This concise and straight forward book about the life and career of one of the most photographed women in film history really bring Audrey Hepburn to life.
While not as detailed as some of the other books about her life that I have read, Donald Spoto really manages to capture what she was like as a woman as opposed to the film star that many people from around the world fell in love with.
From her difficult childhood and surviving the war (even if it was in a terrible state) to her small film roles and beyond to her glittering career and humanitarian work – no stone is left unturned.
What is brilliant about this book is how much of her voice is used in it as well as the respect and care Spoto has for the subject that he has written about. But at times it can also seem as though he is being slightly dismissive of her achievements and about why she was the way she was – which although could be because of the conciseness of the book but it can also seem a bit cold in places too.
However, I did enjoy the fact that he spent a lot of time discussing The Nun’s Story – which compared with Breakfast at Tiffany’s or other films affectionately remembered seems to have become slightly forgotten about as time has gone on. It is clear from quotes from friends and family used by Spoto that this film was her proudest achievement in her career and a role that many felt close to her own character – particularly after filming.
It is also filled with plenty of stories and quotes from family and colleagues that I had never read before and is a refreshing take on her life through those who knew and remember her best.
Although it is not the most detailed or in depth examination of her life that I have read, it does offer her fans another perspective of her life that won’t change their opinion of her but rather leave them feeling like they understand her slightly better – not an easy thing to achieve in a book.
A fascinating if occasionally clinical look at an actress who has continued to fascinate people around the world.
Here is Audrey winning her Oscar for Roman Holiday: