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  • What A Woman

    I had heard of Bette Davis, to be honest what sentient human hasn't? However, I knew little about her and having watched Feud and Susan Sarandon's epic portrayal of her I was intrigued to find out more about the woman separate from her roles. I was not expecting to find such a tumultuous life or such a dedication to creating the best films she could. I was particularly interested in all the background fighting Bette had to do with the studio system to be in control of her own career, absolutely illuminating. There is no doubt that she could be a "difficult woman" but how much of that is just simply because of the times is hard to judge. Certainly I can't help but think if she was working now that she would be seen simply as a strong role model for women around the world. I am sure that a lot of her troubles stemmed simply from the censorship of the Studio System and her desire to just simply act in varied roles and not be typecast in to this one type of role that the Studio seemed to think she was only good for. Grace May Carter is clearly sympathetic to Bette but she doesn't gloss over her flaws and faults and lets the reader make their own opinion of the woman behind the star. I couldn't help but feel that there was a lot more to some of the events that were not covered in the book but it certainly gives you a good start in learning about both the actress and the way that Hollywood functioned (to be honest I suspect it likely still has a lot of this going on but in a less open and more insidious way). Definitely well worth a read if you have any interest in the Golden Age of Hollywood. This review has been a long time coming. I actually read this book between the 7th and 8th August 2020 so my memory is a bit foggy about all the plot lines. Fortunately, I have a notebook where I jot some initial thoughts on the book and an overall ranking so between the book blurb and that I did have a reasonable handle on what I thought at the time of reading.

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