From Publishers Weekly
Ordinarily, readers might question the logic of a new tome on a celebrity who already has at least six full-length biographies (and four self-penned books) devoted to her life, but Elizabeth Taylor has never been ordinary. Readers will easily understand why tabloids have chronicled her escapades for six decades: her roller-coaster life could easily read like a high-sheen soap opera (the eight marriages, two Oscars, suicide attempts and innumerable life-threatening illnesses that led to years of alcohol and prescription drug addiction before she became the first celebrity to check into the Betty Ford Clinic). But Taraborrelli, a sympathetic biographer, rescues the subject by looking for psychological and emotional motives behind her actions. Taraborrelli can be overprotective of Taylor (he notes her reviews for Cleopatra
were "so vicious that they are not even worth memorializing here") but more often, he's a superb storyteller who is also an enthusiastic fan. The book is a fitting tribute to a woman who has lived and loved with abandon but who found real passion and purpose when she embraced AIDS activism in 1985, helping to destigmatize the disease and creating her own AIDS foundation. Taraborrelli's chatty prose (and bite-size chapters) perfectly complement Taylor's glamorous life of highs and lows to create an irresistible and inspiring tale. Photos not seen by PW
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The breathtaking photograph on this book's cover makes it clear why no one will ever forget Elizabeth Taylor. And if her sheer beauty isn't enough, there are the details of her wild, flamboyant, and excruciatingly painful life. Taraborrelli, known for his unauthorized biographies of such celebrities as Diana Ross and Princess Grace, has done his research (or from his acknowledgments, his researchers have done their research). Certainly, there are what seem like fresh tibits of information here from a wide variety of surprising sources--family friends, guests at the Taylor-Nicky Hilton wedding (her first), and even Debbie Reynolds, from whom Elizabeth stole Eddie Fisher. But the saga of Elizabeth Taylor is practically myth at this point, so it's hard to add anything new except around the edges. Moreover, Taylor has written two autobiographies of her own, and without the cooperation of so many key figures--Taylor herself, her children, Sybil Burton--Taraborrelli isn't able to generate any insider feel to his account. (He does thank Taylor for not actively deterring people from speaking to him.) Still, despite all those built-in shortcomings, it's hard not to keep turning pages when the story you're reading is so filled with larger-than-life loves, scandals, tragedies, and, of course, stars, stars, stars. As with Lee Server's recent Ava Gardner
(2006), Taraborrelli's take on Liz reminds us what movie stardom is all about. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved