Friday, August 28, 2015

"Enchantment"

I just finished reading "Enchantment", a biography about the actress Audrey Hepburn. I loved Audrey in many of her wonderful movies, especially in her role as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast At Tiffanys". She was such a dear soul, pure enchantment. No other like her.



The book covers her life very well and I was surprised by many facts that it disclosed. It appears to be well researched and written.

Her mother was a cold woman who displayed little affection. Her father abandoned the family and she lost contact with him. Audrey wanted to be a ballerina but World War II caused the family to lose everything and she was certainly a tragic figure of that era. I had forgotten that she was married to Mel Ferrer. Their relationship, however, was both comforting and unsettling to Audrey. They had one son together and the marriage lasted for a long time to 'keep the family together'.

I felt the author, Donald Spoto, delved far too deeply into the making of each and every film that Audrey starred in. But, that was just me. I guess I was more into the personal life of Audrey than a lesson in film making. But, in same frame, one got a look at how each film affected Audrey and the co-stars.

I was fascinated as the woman Audrey became, unfolded on each page. She was pulled into the movie industry by happenstance but gave it her all. She grew in her craft, was never a prima donna but was easy to work with, delightful to cast members, a real lady. I just fell in love with her all over again and must now find some of her best movies on Netflix to watch here at home.

If you have an interest in the movie industry or in Audrey herself then I would recommend this book. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Secretariat

No one has jumped in with a new review so I will go ahead with my next one.  It is about Secretariat, by William Nack....





I think we all have had a vague knowledge of this horse's story, and perhaps many of you have seen the movie now.  But, I wanted to read the book, and I am very glad I did.  This is a difficult book in some ways.  Mr. Nack has an incredible knowledge of racing and sometimes his racing details bog down the story a bit.  It's still impressive that he has included so much between the book's covers, for the information of those who want to know.  There's a good reason for this:  he was a sports reporter during the years Secretariat was racing, and was often in on the background scenes of all that was happening, in a very real way AS it happened.  You don't often get to read a story that is written so "first hand," and that was a treat.  On the other hand, I wanted the narrative to flow with the life of this amazing horse and those around him, and it did for the most part.  Sometimes the statistics were VERY important to the narrative, and for that I am grateful because it helped me understand just how amazing Secretariat was!  I came to love this horse and was very moved by his passing, as so many people were when it happened.  I embraced his triumphs, and loved his personality, and I came to know in a degree, the people who were around him during his life.  It was a long read, but a very good one, and I recommend this wonderfully detailed, heart-felt book!  I am fully convinced that there will never be another horse like him! Kudos to Mr. Nack for putting his very heart into this book!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Enthralling Memoir

My husband checked this book out, read it, and told me I should read it.  He was right.  It was wonderful.

"Growing Up" by Russell Baker is the memoir of his early life.  Born in 1925, he is 90 this year.  He gives a enthralling picture of life in the Depression, first in rural Virginia then in New Jersey and Baltimore.  A life of hardship and poverty.  A life of blissful ignorance of the larger world's problems.

The book won the Pulitzer Prize when it was published in 1982 and it was well-deserving.  Reviews on the back compare his boyhood story to those of Thurber, Mencken and Twain.  It's filled with humor and tragedy, strong women figures and n'er do well uncles, orphans and comics. His writing style is captivating and it draws you thoroughly into his life.

One thing that fascinated my husband was the town in Virginia is very close to where my husband's maternal grandmother's family was from and the town is mentioned in the book.  Baltimore landmarks are familiar to both us since we live outside the city. In fact when his mother remarries its in a town where we shop and go to the library.

Look for this one.  You won't regret reading it.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Me Before You

Yes, I know. Marie posted a great review of two books on Thursday (so please scan down and read those if you haven't.) 

But, I HAVE TO post this review. Right now, while it is fresh on my mind.

My youngest daughter, Susan, kept after me and kept after me to read "Me Before You" and I kept ignoring her pleas. I had lots of other books to read. So, when she, once again, asked me last week to please read it, I broke down and ordered the thing from Amazon for my Kindle.




So, I start reading the Prologue. Okay, it's evidently laying some groundwork. By the end of the first chapter I am thinking, 'why in the world did I spend my money on this book?' Second chapter, maybe a wee bit better but still not getting it with me. But, I hung in there and have just finished it this morning. This is an absolute MUST READ book and I suggest that you don't put it off like I did. 

Lou is a rather different sort of young lady, dressing in funky clothes, working in a cafe with no ambitions in life but to just exist and maybe marry a fellow she's been seeing for seven years, if he ever gets around to asking her. Then she loses her job and as many people do, had trouble finding other employment. Even though she has no experience in this line of work she is hired by a wealthy couple to look after their quadrepeligic son, who is in his thirties. 

Will had led a very exciting and fulfilling life,a lawyer, very adventurous, that is until he is hit by a motorcycle on a London street. Everything he has been or ever wished to be is gone. He is suicidal, depressed and his parents hope that this funky ex-waitress from 'across the tracks' will be able to brighten his spirits, give him a reason to live.

The story is about decisions these two young people have to make. Will teaches Lou to reach outside her small 'box' and experience life while at the same time she is busy trying to get Will outside his depressing life and learning to live again. Is her efforts enough to pull him from his depression, make him want to live? Life in a wheelchair doesn't sound too appealing to him. The choices they made weaves a fascinating, 'can not put it down' sort of book. I state again "I could not put it down".  And, I am willing to bet that you won't be able to either. In the final chapters Lou realizes that each person has to make their own choice of what to do with their life and sometimes it is not what you wish or least expect. 

I warn you, have a box of tissue handy. But, please read it. 

P. S. just found out that there is a sequel to 'Me Before You' coming out Sept 29th. I can't wait.  and a movie is being made of the first book, to be released in 2016. Can't wait for that, either.