This wickedly candid memoir that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime offers a revealing self-portrait of the film legend's life and loves in Hollywood's golden age.
Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood's great stars during the 1940s and '50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others.
But this riveting account of her storied life and career had to wait for publication until after her death, so concerned was Gardner with its frankness. 'I either write the book or sell the jewels,' Gardner told co-author Peter Evans, 'and I'm kinda sentimental about the jewels.'
The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humour and cutting wit on a life that took her from an impoverished childhood in North Carolina to the heights of stardom.
Get ready for the most revealing Hollywood autobiography in decades.
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Secret and Unapproved
At the end of the book we find out that Ava worked with Peter Evans on her memoirs but backed out on the book when she learned that Frank Sinatra had sued Evans sometime before Ava hired Evans and Evans had not told her. After Evans death, people worked with his notes and put together this book. This rather explains why half the book is Evans 'complaining' about Ava calling him at 3 am and their arguing about including her cuss words. Evans has a whining tone and Ava appears careful. This book is probably unfair to them both. A bit later, Ava wrote her own book "Ava, My Story" and it is immensely better. Her own book has lots of color about Hollywood and its stars and moguls and delightful color about herself, written by her and including chapters by some of the people around her. Just to mention one big difference: in the Evans books, Evans has Ava declare she only slept with the Spanish matador once. In her own book, Ava relates a detailed love affair. Also, there is very little in the Evans book about Sinatra but a lot in Ava's book. By the way, she loved all her husbands.
Ava and Author Joust
The book is really more of a book about the interviewing of Ava Gardner, than it is a book about Ava Gardner herself. The author's approach is to recount in dialog the series of interviews he did with Ava, before she called the whole thing off (presumably under the direction and money of Frank.) The content is not as candid as it proclaims, but there is enough Hollywood dirt to have made it interesting. Also, you learn about early Hollywood and country girl Ava.
- Larry H ""No matter where you go... there you are.""