Fans of the singer/actress/director will devour all 600 pages of this book, and even those less enamored will admit that it takes a hefty volume to do justice to the tangled psyche of a star as legendary for her temperament as her talent. Anne Edwards, who has infused the celebrity bio with class in a dozen previous books, does her usual thorough research and manages to combine plenty of juicy anecdotes with a thoughtful, generally favorable evaluation of the super-diva's career, from early fame in Funny Girl
to labors of love like Yentl.
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran celeb biographer Edwards's life of Barbara Streisand is a sterling example of diva lit. The book is energized by the author's love/hate relationship with her subject. Streisand's well-known story is recounted in compelling and evocative detail, from her escape from an emotionally withholding mother, through her early stardom in Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly!, to her current status as film auteur and pop icon. Edwards (Vivien Leigh) portrays a performer convinced of her own star quality even as a beginner?stealing the Broadway show I Can Get It for You Wholesale in a small part and battling for control of her movies with veteran directors like William Wyler, Gene Kelly and Vincente Minnelli (and winning as often as not)?and generally turning every song, performance and motion picture into an ode to herself. Streisand has not endeared herself to colleagues. Walter Matthau is quoted as calling her "a boa constrictor" and, in her acknowledgments, Edwards cites "over a hundred people" who spoke to her but did not want their names used. Throughout, Edwards mixes breathless awe at Streisand's talent and indomitable willpower with obvious contempt for what the author sees as the actress's narcissism, arrogance and lack of concern for others. Thus, Edwards can condemn "the extraordinary meanness of the press" only 20 pages after thumping Streisand for her "strikingly egotistical manner" in taking sole credit for The Prince of Tides. In the end, the book seems a lot like Streisand herself: many times far from lovable, but never less than fascinating. The book includes full listings of Streisand's film, recording, TV and theatrical credits, as well as photos, not seen by PW.
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