Becky Spratford's Reviews > The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick

The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O'Meara
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it was amazing

Three Words That Describe This Book: biography/memoir mashup, lost history, impassioned.

This book is a work of memoir as much as it is an extremely well researched and compelling look at a woman whose contribution to the history of filmmaking has been lost, and it was lost almost exclusively because she was a woman.

So yes, the #MeToo issues here ring true both in the story of Patrick, a female horror film maker in the past and in O'Meara's own story as a horror filmmaker today, but this book is more than the #MeToo issues.

O'Meara not only meticulously digs out the history of Patricks life [and she had to do some heavy lifting here], a history that is utterly fascinating in and of itself, but she is also to show sympathy for Patrick and draw parallels to her own experiences decades later in the same industry. O'Meara seemly weavers her personal experiences into the narrative of actively excavating Patrick's life without intruding upon Patrick's own story.

Her narration is engaging and honest. She leaves no stone unturned and makes sure the reader know this, not to brag, but rather, to illustrate how difficult it was [and is] to be a woman of great skill in the genre movie industry.

I enjoyed how O'Meara explains and recounts her meticulous and circuitous research process. So much of how she found the long buried and purposely hidden history of Patrick's work, the how she had to tackle the research process in such an unconventional way, was not only enjoyable to read, it added depth to the story of Patrick's life while making the book itself more engrossing. We are learning about Patrick and following O'Meara on her personal journey of writing the book and figuring her own life out.

This book would be good if it was a straight biography of a fascinating woman, but it is AMAZING and rightfully making many of 2019's best lists because of how O'Meara included both the process of her laborious research and adding her own experience to the final product.

This is one of those books that the less you say to someone when you hand it to them the better. The title and cover pique people's interest, but them just add that it is about Patrick and O'Meara, it is about the horror film industry past and present, it is about the difficulties of researching those the world really didn't want people to remember, and it about restoring the history of a genius.

Readalikes: There are many different ways readers might want to go here.

For more women in horror-- MONSTER SHE WROTE by Kroger and Anderson

For more women in the early days of Animation at Disney including Patrick-- THE QUEENS OF ANIMATION by Holt

For more about the Black Lagoon Movies start with THE CREATURE CHRONICLES by Weaver or any of the materials O'Meara suggests in her book and bibliography

For more books [fiction and nonfiction] about the forgotten history of women there are so many options. This Goodreads list is a good place to start:
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Reading Progress

July 2, 2019 – Started Reading
July 2, 2019 – Shelved
September 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

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