Like many of us, I grew up watching Shirley Temple movies, mostly on television -- no longer in theaters, they were classics in the 50s and early sixties.
I found Ms. Black to be a good writer, clear and concise, and as classy as I expected her to be. No "Mommie Dearest" here, although toward the end she is honest, but not bitter, about how the money she earned for the many, many movies (far more movies than I realized) had never made it to her adulthood as they were legally supposed to. Rather than add bitterness to an already difficult situation, though, she chose to let it go, and move on. Way to go, Shirley. Not sure I could have been so considerate -- but then again, ever the optimist and considering everyone's feelings, she had a family she was not willing to lose, and children who needed their grandparents, and uncles. Nothing was done with malice, at least not by her family. Any greed by the studio and/or government is also allowed to slide as water under the bridge. She worked her heart out, and she loved it, she considered that payment enough. At the time she was able to take that approach, she was in a good place in her life, and felt rich beyond words. Good for her, she earned the right to move forward.
I was appalled at how studio executives treated her as she moved forward in her adult career, as a woman in general, and indeed, as who she was -- an American icon! Sometimes I think there is no level low enough that some men won't stoop to... Again, she mentions it as an annoyance, but "part of the business" she had to learn to deal with. No sexual harassment claims for her -- though she certainly would have been justified!
And how sad I was to read the story of her first marriage, and how she is also able to rise above that without the recriminations of so many others who have lived with the nightmares she describes. Angelic is the only way to describe her.
But the accomplishments! I can't wait to read the second part of this autobiography, that I see listed in amazon.com's catalog. I had no idea what an accomplished woman Shirley Temple Black is -- probably the most accomplished woman in American history! The "About the Author" piece in the back of the book just blew me away! And in all my years of feminist study, nobody mentions Shirley Temple Black...I wonder why? Because she was a movie star (with a filmography that apologizes to no one!)? Because she took her husband's name? Because she loved being a homemaker and taking care of her children? Fal-de-ral and fiddle-dee-dee!
Yes, she was appointed as Ambassador to Ghana by President Gerald R. Ford in 1974, and many people know that; but among many, many other accomplishments in this arena she was later appointed Ambassador and U.S. Chief of Protocol, the first woman in U.S. history to hold this position. Where is her work? I want to read her work!
I am astounded at our ignorance about this woman who traveled the journey from the depression through Word War II and beyond spreading grace, charm and joy everywhere she went. I wish she had said more about the war, and her take on the holocaust and the Nazis, but I'm not surprised she didn't bring it up. It's not in her nature to focus on the negative. Leave that to women like me.