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Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies Hardcover – December 12, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0061241505 ISBN-10: 0061241504

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061241504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061241505
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.5 x 14.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,437,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Similar in approach to a graphic novel, this biography-in-collage tackles the life of Ziegfeld Follies star Doris Eaton. Each page offers a wild mix of illustrations, doodles, photos and memorabilia from Eaton's archives, accompanied by handwritten text outlining her fascinating life, which comes across like something out of the musical Gypsy. Born in 1904 to a theatre-crazed Virginia family, Eaton was cast in New York's famous Follies at age 14, appeared in numerous silent films, worked for years as a dance instructor and earned her college degree at age 88. New York Times contributor Redniss's surrealist scrapbook approach is striking and unique, captivating readers by twining simple, evocative text with a stunning array of images, splaying words at all angles across the page; though this slows reading, the forced pace gives readers more opportunity to appreciate the book's charms. A worthy experiment in the genre, the visual approach takes precedence over a considered analysis of Eaton's life and career, but interview material with the vivacious showgirl survivor grounds the story. Appropriately, it's an elaborate (and, in the case of the forthcoming limited edition, pricey) spectacle heavy on opulent ocular flash, lighter on substance, and perfect for fans of the Follies.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Striking and unique. . . captivating readers by twining simple, evocative text with a stunning array of images.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“With Century Girl, Lauren Redniss creates an entirely new genre of biography.” (Nylon magazine)

“Lauren Redniss takes a graphically provocative approach in telling [Doris Eaton Travis’s] story.” (Daily News)

“My favorite new book this year. . . a visually dazzling melange. . . unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.” (Slate (best books of 2006 pick))

“Not only did Doris Eaton Travis break records for accomplishment and humanity, she also had great hair and shoes.” (Isaac Mizrahi)

“The opposite of a page-turner: it’s a page-stopper, a page-savorer, in short: an unmitigated delight.” (Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences)

“Doris Eaton is the darling of Broadway, a New York treasure.” (Nils Hanson, National Ziegfeld Club)

“I wish Lauren Redniss would write and illustrate my biography in the dreamy, luminous way she did Doris Eaton Travis’s.” (Maira Kalman, author and illustrator)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I picked it up as a light read at the beach, and found it an entertaining book for that purpose.
Laurel F. Parker
Highly recommend this book for its graphic content even if you aren't interested in the history which is very interesting by the way!
MemeG
Lauren Redniss' Century Girl is a work of art that tells the story of a remarkable woman, Doris Eaton Travis.
Jeffrey Yamaguchi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. Fishburn VINE VOICE on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything about this vivacious book gives me a thrill. From the life and times of Doris Eaton herself (my latest and greatest role model - Please, God, let me live so long and be so grand!) to Ms. Redniss' swell and funky collaged interpretations of it, these are book dollars well-spent. Century Girl is a BIG, juicy tome of a book with a fabulous and sturdy library binding and thick glossy pages.

Whether you're a fan of cutting edge book design, collage, the 1920's, or the Ziegfield Follies, do your coffee or bedside table a sweet favor and grace it with this book before another week passes you by. And don't forget the tables at your Aunties' and your best girlfriends'.

This is a book to give anyone you're really crazy about.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By LKP on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is an engaging blend of art journal, visual bio, and time-travel archive. Although the book documents the life of a bygone

Ziegfeld Folly-dolly, it is really a prime example of how a nearly-forgotten pile of clippings and ephemera can be turned into a fascinating

bit of visual magic. The author/artist shows a strong affinity and tenderness for her subject, and yet she breathes new (vibrant) life into the story of Doris Eaton Travis; and creates a fascinating visual diary

in the bargain. Although the target audience for this book is probably theatre buffs and historians, I would suggest that many of my "tribe" who love art journals, altered books, and mixed media artwork will find it to be full of ideas. Visually-fascinating and engaging.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Yamaguchi on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lauren Redniss' Century Girl is a work of art that tells the story of a remarkable woman, Doris Eaton Travis. It is visually stunning -- the colors and art/photos/clippings and presentation make the cleverly inked biographical words LIVE on the page. And though longevity is one of the book's hooks -- "100 years in the life..." -- it is really about LIVING life, really, truly living life. It's a very unique experience reading this book -- you open a page and the gorgeous, artistic presentation really draws your eyes. You soak it all in, and then you read the words. As you read the words, you take in the art in a new way, and the words and the art combine to unfold the story in a really wonderful way. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William F. George, Jr. on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies is a new order of biography. Lauren Redniss uses hand-written text as an artistic element to guide the eye through the evocative images she has created using photo-collage and line drawings. The result is a visually stunning tour of the extraordinary life of Doris Eaton Travis

The book chronicles the life of Norman, Oklahoma, resident and University of Oklahoma graduate Doris Eaton Travis. The book follows Travis and her siblings, once known as the Eatons of Broadway, from their lives as child actors, to their success in theater and early films, and ultimately to their sad and often tragic fates.

Travis alone was able to leave show business behind. She had the strength to adapt herself when circumstances demanded; from dancer, to entrepreneur, to book-keeper on a horse ranch, to college graduate at 88 years old. She returned to the Broadway stage at the age of 94 and recieved an honorary doctorate at 100. Her's is a story of reinvention and ultimately of success.

Lauren Redniss teaches at the Parson's School in New York City. Her work is often seen on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, which nominated her for the Pulitzer Prize. She is currently writing a biography of Marie Curie, due out in the fall.

This book is a work of art from cover to cover. Redniss knows her subject well and the story is told largely in Travis' own words. It is the author's unique, artistic approach that brings this fascinating story to life so vibrantly and with such immediacey.

In one section of the book, for example, Redniss discusses Travis' sister Mary Eaton's beauty, and the eagerness with which men gave her expensive gifts.
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MomtoSix on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have you ever looked through an old school yearbook where handwritten script accompanies carefully cropped pictures to make art? My grandma's yearbook from 1918 was like this. So is this gem by Lauren Redniss. The text and the artful images tugged at my heart and had me reading anxiously onward. It is as much a journey through this past century as it is a tribute to one remarkable lady. This was worth every cent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samantha Glasser VINE VOICE on July 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
I knew of Doris Eaton Travis because she was the oldest living follies dancer, and because she danced at age 100 on the New Amsterdam stage. (Footage of her dancing can be seen on Broadway: The American Musical). As an avid fan of all entertainment from the turn of the century, I was naturally interested in this book.

Lauren Redniss uses an artistic, scrap-book style to approach Doris' life, and uses background information, news articles, interviews with her, and photos of her life to paint the picture. The font is the same one they use on the cups at Chipotle, so it looks like scribbly handwriting with different sized letters and wavy lines. It has a lot of information, but it does not go in depth about any one area of Doris' life. It does give some basic background information about Ziegfeld and Arthur Murray for those that don't already know so it is a good introductory book.

Maybe now that Doris has passed, a more complete biography will be written about her life. Until then, this book is great eye candy.
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