunter S Thompson's books being timeless because he was a "counterculture vul
Feb 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
I love Eve Babitz. I’ve read and reread her early works and think that she had excellent insight into the workings of the Hollywood/Los Angeles scene. So I was prepared to enjoy Hollywood’s Eve, but ended up hating it. The parts directly pertaining to Ms. Babitz were good, but the author’s constant options were just dreadful. The author had no experience in the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll and was so out of her element that I almost pitied her. I can see why Ms. Babitz was reluctant to ...more
I decided to find out who Eve Babitz was. So I bought some of her writings and this bio. Her world is not my cup of tea. All the talk about being a groupie and having large breasts depressed me. I didn’t find it amusing or witty. Just painfully passé.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I hate the way this book is written. The writer is far too indiscreet with punctuation. Colons, semi colons et al abound, sentences veer all over the place, and paragraphing makes little sense. The narrator often speaks in first person, and then suddenly switches to quotes from the subject (Babitz) who is also speaking in first person, and things become so confusing that the reader isn't sure who is speaking.

Who is this book really about? I wonder.

A good biography is one in which the writer st
Melanie Johnson
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Started this book and about a third of the way fell asleep. My dog was snoring so loud that he woke me up. Looked at the few pictures of Eve (I don’t get the author talking about her being beautiful. She looks like Joan Jett to me), read about her “big tits” umpteen times, read that Jim Morrison was a goober and that’s about the time I bailed.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Everyone close to Eve (and still living), including Eve herself, participated in the writing of this book and is quoted frequently and at length. For that reason, and that reason only, it's worth reading. ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Scott
The Eve of the title is Eve Babitz, a “groupie” to both artists and musicians in the 60s and 70s. The daughter of an artist and musician, she dabbled as both an artist and muse while bed-hopping and living with the soon-to-be famous in Hollywood, before eventually becoming a writer.

The author returns to Babitz again and again for interviews, but it seems unless she knows precisely what to ask, she doesn’t get much in the way of useful answers. Instead, the bulk of the information Anolik receives
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugghhhhhh. I wish this book had been written by someone else. Way, way too much 'I' in this purported biography, and a super-annoying 'I' at that, with a heaping helping of internalized misogyny and looks-ism. This bitch literally refers to the subject, an elderly burn victim, as a "ruin" and a "gorgon"!!! I shit you not. Much like the fictionalized life of Margaret Cavendish that let me down so badly a few years ago, Lili Anolik simply is not up to the task of encapsulating Eve Babitz. ...more
Denise Spicer
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
An overly glamorized, even gushingly hyped “biography” of a minor 60’s Hollywood celebrity, Eve Babitz. The book recounts the super-hedonistic lifestyle of Eve and her (mostly) minor celebrity acquaintances. Only those avidly interested in the minutiae of Hollywood history will get much out of this book. For other readers the sordid details make the lives of Eve and those she spent time with just pathetic and SAD.
Lorri Steinbacher
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Guys, this book! It’s sex and art and celebrity before it was tainted by the internet. It’s 60’s and 70’s Hollywood. Names you know (Harrison Ford makes sense to me now) and names you won’t (but wished you could have partied with). Eve Babitz is Joan Didion but with grit and a beating heart and a DGAF attitude. Recommend
Jennifer Ozawa
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: airplane-reads
There’s lots of Eve, but not so much any secret history, about LA or anywhere else. I am fascinated with old Hollywood and bought this mainly to see some fascinating tidbits I’d never read before, but I didn’t.

Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Started reading Anolik in Vanity Fair. While her offhand, hipster style worked well on shorter pieces, I found an entire book of it irritating. She IS the "New Journalism" inserting herself into the entire biography, and it is a sycophantic love letter to Eve, who may well deserve it - I am going to read her works next to see what I think. I'm guessing she's trying to adopt Babitz's style except I'm going to also guess that Babitz's randomness works better. But periodically I meanly thought: goo ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A yummy book.... but also a little heart-breaking without being a full-blown tragedy. This biography of Eve Babitz is full of rich dichotomies. I've never read anything by her. Sorry, I know that probably makes me a loser. But I feel like that may have been a great way to read this: without expectation about the kind of person Eve actually was. The author does a fantastic job with characterization; her descriptions of people are luscious, and very specific. You know exactly who she is talking ab ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at a woman who was involved in 1960s-70s Hollywood, but in a very peripheral way. Eve Babitz is shown as an interesting, complex person who, while no one’s role model, was uncompromising in writing about the savagery of Hollywood, including her own, far from admirable part in it. Once the reader can give up on the idea of happy endings, this book will bite down and hold on with a death grip.
Aaron Shulman
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To say I immensely enjoyed this book would be a scandalous understatement.
Angie Reiber
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
The only thing that kept this from getting a full five stars from me was the writing style. While I recognize the stilted, disconnected sentence construction was absolutely a choice, it grated on me a bit from time to time. That quibble aside, the actual substance of the book was fantastic and well worth your time if you have any interest in the seedier, artsier side of Hollywood.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Hollywood’s Eve was one of the strangest books that I have read. It fits no genre: it is not the biography that I thought it would be, yet it really isn’t anything else either. Instead it’s a mix of biography and stories, jumping through time, and infused with the author’s thoughts on many different, sometimes unconnected topics. Everywhere is her overriding love of Eve, her worshipful stance on her work. So I was left wondering throughout the book, is it a book about Eve Babitz or about literat ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was intrigued by this book, not so much by Eve Babitz, who'd I'd heard of, but knew little about, but because I was interested in the music scene in L.A. in the 60s and 70s. So many great musicians emerged from that time period, and they are many of the ones with which I most identify, as I grew up with their music and they are still among my favorites today.

It seems Eve Babitz was the premier party girl of those freewheeling times... everybody's groupie, having relationships with a string of
Linda Robinson
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I am in awe of Eve Babitz. And more recently, Lili Anolik, too. Discovered Anolik with her VF piece on Edie Sedgwick, which captured the NY art celebrity scene so the reader could be there. Anolik's writing style is a cacophony of adolation and snark & wry. Suits NY. Eve Babitz wrote LA into corporeal life; she's the insider's insider. With an uncanny eye for celebrity before it becomes fame, she created the scene. The restaurants, bars, galleries, people. There are no secrets in this book. Babi ...more
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Lili Anolik is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Her work has also appeared in Harper's, Esquire, and The Believer, among other publications. Her book, Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A., will be published by Scribner in January 2019. ...more

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“Ophelia said, Isn't there even one for you?They're all adjectives, they make me feel modified (Eve Babitz)” 9 likes
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