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A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.


I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

57. She Always Knew How: Mae West


She Always Knew How: Mae West, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Pages: 303
Finished: Mar. 11, 2009
First Published: Feb. 10, 2009
Genre: biography
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

First sentence:

My first thought was, women need a Bill of Rights. "And then I thought, no, what women need is -- a Bill of Wrongs."


Comments: A very interesting biography of Mae West written by an author who interviewed West extensively near the end of her life. Mae West was a feminist before the word was invented, and a very racy character, who created herself an image based on sex that she always upheld in public. The book covers Mae's entire life from her parents up to and including her death in 1980. Mae lived through most of the 20th century and is a legend today for her risque work both on the stage and as a playwright and her movies that pushed the boundaries of 1930s/40s morals. Mae had a way of saying the tamest thing in such a sexy way it became a double entendre.

While a biography, the book is almost completely written in Mae's own words quoted extensively from interviews with the author and also from a few of her contemporaries such as George Cukor. The author interjects with her own narrative briefly here and there to make a cohesive narrative. I found the book extremely interesting. I love this time period of Hollywood. Though I must say Ms. West does come across as egocentric and narcissistic which surprised me not really knowing anything about the woman herself. One thing I very much enjoyed was every time a play or movie was mentioned the author included a brief synopsis of the plot and since many of these, especially the plays, were unknown to me it was very interesting indeed. I wonder if a book of Mae West's plays has ever been published... I'd certainly like to read them.

The author has written plenty of other biographies on actors/directors of the golden age of Hollywood and I will look out for them in the future. While I always prefer to read auto-biographies, what I look for biographies is an author who respects the subject and doesn't dish dirt nor come up with all sorts of wild (unprovable) theories. Charlotte Chandler has most certainly lived up to my expectations of a good biographer.

3 comments:

  1. This would be interesting to read. I will have to keep my eyes out for it.

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  2. Wonderful review! It sounds quite intriguing.

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  3. She was some kind of woman, that's for sure!

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