Book Review - Ginger Rogers
One of my goals for the new year is to read at least 2 books per month. Along with that, I thought it'd be nice for both my writing and analyzing/critical thinking skills to post a review of most of the books I read. So - here goes!
"Ginger, My Story" by Ginger Rogers
This book combines two things I've long been fascinated with - biographies and movie stars. One of my favorite things as a youth was to randomly wander the biography aisle at the library looking for new and interesting people to read about. Even today I often gravitate towards the biography sections in the bookstores. I found a sad thing though as I grew up. Biographies were no longer guaranteed to be wholesome and compelling. I started to realize that many people's lives weren't as "clean" as children's literature made them seem. After taking home books only to give them up in disgust a little ways into them, I started scanning books while still in the library. That led to even more disgust (particularly with movie stars!) and a decision to put away that genre for awhile. (unless it came from a really reputable source or was about a very holy person)
Why this long intro? Well, as you know (and if you don't, you should! ;) ) Ginger Rogers is a movie (and Broadway) star. When I picked the book up at a library sale, I noticed that Ginger specifically stated in the sleeve that this was not a "tell-all" dirty secrets book. Since the book was very cheap and it's a subject I love, I took a chance and bought it. And I'm glad I did! She truly meant what she said and I found it to be, overall, a relatively clean book. Coming from a woman who was married 5 times and had numerous other romances, that's something! Her marriages and romances are covered in the book, but tend to be handled very delicately - never too explicit. She also never mentions how far her romances went leaving you room to imagine them as innocent as you please.
One of the best parts of the book is the "behind-the-scenes" look you get into the movies. She has at least one paragraph talking about every single movie she was apart of. It may be something as simple as a short comment regarding who directed it and the plot line, or as expansive as giving insight into other actors and funny happenings on the set. She also handles it with grace. You won't find her ratting on other actors or difficult directors - she loved working with just about everyone. And those who did rub her wrong - you're really not going to find an expose on all their supposed sins. She comes across as a fun, energetic person with a bubbly personality and an occasional sense of the prankster. The book is filled with interesting and funny memories about actors, sets, and pranks.
The one thing I didn't enjoy as much was the sometimes heavy handed way she talked about her religion - Christian Science. Most of the references to her religion come when someone gets sick (and they're healed through a certain kind of prayer) or when she needs wisdom with a major decision. There are about half a dozen or so in depth explanations of healings attributed to her religion. While she never put out a call or plea, it felt like she was advocating and promoting her religion throughout her story.
Overall, it was a very good book with a fascinating look into old Hollywood and the old movie stars - while at the same time maintaining a gracious tone and mostly clean stories. I would definitely recommend this book if you'd like a peek into Hollywood in the 30's and 40's and Ginger Roger's life in particular.