Monday, September 13, 2010

Vintage Books {Me}


Me: Stories of My Life is Katharine Hepburn's 1991 memoirs. I say memoirs rather then autobiography because it is not an autobiography and she was not the sort of person who would write the traditional autobiography. Her writing is wonderfully straight-forward and delightfully non-linear at times. She even addresses one or two chapters to her favourite houses. Her childhood sounds idyllic and marvelously non-traditional and I love her praise for her parents as she explains how they ensured that she would always be thoroughly independent. KH is also most critical of her early years on the stage, trying to make a go of acting and understanding in retrospect why she kept getting fired and took her years to catch a break.
Now, what about the two aspects about KH's life that people would buy her book for? Well, she doesn't write about every single one of her movies, but she does share any good stories she remembers about making movies and not so much about how they furthered her career or the public's reaction. Besides, you wouldn't like her if she wrote like that. She also tells about her relationships with certain people in the biz, especially George Cukor, Mr. Mayer and Howard Hughes (who she says was almost totally deaf but wouldn't admit it). As to her 27 year romance with Spencer Tracy, after mentioning him throughout the book, she devoted the last section of Me to him. There's no gossip or shocking revelations about their relationship. She doesn't even go into great detail about their romance. Instead she writes about what she thought of him as a person and as an actor and also about the kind of the life that they shared, especially towards the end. I think this style of writing makes his death all the more heart breaking.
I wish that she had written more books. She truly did lead a fascinating life by her own rules and must have been an extraordinary character to know.

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