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

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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. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.

Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment.

For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik’s elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published January 8, 2019

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About the author

Lili Anolik

4 books144 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 267 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle.
590 reviews157 followers
February 26, 2019
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 amount of time and expense was required to produce this unique and interesting book.

Eve Babitz likely got her flair for artistic and creative expression from her parents. Sol, was the first violinist for the 20th Century Fox Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mae, was an artist. Eve grew quite accustomed to being around the rich and famous from an early age, she would become an expert social climber and groupie in her teens and young adulthood. Eve finished her education at Hollywood High. Although she was highly intelligent, without a college education/degree she lacked the discipline and credentials of her famous friends that became notable award winning bestselling authors.
A confirmed hedonist, never shamed by her behavior, she seemed to use the freshness of youth, good looks and a “stacked” bust line to feed her need for attention. Babitz was the subject of a famous nude photograph, she seduced the Door’s frontman Jim Morrison (1943-71) within three minutes of meeting him. Earl McGrath knew “everyone”-- he and Babitz had an unusual dynamic in their relationship, though by 1971 these “soul mates” were over. McGrath introduced Eve to Turkish-American founder of Atlantic Records and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ahmet Ertegun (1923-2006). Eve became Ertegun’s mistress, and likely wasn't his only one. Not that Babitz cared in the first place. The list of lovers and famous men she had been involved with was very long, with her carefree “no strings attached” attitude. Marriage held little value or consideration for her. What Babitz couldn’t pay for with her earnings as an artist and collagist, (she designed album covers for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds) her living expenses were covered by others. Babitz maintained a sparsely furnished apartment near the Sunset Strip with only a few chairs, a crate for a table, along with her books, papers and a bed.
Annie Leibovitz (1949-) also visited Eve, photographing her after Rolling Stone accepted a piece Babitz wrote for the magazine that helped launch her writing career. Eve squandered two of her book advances. By the late 1970’s, she was addicted to cocaine. Less was said about addiction and recovery, as Babitz faced another “squalid over-boogie” (her own definition for burn-out). In 1997, a tragic accident left Eve badly burned. As she was lighting a cigar and dropped it, her highly flammable clothing caught fire. Thankfully, a concerned community of friends raised the funds for her costly healthcare and treatments.

Babitz commercially released book: “Slow Days Fast Company: The World, The Flesh and L.A.” (1977) received good reviews and more notice than her previous books which featured a memoir essay genre. However, it was unnecessary and mean spirited the way Anolik compared "Slow Day's" to Joan Didion’s bestselling classic novel “Play It As It Lays” (1970). Babitz’ two books that followed “Sex and Rage” (1979) and “L.A. Woman” (1982) were not her best works, according to Anolik. The majority of Babitz’ books were out of print until some titles were reissued in 2015. Anolik writes well enough, more details about the famous people Babitz surrounded herself with would have added to the appeal of the book. It was unfortunate that Babitz didn’t seem to understand that her youthful appearance, allure and sex appeal would have a limited shelf life. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library. 3* GOOD.
Profile Image for Tammy.
511 reviews429 followers
January 16, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,744 reviews123 followers
March 20, 2019
"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 Anolik. At about the same time Babitz's books - she penned six in the 70's and early 80's about L.A.'s subculture -went back into print, garnering her a new and contemporary audience.

But who is this woman?

Babitz was the daughter of an artist and a orchestral musician (Igor Stravinsky was her godfather!), a product of Hollywood High and possibly muse-ish to 60's / 70's artists and rock stars. She first achieved a modicum of notoriety in autumn 1963, at twenty years old, posing nude for an staged photograph with chess master Marcel Duchamp. For the next fifteen years she was like L.A.'s Forrest Gump, rubbing elbows (and more) with Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, Harrison Ford in their salad days.

And yet she was no mere groupie. Babitz received critical acclaim - if not large sales - for her written work, and even before that had also designed album covers for acts like Linda Ronstadt (on her debut release), the Byrds (David Crosby was an acquaintance in L.A.), and Buffalo Springfield.

Author Anolik clearly has a certain fascination and respect for her subject, and that's good since on paper Babitz does not seem like a particularly likable person. (She appears to keep most people at arm's length, and does not seem very warm. But being an introvert is not against the law, so . . . ) Babits is living life on her own terms, and her experiences and anecdotes made for a pretty good bio.
Profile Image for Eleanore.
Author 2 books19 followers
January 13, 2019
"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 cookie with a gooey marshmallow center. Eve's sleep-around, troublemaker front is real. There's no doe-eyed snookums looking for the right fella behind it, no twinkling heart of gold. She isn't an Every Girl, or relatable--the opposite. She's about as far out as you can get: an existential outlaw plus a demon plus an artist. Straight down the line."

It's so interesting to me that Anolik opens this book with a clarification that it's not exactly a ("traditional") biography -- and her argument as to why is certainly sufficient, even justifiable... when it turns out to be one of the most fulfilling and clear-eyed biographies I can recall reading, and on such a thorny, elusive subject at that. I adore Eve Babitz, just as Anolik does, though I'll never know her personally, as she does, and I'm even less objective about Babitz's works than Anolik is; she's able to admit up front to not particularly caring for two of Eve's most famous four works, a point on which we diverge, though I see her points. But that's neither here nor there. She delivers a fantastic portrait of a somewhat infamous -- while still being lesser known than she deserves (though, due to recent reissues -- and thanks in some part to Anolik herself, and her Vanity Fair piece that helped set that ball rolling, too -- that is finally changing) -- near-recluse, though one who captured the true spirit of Los Angeles better than any other writer I've yet read. Babitz achieves this in part because she's never able to depersonalize it; every Babitz "novel" or story collection is really at least semi-, if not fully, autobiography, over and over, and she's completely unapologetic about it. Similarly, though Anolik begins with the confession that she's grown too close to her subject for this biography to fully qualify, she never lets herself off the hook as one might expect. She still sees and examines Eve, and her works, exactly as she is, and they are, and we're all included like another listener in on the process, and all the better illuminated for it.

This book also delivers the deconstruction and de-mythologizing of Joan Didion I never even knew I wanted so badly, until I finally read it here; it explains at last exactly why, no matter how great Didion is (and she is undoubtedly great), her attitude and writing on Los Angeles, which she staunchly looked sideways and down her nose at, has always left me so cold. Eve is a wrecking ball force contained within a single woman; wrapped up in all her errors in judgment, her drinking and drugging, her infamous love affairs, her several other aborted artistic careers, her dismissals and fascinations... that is the Los Angeles I know and love, and call my home, even though I never have (and never will) live a life anything like hers. (Will any other woman? Doubtful. She is singular, yet her works are near-universally appealing, which is what makes her so brilliant. Her secret is sharing as many of hers as she deems worthy of revealing, which is most of them, and so she makes us all her confidante, enhances all our lives through them, no matter how far apart from her locale or her moment we'll always be.)

Most of all, I treasure this book for revealing so much more behind the iconic LA woman, and that of her that's revealed through her own works, as Babitz's work -- coming into my life as I've created my own hard-won home, as a very different sort of artist, in the Los Angeles of now (which both never could be, yet simultaneously always will be, Eve's LA) -- has been revelatory to me unlike that of any other writer. I'll always wish I could write like her, though I never will, nor should anyone bother to attempt it. I'll just have to settle for re- (and re-re-, and so on) reading her, armed now with more to appreciate behind her words and stories than ever before. They were already special to me, but they've grown more so for reading this. If that's non-traditional biography, I'm very satisfied to be not at all a traditional reader.
12 reviews
January 14, 2019
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 cases and long, convoluted difficult to follow sentences elsewhere. She is a sloppy writer, e.g., she refers to NOW as National Organization of Women; she refers to Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray as "Portrait of Dorian Gray," and in one sentences uses fraught and freighted as if they were different in meaning [those are just a few examples]. The second biggest question is why did Anolik seek to extol such lavish attention and praise of the writings and lifestyle of Babitz, a virtual nobody? The biggest question is why did I read it to the end?
Profile Image for Judith.
296 reviews
February 2, 2019
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 work with her and I really wish they had gone with a different, worldlier presenter. I suggest that you read the books written by Ms. Babitz and avoid this piece of shit.
Profile Image for Randee.
824 reviews32 followers
August 11, 2019
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, no real details are given nor are the relationships examined by the author or her subject in retrospect. Instead, many people no one knows are given page space and to be honest, these relationships are uninteresting. Not because they weren't celebrities but because the information given is so lackluster. Eve Babitz sounds like an all around failure as an artist and a thoughtless, selfish, narcissist, as well as being a rich, spoiled kid that you cannot help but find distasteful. You can't even love to hate her because the author does not give us the kind of biography that you can love or hate, like or dislike. What is left but indifference?
Profile Image for Meg (fairy.bookmother).
327 reviews47 followers
January 20, 2019

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 to December last year, and I simultaneously wanted to devour that book in a day and savor it over all time. I finally understood why everyone was talking about Eve Babitz (again).

Babitz is an enigma. She'll make you fall in love with her Los Angeles, and she'll make you fall in love with her, all while keeping you at an arm's length so you can't help but want to listen to everything she has to say. Lili Anolik's fascination with Eve Babitz, her life, and writing, turned into a Vanity Fair article that was later expanded into Hollywood's Eve. I read Anolik's Hollywood's Eve in a single sitting. I picked it up, read a few chapters, and did what I had to do for the day quickly so that I could spend the rest of my afternoon completely engrossed in Anolik's discovery, research, and eventual personal connection with Babitz.

I really enjoyed Anolik's emulation of Babitz's style, mixing in personal experience with the subject at hand. I find for certain biographies, this style works well, because a writer is able to add in personal anecdotes about people and places that would seem out of place in a more "formal" biography. I learned a lot about Hollywood in the 60s and 70s through Eve's Hollywood and Hollywood's Eve that I've not really seen or read discussed anywhere else -- like the bits about the Didions and Harrison Ford. Sometimes for me, who has only recently begun to dive into the behind-the-scenes stories of a Hollywood that's gone, it's a little jaw-dropping to see so many well-known faces know having those connections back then. That knowledge adds so much depth to the writing and film I'll consume from that point forward, you know?

Eve Babitz is not often likeable, but she is an incredible observer and writer. I thoroughly enjoyed the small part Anolik included that contrasted Eve with her sister Mirandi because it added so much more understanding to Eve as a person. Over the years I've read a lot more about and by "difficult" women, women who sometimes behave in ways that men do and the men are praised for it (or have their actions conveniently brushed aside) while the women are villainized or shamed for it? And why? Because they're women? I'm still confronting that within myself and realizing the best thing I can do is listen, absorb, and pay attention. And maybe be more like Babitz myself.

Thank you to Scribner for sending me a copy of Hollywood's Eve to review! All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for lapetitesouris.
164 reviews13 followers
January 12, 2021
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 vulture" (pardon me?) who wrote about the times he lived in. Lili, have you even read HST? The only unmemorable person here is you. Nobody read this for your thoughts, opinions and feelings, which you beat over our heads throughout the entire read.

Not worth it. Read for the quotes. Don't bother with the rest.
Profile Image for Bree Hill.
790 reviews573 followers
February 10, 2019
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 love that Babitz never gave a crap and always remained herself. I feel like I have homework to do now..I have Babitz to read.
Profile Image for grace.
27 reviews
March 6, 2022
so conflicted about this one
it was self aware and raw and real while also tainted by the love (or obsession?) the author clearly has with idealized babitz. it was condescending and exposing, just as flawed as babitz herself. somehow it made eve into a person of flesh instead of just words on a page and wisps of los angeles.
i did not enjoy the pitting of didion and babitz against each other; they both capture california in different lights-that does not mean that only one is correct. the author's tendency to tear into didion as a means to bolster babitz exposed some weakness in the writing and faltering in the grasp of eve's life.
Profile Image for Emma.
153 reviews32 followers
December 27, 2018
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 just Babitz’s life.

Anolik, especially by also including Eve’s sister’s story, emphasizes that feminine genius often is undocumentable. Its products are sometimes by products and only have One Author and that Author is male. Eve, the writer is one thing. But Eve, the person who gained access to all that she wrote about is another. One lends itself to assessment on established terms, but the other is more interesting. Just harder to reckon with as genius.

But hanger-ons, groupies, muses must have something (genius, or perhaps a different word) and Anolik starts to build a vocabulary of how do we revere them. This is bolstered in this book by Anolik giving over to her affection and relationship with Babitz. Rather than implicating fictive distance, Anolik embraces the biographical collapse between subject, object and author and lets the cracks show so much that they cease to be cracks.

I still struggle for language to describe sitting with Babitz. But I think of all the behavior I forgive in male geniuses I love, and I wonder what equivalence I should extend to her. Forgiveness isn’t quite the right word because on what authority do I forgive Babitz for her behavior that makes me uneasy? I think maybe the best thing I can give her is my attention.

Profile Image for Sara.
298 reviews4 followers
March 12, 2019
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 steps back and allows their subject to come to life, to become real. Babitz was never real to me but Anolik was annoyingly present at all times. I don't know who this woman is, and at this point, I have no interest in knowing more about her, and as for Babitz, I really haven't learned much about her other than as a young woman she was promiscuous, was famous for her big boobs and a nude photograph playing chess with Marcel Duchamp.

This could have been so much more than it is if only the writer could take her ego out of the recounting of another woman's life.
Profile Image for Heather.
Author 54 books1,898 followers
February 23, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Melanie Johnson.
586 reviews25 followers
April 26, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Amelia.
51 reviews4 followers
January 11, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Rachel Louise Atkin.
899 reviews109 followers
May 19, 2023
I first learned of Lili Anolik during my research into Bret Easton Ellis and the 80s cult fiction of the East Coast. Anolik has done loads of work into the writers of Bennington College such as Ellis, Donna Tartt, Jonathan Lethem, Jill Eisenstadt etc. which at the time was my main interest area. She also runs a podcast about LA and the Bennington writers which is really fascinating. Her work on the West Coast, however, such as Eve Babitz, Joan Didion and Ellis's 'Less Than Zero' I wasn't as familiar with and so I was really interested in reading her biography/study of Babitz.

Eve Babitz is a writer from Hollywood who was prominent during the 70s. She writes mostly about the Hollywood scene and the intimate activities of the elite which is really crucial to it's 'cult' status a la Jim Morrison and the Manson Era. I haven't read any Babitz before so it was interesting to come into this book not having experienced any of her writing but learning more about her as a person.

Anolik is a great writer and researcher and you can tell she has a really big passion for the subjects she studies. I loved that she actually got to meet and know Babitz personally and included this in the book as it was a really nice touch to get to know the person behind the writing. I found Babitz life really fascinating in how she didn't ever care about settling down and just wanted to have as much fun as possible. It was also cool to see the connections between her, Joan Didion and Bret Easton Ellis as it's a scene I find so fascinating and maybe will return to one day.

Definitely recommend this for fans of Babitz and Anolik is such a great writer and overall person so look forward to more books she releases on her research.
Profile Image for Michelle.
332 reviews18 followers
May 14, 2019
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 is from the people that knew and hung out with Babitz 50-60 years ago. Especially her sister, Mirandi, who came across as open and forthcoming, and armed Anolik with detailed information she could then turn into specific questions to pose to Babitz. I’m so glad the author dedicated several chapters at the end of the book to Mirandi, because these provided great insight into Hollywood in the Age of Aquarius, what growing up with her sister and her parents was really like, and how her teen years and early 20s easily matched Eve’s own wild youth—her life story could really fill its own book!

Eve would largely be forgotten if it were not for this book, and a series of magazine articles that coincided with the re-release of her books a few years ago. I’m not sure how I feel about this book myself: the author makes it clear right from the start that this is a love letter to her subject, although her subject seems wholly uninterested, and frankly, not very likable. So if this had been a straight-out biography, conveyed objectively, I would’ve tossed it in the Did Not Finish pile and moved on, but it’s the author’s giddy fangirl fascination that propels this book along, and I kept wanting to see what she saw in this woman.
Profile Image for Julie Chamaa.
65 reviews4 followers
October 14, 2022
Eve Babitz!!! IT girl and author, artist and muse, with attitude and intelligence on steroids. Nothing evokes time and place like Eve: that edge, and freedom, the wildness, and sheer insolence of amoral L.A and Hollywood in the 60s and 70s. This was a time of hedonism that had the pack of jackals and their prey having a fine time together. No victims. Of course that version is a blend of mythology and nostalgia but still, amidst all that, there is an authenticity to the era that leaves our now, virtual worldliness somewhat pallid and homogeneous.

This book pays homage to Babitz. So what if the author seems, in parts, to fawn over Eve like a groupie. Hell, she spent time with an iconoclast, one touted as a most unlikely feminist but one who made her own rules, sexually and artistically. Eve’s life, like her artistic pursuits, embodies the time.

This book is an extension of Lili Anolik’s Vanity Fair article and reads like a hybrid biography, with snippets of interviews and the author’s own wonderful anecdotes of discussions and outings with an elderly Eve. As such, it was extremely engaging. This book may just entice more readers to seek out the genius of Eve’s writing. Loved it!

Profile Image for Michelle.
236 reviews8 followers
May 2, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Abby.
18 reviews3 followers
August 17, 2022
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Interesting insight on Eve’s life
Profile Image for Candice.
341 reviews3 followers
September 1, 2019
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: good God, get a room! And I didn't like her constantly upbraiding Joan Didion. That said, Anolik is better when she's analyzing as opposed to over fawning and her description of an artist is one of the best I've read:

"...She operates the way an artists operates, thinks the way an artists thinks: is both exquisitely sensitive and totally unfeeling; is simultaneously immersed in life and detached from it; is having the experience yet is already, even in the midst of it, transmuting it into something else; is there but not."

I also appreciated her view of women artists: "All artists, male and female, have to battle against convention as well as their own demons to forge a style and sensibility. For women, however, especially pre-boomer women (it wasn't until the sixties that the ninth century truly ended in America), the battle against convention is even bloodier, even more brutal and protracted. An artist must be willful, selfish, ruthless, calculating, egoistic. In short, not nice. And niceness is considered by many to be the sine qua non of womanhood, the most essential characteristic. And what happens so often with women artists is that, at some point, they need to sacrifice -- or believe that they need to sacrifice -- the artist for the woman, relinquish their ambition to helpmate a husband or raise children or tend a home, to perform the duties required of the traditional feminine roles of wife and mother, basically." This isn't news, but it's always worth repeating and the basis of her support for Babitz.
Profile Image for Carol.
228 reviews
December 9, 2020
This was truly one of the worst books I've ever experienced. I picked it up hoping for some dirt and goss about Hollywood and the 70s. Sadly, that was a very small portion of the book. Other than dropping names, there wasn't much there. There was no "secret history" at all. I'm not sure there was enough here to write a book about, Eve seems like yet another person who's famous for, well, being famous, and very little else. My problem was more with the author. This book was so poorly written. She kept jumping around through time, and what's worse, I never knew who was speaking. Was it Eve? Was it the author? Was it the author reading from someone else's book? The author also had an annoying habit of restating, rewording, and rephrasing. She must have had a word quota she had to meet so she filled the book with extra nonsense. That's my take on the whole book. She sure liked to hear herself talk. This story could have been told in 100 pages but the author inserted herself into the story and it became partially about her, and she also threw in some random book reviews. The whole thing was schizophrenic and not enjoyable at all. I just didn't get the author's sycophantic obsession with Eve. By the end, I was rolling my eyes. Waste of my time.
Profile Image for Denise Spicer.
Author 14 books61 followers
July 11, 2019
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.
253 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Lorri Steinbacher.
1,447 reviews48 followers
January 20, 2019
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
Profile Image for Jennifer Ozawa.
152 reviews67 followers
January 1, 2020
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.

Profile Image for Sally Anne.
563 reviews27 followers
February 20, 2019
Not very deep or original, but very useful in filling in some of the LA scene history.
Profile Image for emilie.
170 reviews8 followers
July 27, 2022
Lili Anolik explores the ups and downs of Eve Babitz’s L.A. stained coming of age through interviews and exchanges with Eve herself and the people surrounding her.

You really get entranced into this book. Honestly. I bought this book because I wanted to know more about Eve before reading any of her novels and I am absolutely glad I did. The introspection we of Babitz youth and older times through the eyes of Lili is simply fascinating. I loved how this book felt like a fanfiction, how the author pourred both truths and theories into this, and didn’t feel ashamed to speculate publicly about an impersonating sensation. I was glued to the page, wanted to know more about every detail. I felt like Anolik’s obsession became mine through her rapid and spontaneous writing. I absolutely loved how this book was built up.

I am also a fan of Mirandi’s passages. I didn’t expect them, but I was so happy when I realized we would actually be there for a while. Her story is as, or maybe even more impressive to me than Eve’s is. To get to visit it a bit was joyfully intriguing.

I have to say the few pictures in here were great. They we directly correlated to the text and were an entire part of the novel in itself. I wanted to see more of them and was satisfied by how pertinent they really were to the biography as a whole, not just a bunch of pictures thrown in there haphazardly.

My only downfall with it: how it skimmed on some parts. I am 20 years old. I do not know about the 80’s much. I would have loved a bit of an introduction on that side, maybe being more precise when introducing a member of Eve’s life of simply informing continually the reader as they go on the hip thing of that time. Sometimes I was really lost and felt a bit disconnected from what was happening.

Overall, a superb biography with great potential.
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