This was the March pick of my book club and I went into it with much trepidation. I don’t read a lot of memoirs, and I don’t care about fashion sooo take what I say with those grains of salt. I did NOT like this book. Here is the paragraph that I have selected to illustrate the reasons I didn’t like it.
“Despite all the drama, the photograph he took of Tina lounging on the sofa surrounded by parasols was not modern at all. He had created theatrical pools of lights, which gave the portrait an incredibly sad and haunting quality. The next year, a sever stroke left Beaton semiparalyzed until he died in 1980. It was probably his last great picture. Tina died in 1992 from AIDS complications. She was the first woman I knew of who succumbed ot the terrible disease. In fact I had no idea up until then that it was even possible for women to contact AIDS. In 1975 I paid my second visit to Jamaica with Norman Parkinson.”
In one paragraph we are in 1975, 1980, and 1992. Wha? And the thing to me that was most interesting, what it was like to live through the onslaught of AIDS in a time of misinformation and fear, is merely a blip before we go back to more fashion name-dropping. Yawn. I struggled to get through this one, and it mostly just made me either mad, or bored. I was determined to finish it before our meeting, because that is the kind of person I am, so I angrily speed read three fourths of it in one sitting. That actually made me like it a little more, because then I fell into her style of storytelling and wasn’t as bothered by the complete lack of narrative thread. This book includes some fashion photos, and Coddington’s pen and ink drawing which were neat to see, but that is not enough to redeem the book for me.
If you enjoy memoirs and fashion you may like this read but if the thought of high fashion makes your head droop, skip this one.