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Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War Paperback – January 8, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To pursue her dream to cover wars as a photojournalist, Kogan moved to Paris upon graduation from Harvard in 1988. Pretty and petite, with a sharp eye for good-looking, virile colleagues who, incidentally, could help her career, she embarked on a series of adventures that she breezily chronicles with a somewhat disingenuous na?vet?. Although her publisher compares her to Christiane Amanpour, readers may find more similarities with Candace Bushnell in these episodic vignettes describing both her far-flung assignments and intimate relationships with colleagues. She traveled with Pascal to Afghanistan and Pierre to Amsterdam; Julian helped her in Zimbabwe, but forbade further intimacies; Doru was with her in Romania. When she met Paul, her husband-to-be, Kogan's commitment to photojournalism waned: she blames her distaste on the wartime horrors she witnessed. Calling photojournalists vultures who feed on other people's misery, she conflates paparazzi with photojournalists, expressing disgust at their role in Princess Diana's fatal accident. Upon her return with Paul to the U.S., she began a new career as assistant producer for NBC's Dateline, which she eventually left to become a full-time mother. Kogan's swiftly paced story easily holds the reader's interest as she moves from her carefree days as an aspiring photojournalist to the responsibilities and dilemmas facing a working mother. First serial rights to Talk magazine in the February issue should boost interest in this sassy debut. First serial to Talk. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at The Writers Shop. (Jan. 25)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Christiane Amanpour meets Melissa Banks! So says the publicist. Actually, Kogan is a top photojournalist who recounts her coverage of the world's hot spots while battling discrimination in the ranks.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375758682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

1966-1966: Born in Boston, MA; moved to Adelphi, MD six months later. Allegedly.

1966-1970: The preschool years; fuzzy memories of hippies, astronauts.

1970-1978: Moved from Adelphi to Potomac, MD. Attended flower-shaped elementary school that had no walls; first writing award; weird obsession with Jonestown massacre.

1978-1981: Hormones.

1981-1984: Gigantic public high school; reams of angsty poetry; first pieces published in Seventeen.

1984-1988: The college years, which coincided with the crack/AIDS years: mugged at gunpoint unrelentingly, mated cautiously; made films, shot photos, wrote articles for the school paper, performed in school plays and one film, Key Exchange; rejected by every creative writing course in the Harvard catalogue.

1988-1992: The croissant/photojournalism years; stored clothes, personal items in Paris, France, while parachuting in from conflict to conflict (Afghanistan, Israel, Romania, Zimbabwe, the USSR, etc.) Won awards, had exhibitions; images published in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, L'Express, Libération, Géo, Stern, etc.

1992-1998: Moved from Moscow to New York; produced TV for ABC then NBC News; got married, had a couple of babies, won an Emmy, inexpertly juggled work and kids; loudly whined for subsidized daycare, secretly pined to be a writer.

1998-now: Wrote bestselling Shutterbabe, followed by unpublishable drivel, followed by Between Here and April, Hell is Other Parents, and the New York Times bestselling The Red Book; published essays in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, More, Slate, Paris Match, O, and others; shot photo assignments; produced and shot a documentary in Pakistan for CNN in the wake of 9/11; became a columnist for The Financial Times; performed live on stage with The Moth, Afterbirth, Six Word Memoir, and Eve Ensler's tribute to Anita Hill; adapted Hell is Other Parents for the stage; wrote several screenplays and a TV pilot that were never produced; watched Shutterbabe (the big and small-screen versions) languish in development hell; had another baby; lost appendix, father, Upper West Side home, bearings, socks, sanity, and several nouns; found Harlem, yoga, and occasional serenity. But not the socks. Or the whatchamacallit. Nouns.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Ellis on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I really don't understand all these glowing reviews. The small blurb in the "New Yorker" had this about right---something to the effect that there is little value in a memoir exhibiting self-obsession without self-awareness. Imagine that this was written by a male photo-journalist, and entitled, say, "Photostud." The narrator brags about his numerous "conquests" and "seductions" and writes in detail about the number of women he beds while covering exciting wars in exotic far-off places. He informs the reader that in college he "practically majored in the sport (of seduction)." He names his chapters not after the locations they purport to be about, but after the women with whom he is having sex at the time. He prides himself in the fact that he is able to seduce women with live-in boyfriends, but draws the line at married women. This would generate ridicule, at best, in the unlikely event it was even published, but this in reverse is what Ms. Kogan presents to us as an account of her relatively short career as a photojournalist. I was initially interested in the book as a feminist viewpoint on a notoriously male-dominated profession, but here the emphasis is definitely on the "babe" and not the journalist. The author ventures to Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Romania and the USSR without the faintest notion of the politics, culture, history, or language of the countries she visits, and worse, seems proud of it. One comes from this book without any sense of where she stands on the issues behind the news events she photographs, and convinced that she could not care less about the people or places she visits, except for the men she beds. For example, in Afghanistan, she is led off the beaten track to pee by a nameless mujahideen, who steps on a mine and has his leg almost blown off. It has to be amputated.Read more ›
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76 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Kirill Pankratov on March 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a literary theme, "adventures in love and war" is a timeless subject, allowing infinite variations, fascinating nexus of extremes in human relations, and life's game of chance.
Alas, "Shutterbabe" does not risk belonging to the best of this genre.
I wouldn't hold against the author her boasting of sexual exploits, never missing an attempt to seduce surrounding men from their girlfriends, or even for naming chapters after her casual lovers. All this can add spice and fullness to the narrative. The problem is that there is little else beside self-absorbed chatter, looking more like a reminiscence of a romp during an extended spring break vacation than a credible journalistic work.
As a young girl just out of college, she was expected at first to know little about the places she planned to visit. But it almost seems she makes a point of deliberately staying clueless throughout her travels. In Zimbabwe, where she went specifically to see elephant poachers being hunted down by special military squads, she find herself totally unprepared in the middle of nowhere, until being rescued by Australian soldiers. May be if she wasn't so busy sleeping with other women's boyfriends, she could at least learn something about the regional geography and what to put in her backpack.
Her version of feminism, expounded at length throughout the book, sounds more like a trivial egotism rather than a principled position. She expects as a given support, comfort and sex from men she encounters when she needs it, but is never too long to resort to petulant tirades in the "male chauvinist pigs" fashion whenever things turn out not exactly to her liking.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is far from being a typical account by a photojournalist of her experiences - and that's quite unfortunate especially given the interesting locations where the author worked. To be blunt, this book is a poorly written combination of a tawdry romance novel and a mediocre travel-log.
What disappointed me most is that while Kogan traveled to places like the Israel, Afghanistan, Romania and Africa all while major news events were occurring, she spends little time discussing the political situation and her craft. Rather, in the first two thirds of the text, in practically every few pages she describes her very frequent sexual encounters with a series of different men she just met in more far detail than necessary. One of these worth mentioning is that after describing her lastest fling, she writes of how her next assignment is to photograph IV drug users for a story about AIDS. Quite a transition. But does she get it?? In addition, she spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the poor living and hygenic conditions during her assignments rather than the subject matter.
Perhaps more disturbing is that while Kogan is doing her best to portray herself as a very driven liberated feminist, she also details several instances of being seriously beaten and/or date-raped by men she is involved with, inaddition to frequent instances of verbal abuse by her employers. Yet she stays with them. She seems to miss the point completely.
It appears that Kogan wrote this book mainly as therapy to purge her memory of past mistakes. After recently reading The Bang Bang Club, an excellent account of photojournalists in South Africa, this book is a real disappointment. If your looking for a good account of photojournalism, this is not it.
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