Bingo Square: AlabamaPink
In a fairly by-the-numbers biography, Donald Spoto follows Audrey from her childhood in Nazi-occupied Holland, to her years studying dance, her sudden rise to stardom after Gigi and Roman Holiday, her marriages and romantic life, motherhood, and her later work for UNICEF.
I can’t say if this is a good biography of Hepburn or not – in terms of what it covers about her life. I am only vaguely familiar with her personal life after watching a Jennifer Love Hewitt film and have maybe seen one or two of her movies (sorry Ms Hepburn!). But as for writing quality it is a bit lacking. It’s readable enough, but basic, and it definitely drags in parts. It’s also fairly lacking in emotion and doesn’t dig deep into the person she was. Yes, there’s a bit of dissection about her parents’ failing marriage and her absent father, but it all seems quite arms length. It also relies a bit too much on quotes from other people rather than just relating the events and drawing you in.
There are some nice anecdotes about her time on the film sets, but there are times the description of filming (the cast, the crew, the wardrobe people, the lighting!) goes on a bit and it starts to feel more like a university essay than a moving depiction of a cinema icon. The in depth discussion of The Nun’s Story especially dragged for me, even if it did end up having a profound effect on her.
I’d have liked a bit more depth, and more questions asked about her behaviour, especially when it came to her marriages. Why she put up with Mel Ferrer’s antics while doing the play Ondine, for example. She comes across as quite a strong lady, sure of herself enough to say no to people trying to change her image, an attitude that could have hurt her career and she cared not a jot, but not strong enough to tell Ferrer where to go. Why? And she married him! How can you love someone who shows people such disrespect? Did she really have such a low opinion of herself that’s that what she thought she deserved?
The final chapters about her time with UNICEF were very interesting, but sadly too brief. I wonder if there are other biographies of her that I should check out. I’d be intrigued to see the differences in what they choose to relate and leave out.