156 of 164 people found the following review helpful
DON'T EXPECT TOO MUCH,
This review is from: Grace: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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I've given this review two stars (instead of the one I considered) because of the charming pen and ink drawings by Grace that populate many of the pages in this book. The narrative, however, leaves just about everything to be desired. Like so many others, my introduction to Grace was The September Issue. Without effort, simply being herself, she walked away with the film. Sadly, the same cannot be said for this book. Grace is not someone who writes and she isn't someone who reads; that's a pretty lethal combo when it comes to creating an autobiography. Even a co-writer can't create magic with an absence of material. Mostly, this is a book of lists - of models, of photographers, of shoots. But there's very little meat and almost nothing of the woman. One comes away with no real insight into Grace; she's a cipher - a recording secretary, in a way. There's just one notable bit of bitchiness when she takes a page to slam the iconic Polly Mellen in a fashion that is surprising in a book where the comments about almost everyone else are basically bland. The only time she really sparks to life is in the last bit of the book when she launches into a detailed discussion of her cats and her abiding love for felines. The rest of the time, there's plenty of words about traveling here and there, and some small insight into the difference between modeling then (in the late 50s/early 60s when she embarked upon her modeling career and much of the time it was a one-on-one situation with just a photographer and a model, possibly an assistant, too) versus the cumbersome group effort it has become today. One yearns for more in the early sections but it's just not there. Grace's reluctance to reveal herself is palpable. And she succeeds. At the end of the book we know precious little more about her than we do at the beginning. Her secrets remain intact, and what the reader gets is a scattering of drawings and some great photos to study. Grace is, by and large, AWOL.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 15, 2012 12:21:28 PM PST
Suzinne Barrett says:
What you're saying only serves to support the stamp of superficiality on all those working in the fashion world. And like you, I was introduced to Grace Coddington via "The September Issue." Was hoping for so much more but intend to read my Vine copy to form my own opinion. Thanks for yours!
Posted on Nov 20, 2012 8:16:24 PM PST
Outstanding analysis of the book! Indeed, I had comparable sentiments when I heard Coddington interviewed today (11/20/12) on NPR. Though her work is AMAZING on the page, SHE comes across as utterly bland as a person--the adjective "cipher" is spot-on--save for the times when she sounds almost annoyed. But, then, who wouldn't be, having had to deal with Anna the [Venomous] Arachnid for years on end? On the other hand, Grace decidedly is not a minion--she did indeed steal the show in THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE--so no doubt her long-standing symbiosis with VOGUE's self-styled queen of the withering look and dismissive silence has yielded one heck of a a payoff. It seems clear we need a seasoned biographer on the case. Lady Antonia Fraser, please pick up!
Posted on Nov 26, 2012 6:04:42 PM PST
R. Morris says:
I agree with your review. A recent issue of Vogue had an excerpt of this book. I sat down eager to read it, and ended up cancelling my pre-order of the book. I love Grace's work, her style and am sure she led a fascinating life... but the way this is written you would never know it! The excerpt I read seemed like a random assembly of facts with no heart or revelations of character.
Posted on Dec 17, 2012 1:22:00 PM PST
Ed Morgan says:
thanks for the warning
Posted on Jun 2, 2013 9:33:34 PM PDT
Completely agree! I am determined to finish the book- but there are no juicy details! She barely talks about stories.. then she is married .. then she is dating.. but not how she got to those points. I think what is bad is this had to have been edited and someone helping her- and this is what they got out of her? Great woman, GREAT woman, but the book isn't all that cause there isn't much in it!
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