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This book is the oddest thing: a purported biography with literally NO information on its subject that the reader could not discover on his own simply by reading every Wikipedia entry and magazine article ever written about her. I suppose this is what's to be expected from an unauthorized biography (Streep wrote to the author when she first heard about the project, advising him not to write the book), but I pre-ordered it on the supposition that SOMEONE (or preferably many someones) close to Streep would have been interviewed and provided some interesting, never-before-told stories and insights. If any friends, family, former lovers or rivals DID talk to the author, you'd never know it from this book-length magazine article masquerading as biography. If you buy this book hoping to learn anything about Streep's thoughts, feelings, emotional experience, flaws, foibles or internal states, you're going to be very disappointed--and doubly annoyed by the narrator, whose perky, chirpy delivery suits this puff piece (the sole central thesis of which is "Meryl Streep is the greatest living actress") perfectly.
If, on the other hand, you're interested in learning more about theatre generally, plays, playwrights, acting technique, and drama gods such as Joe Papp of the Public Theater, as well as, to some extent, about Hollywood bigwigs such as Sam Cohn, go for it! That's the reason I'm giving it four stars overall. I was engaged to the end of the book, learning about ghastly would-be drama teachers and directors at Yale, the young misfit Sigourney (nee Susan) Weaver, critical and audience reception of the chauvinist themes of Taming of the Shrew, John Cazale's lung cancer, Sam Cohn and his bizarre habit of eating paper, Woody Allen and how often he ate at Elaine's (every night for ten years), the protests inspired by the perceived racism and ethnocentrism of The Deer Hunter, and what an utter braying jackass Dustin Hoffman is.
Then again, I probably could have found all that on Wikipedia.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Unless the listener/reader is particularly interested in the minutia and detail of who each and every teacher, director, co-actor's name, date, and tiny details, this is a waste of time.There is ultimately a very small amount of information for the average reader/listener who is not in show business, who wants to learn about this exceptional actor. It seems like the author looked up newspaper clippings from the past and just paraphrased the entire book based on research. There is no first person information on Meryl Streep.
What could Michael Schulman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Cut the minutia and give information about her entire life. Not just her work life.
How could the performance have been better?
This reader had a very sarcastic tone in much of the reading. I have listened to dozens of books and this is first thumbs down on the reader, in my experience.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
that sums it up.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful