This book is required reading at the National Organization for Offensive Gay Stereotypes (along with my previously reviewed Get Happy), but I didn’t just read it to get the free caftan. I have been obsessed with old Hollywood biographies for a while now, and had heard from several trusted sources that this was one of the best. Now that I’ve read it, I couldn’t agree more. The best biographies offer both juicy details and extensively researched facts, and this book is bursting at the seams with both. Even if you’re not typically interested in biographies and claim not to care about these two megastars, you will find yourself caring within a few dozen pages. It’s that well done.
I actually read this several months ago, but then remembered it over the holiday season, when I visited Paris for the first time with my partner and parents. Admittedly, I am somewhat Julia Child obsessed. I’ve seen the entire ten year run of The French Chef from PBS; watching her as a kid (and reading my Mom’s enormous 60s-style Better Homes and Gardens cookbook) instilled in me a love of cooking (though my given name had a bit to do with that as well, I suspect). Given that, however, this biography is terrific. Even if you’re not Julia-crazed. Even if you’re not much of a cook. Even if you don’t typically read biographies. This one is a real joy.
It has happened. The planets have aligned. My taste for trashy biographies and my bizarre fascination with the Facts of Life girls have merged into one book. The disappointment is that it has been written, but not yet published.
I beg you, publishers. Snap this up. Now. It will be worth it for the Lisa Whelchel dirt alone.
PS: Charlotte, please include some dirt on Lisa Whelchel. Or at least on cousin Geri.
I don’t expect much from trashy biographies. I don’t buy them for artistic merit; I want dirt. I’m also not easily shocked. I have a filthy mouth (in appropriate circumstances, granted), I love John Waters movies, and in my college days I even tolerated a Borders coworker playing entire Frank Zappa albums overnight while we stocked shelves. I am certainly no prude. When I pick up a book like this, I want the sordid, salacious, shocking details.