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See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Excellent book on actress Mary Astor - probably best known from her role as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon and an Oscar winner for supporting actress in 1941's The Great Lie. The book details her early life with an overbearing father and an uninterested mother who she continued to support for many years. Astor struggles to become an actress and an early affair with John Barrymore are detailed. When she discusses several films, she cannot remember the titles and she does not spend much time discussing any of her co-stars but does feel The Maltese Falcon and The Great Lie were some of her best work. She hated the mother roles, as in Meet Me in St. Louis and Little Women. She struggled with alcohol most of her life and had several bad marriages. She seemed to hate acting at several points in her life. Her alcoholism, ill health, and bad relationships made her turn to the Catholic Church and she did seem to find peace and redemption. The book is more of a study into a person's decline and redemption than a book about Hollywood. I was mighty impressed and knowing now what she was struggling with when I see her films, I have a new respect for her.
Not just another actresses' tell-all book. Mary Astor was a good and honest writer with a powerful story. She wrote with an artist's flair for drama and had a wonderful way with words. For example in confronting a holiday without family in the early 1950s, she finally came to terms with her alcoholism and "neediness." She writes (page 319), "It was a good place to say, 'The hell with it,' and blot out Thanksgiving Day and country girl memories of the succulent bird, and families gathered in warmth and love and prayer-- tenth-rate thinking leading inevitably to 100 proof vodka." Her eventual redemption and self-awareness--from an unexpected source--are inspiring.
An absolutely lovely book. I just received it the other day and can't put it down.
One of my very favorite movies is the 30's movie Dodsworth. When I saw it yet again (I never tire of it) a few weeks ago, and again saw the absolute grace and dignity with which Mary Astor handled her role, I thought "I need to learn more about her!". I googled some information, and when I learned she converted to Catholicism to help her deal with her life (as I am doing), I knew I had to have this book.
It's a wonderful autobiography. Mary was a wonderful writer, and I've since learned she's written some more books, both fiction and nonfiction.
I did love this book! Mary Astor proved to be not only a very talented actress but author too. Her autobiography is very, very poignant! She has the ability to bring the reader inside her emotions and thoughts in a very intimate way. There is no way but sympathizing with her. This is a book I will want to read many other times. It became one of my favorites. I truly recommend the reading.
This is an interesting glimpse into old Hollywood, complete with the pushy parents. Mary Astor's father comes off as intolerable and abusive, it's amazing she didn't break with him sooner. Many famous names are mentioned, and the behind the scenes stories hold the reader's interest. On the minus side, the book is somewhat hard to read, as the print size occasionally changes, and the font is not the easiest to read for a long time. Obviously this is a reprint. But it is worth the effort to read the words of someone who was there back when it all started.
Mary Astor wrote an honest autobiography in the 1950's. However, much changed in her life after its publication. She never wrote a revision, so this work misses much of her later years. She is brutally honest about her addictions and not so revealing about the many many men in her life. I found the book to be interesting and informative about the life of Hollywood's greatest leading ladies of the 1930 and 1940. Her last movie was made in 1964 ( Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte) and died apparently penniless. Well worth a read