A just about perfect book of memoirs. May 12, 2010
Now I know why we found her interesting - Katharine Hepburn: she is that rare writer who cares not for the balanced sentence, for the look of the words, for 'fluffing up' certain passages. The showers of evocative words, the outrageous punctuation, the honest recollections, all glow with her healthy ego, her original voice, her charisma. She seems to hold nothing back, trusting the reader to enter into her world with goodwill and the other half of a relationship. It is endearing the way she pays homage to all those whom she admires, first and foremost Spencer Tracy, then George Cukor, Ludlow Ogden Smith (Luddy, her first and only husband), L.. B. Mayer, David Lean, Phyllis Wilbourn, secretary/companion/friend, Leland Hayward; oh, and Robert Chatman, Gentleman truckdriver who stopped to change a tyre.
The chapters on Spencer Tracy are frank, witty and awe-inspiring in their closeness and love. The chapter on his death, taking us through the night he died, the awkwardness of his wife, Louise Treadwell arriving with his children, his brother and wife Dorothy (a little too abrasive and insensitive and put down nicely by Phyllis), is told in an honest, 'no-holds-barred' way, allowing the reader to be there, to share in the flinching, the grief, the love. It's the best piece of autobiographical writing probably this side of a decade. And all without bitterness and with elegance.
This book is difficult to put down and a joy to take up again - a just about perfect book of memoirs.