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My Way of Life Hardcover – October 8, 1971
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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The movie star published a lifestyle guide in 1971, and it is incredible. --Vanity Fair --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
From "Grand Hotel" to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?," Joan Crawford played some of the finest parts Hollywood had to offer, establishing a reputation as the most spectacular diva on the silver screen. Even when the cameras quit rolling, her life never stopped being over-the-top. In "My Way of Life," a cult classic since it was first published in the early 1970's, Crawford shares her secrets. Part memoir, part self-help book, part guide to being fabulous, "My Way of Life" advises the reader on everything from throwing a small dinner party for eighteen to getting the most out of a marriage. Featuring tips on fashion, makeup, etiquette and everything in between, it is an irresistible look at a bygone era, when movie stars were pure class, and Crawford was at the top of the heap. Includes a 16-page photo insert. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Crawford tries to let her (shellacked) hair down, but is out of touch with her targeted, "over the garden fence" audience. She's forever telling her housewife reader to "do without some little luxury" (like bread, perhaps?) to save up for something nice...such as a full length, three-sided mirror for her dressing room, a bartender and maid for her dinner party, or suit jackets lined in the same pattern of silk as her blouse. (The only blouse, it seems, that ever goes with that particular suit. Daunting.) Here's my favorite, worthless tip, this one on buying a new dress: "When you're ready to say yes to a purchase, wrap it up, pay for it - but don't go home until you're sure you have exactly the right accessories. You should be ready to emerge in your new ensemble the next day!" Thanks, Joan. We'll manage.
Joan also wants us to know what a dedicated actress she is/was. "At times I've deliberately gained weight," she muses. "I did for [comeback role] Mildred Pierce because I thought it suited the part." (Yeah, right!) And if a scene "goes wrong" in rehearsal, (as it does on page 121), she's willing to improvise if everyone will just stand back and get out of her way. "I've got it," she insists. "Let's shoot, let's get it on film, because I may never be able to recapture that one brief second again." Whenever you're ready, Miss Crawford.
Joan also rhapsodizes over how devoted third husband Alfred Steel was. (You'll have to look elsewhere for recountings of the drunken brawls and blackened eyes.) Why, Alfred Steele doesn't even need Joan Crawford to be movie star glamorous for him; all that mumbo-jumbo witchcraft just gets in the way! After a wave knocks Joan over on a Jamaican beach, Alfred cups her bare, tanned face in his hands as saltwater streams off them, sighing, "You're the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my life." ("I knew then what he loved in me," she remembers. "That was his private Joan.") The question I put to the court is: So why did she ever wear makeup again? (And believe me, there's a long chapter devoted to makeup.)
I could go on and on, but the truth is that I'd rather be reading MY WAY OF LIFE than talking about it. It's my own, private Joan.
Dearest", (just like the rest of you--- LOL!) so all I knew about this Hollywood icon was from an
admittedly one-sided autobiography of an allegedly abused
daughter. In Christina Crawford's book, she says that Joan
Crawford used scheduling, planning, and military discipline
every day so that life would hold no surprises, and so her
mother could control every second of it- almost like an OCD
type of ritualistic behavior so that bad things won't happen.
This book, if nothing else, totally validates that part of her
daughter's book. I am telling you the truth, this woman
PLANNED EVERYthing, right down to the second, and she BRAGS
about it. I don't think she ever did a spontaneous thing in her
entire adult life. Joan Crawford gives us advice on how to eat,
how to talk to your mate, how to sleep, and even how to STAND, for goodness sake. If you think I'm exaggerating, even slightly, PLEASE buy the book. The sad part is that you can really tell she means well. Here are a few examples of her thoroughness, almost word for word, from the book. On eating: NEVER have two foods of the same color on your table- for instance, mashed potatoes and cauliflower, or strawberries and tomatoes, because it doesn't look right. On serving food at a dinner party: It is an insult, nay, a crime, to serve your guests food on plates right out of the cupboard, as there's nothing easier than having your MAID stack said plates in the oven for a few hours before the party commences. If you don't do this, you are, at best, a mediocre to poor hostess. On storing clothing: she always hung her dresses on satin hangers (NEVER wire ones- and if you don't know that little tidbit, you haven't been paying attention since 1978), and she always pins gloves that match exactly to the hangers, along with scarves,etc., so she'll know where to find them. Here's one that captures her way of thinking in a nutshell: after she divorced her second husband, actor Franchot Tone, she called her maid and instructed her to handpick all the monogrammed linens free of the letter "T", since she no longer carried his last name. The maid had literally picked thread that formed the letter "T" out of hundreds of towels, handkerchiefs, sweaters, you name it (Ms. Crawford believed in monogramming everything). While the maid was working on an extra large towel one day, and listening to the radio to try to keep her sanity, she heard an urgent newsbreak- Joan Crawford had just eloped and married another actor- a man named Phillip TERRY! That meant- you guessed it- ALL the monograms would have to be resewn. The poor maid lost it at this point, according to Joan herself, and ran down the hall screaming "I quit! I quit!", over and over, until she had to be forcibly restrained. When Joan heard about it, she chuckled -- and hired a new maid. Here, in parting, are a few tips from Joan. DON'T stand with your feet together. Always put one slightly in front of the other. This aligns your spine and makes you look more... well,I never did figure out more what. Tip #2: if your husband pumps gas all day, draaag all the details of his day out of him, no matter WHAT he says. Borrow a book on the manufacturing and dispensing of gasoline, from your local library, so you can be "on his level" when he tells you all about his day. Pretend to be interested, because there's a woman at his job during the day that really IS. Finally, never let your husband see you exercise or groom yourself- make him believe that you have a naturally svelte body, pretty face, and perfectly coiffed hair. Joan once said- with an air of nostalgia,yet- that HER husband, Al Steele, former Vice-President of Coca-Cola, and later Chairman of the Board of Pepsi (with Joan Crawford sitting in on all of his meetings, and raising her manicured hand when she had a question, just like the fellas), NEVER saw a curler, or a dust rag. She said (and I really DO quote) "I hope he never knew such things existed!" Final helpful hint, average housewife to average housewife: DON'T EVER let him see you shopping for mundane, domestic products. Make him think that soap, detergent, toilet paper, and so on,"MAGICALLY SPRING, READY- MADE, RIGHT OUT OF THE CUPBOARD!" How's that for keeping the romance alive? I cannot convey how bizarre her thinking is in one short book review. I tried to tell my brother about how zany it was, and he was rather non-commital when I gave him a brief synopsis, and then solicited his opinion-but after I talked him into reading it, we discussed the book, he with a practiced look of concern. He said someone reslly should have gotten her to a psychiatrist, and then he laughed ,hysterically, for a few solid minutes. I should add, for the record, that my brother is in his final year of completing a graduate degree IN PSYCHOLOGY, so he's seen 'em all....all,that is, until he met "Mommie Dearest"......