As Charlotte Chandler did so well in her previous biographies, she will again draw on the recorded words of Joan Crawford and those who knew her well to paint a rich portrait of the woman and the star. Joan Crawford was born Lucille LeSueur in Texas in 1908. She became a chorus girl in silent films before finding her voice in Possessed (1931) ...
As Charlotte Chandler did so well in her previous biographies, she will again draw on the recorded words of Joan Crawford and those who knew her well to paint a rich portrait of the woman and the star. Joan Crawford was born Lucille LeSueur in Texas in 1908. She became a chorus girl in silent films before finding her voice in Possessed (1931) with Clark Gable. Their affair would continue, on and off screen, for many years. Throughout the thirties, Joan continued to earn critical acclaim for her forte of playing career women who never gave up. Her Oscar-winning film Mildred Pierce in 1945 began the long-running feud between Joan and Bette Davis, which reached its height with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane in 1962. Joan was married four times including once to Douglas Fairbanks Jr, who spoke extensively to Charlotte Chandler for this book. Following her death, Joan's decision to cut her eldest children out of her will prompted her daughter Christina to write the damning book Mommie Dearest which changed Joan's image forever. Charlotte Chandler spent many hours recording interviews with Joan and also those closest to her.What emerges is a subtle portrait of a complex women and a new insight into the legendary actress.
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This book is really descriptive ans a must read book for any Joan Crawford fan or someone who just wants to learn about her. I really felt like I got to know her ans her life better by reading each page. I could not put down the book and the pictures inside are great! The conversations between Joan Crawford and the author make you feel as if you were actually with them listening. It's a really good book and I totally recommend.
Dec 31, 2008
A Genuine 5 Star Joan Crawford Experience
Charlotte Chandler, whose writing is positively magic, has given us in this compelling new personal biography, "Not the Girl Next Door", something far beyond very important new information on this complex Oscar winning star. She has given us an actual "personal experience" of Joan Crawford herself.
Often times there is far more to be learned from how individuals "see themselves", and also "want to be seen", than from only the cold hard facts of their lives. If all you want to know about Joan Crawford is dates, people, and "hearsay" gossip, then looking her up in an encyclopedia of film history and reading all the slander that was written specifically to hurt her and to damage her reputation will suffice. However, if what you want is the extraordinary opportunity of sitting and listening to Joan Crawford tell you about her life, as it personally impacted her, then ""Not the Girl Next Door" is absolutely the book for you!
Perfectly set with carefully observed background description, and skillfully crafted from first-hand personal interviews with Ms Chandler, this book reads with the reality of a face-to-face encounter with Joan Crawford and those who knew her well. And because the author, mercifully, has NOT burdened her audience with endless speculative and psychological analyses of the star, readers themselves are closely drawn into active participation with the narrative and can come to their own conclusions, based upon their own understanding of Joan Crawford as she and her contemporaries speak directly to them.
Joan Crawford, whose devotion to her fans is legendary, was the quintessential "Movie Star". No one has ever worked harder to perfect her talents and her physical self, or to please her studio and moviegoers. At its core, "Not the Girl Next Door" refocuses our attention on Crawford's justly earned film career fame along with her many often unmentioned kindnesses to others, while at the same time balancing these accomplishments with the fears, insecurities, and childhood demons that we begin to perceive she always had to struggle against. Having read other books on and interviews of Miss Crawford I believe that she has revealed herself, in these largely "end of life" sessions with Ms. Chandler, in a way that we have never seen her before.
Also, importantly, in a stroke of sheer creative genius, Ms Chandler has set her own ego aside, and almost never reveals herself as "present" in the rooms where she sat and so carefully listened to those who told her their stories. It is, in fact, as if she has graciously gotten up and given her seat to her readers, and stepped out of the way so that they alone may be spoken to. In addition to what you will learn, it is the mystery of Ms Chandler's skill as a listener, and the magic of her writing as an author, that will leave you unable to put this book down.
My suggestion to you is to sit in a comfortable chair, turn out all the lights save the one you are reading with, pick up your copy of "Not the Girl Next Door" and listen quietly as Joan Crawford personally tells you her story. Thanks to the keenly perceptive talent of Charlotte Chandler, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!!
Publishers Weekly, 2007-12-10 In this sympathetic biography, Chandler (Ingrid: The Girl Who Walked Home Alone) chronicles Crawford's life-from a brutal Midwest childhood to her self-imposed exile in New York. Crawford (1905-1977) began as a dancer, but her extraordinary features, perfect for the new medium of film, served her well. Her career spanned silents to Hollywood's golden era, and her body of work is legendary-Grand Hotel, The Women and Mildred Pierce, to name just a few. Divided into 10 sections, including the luminous MGM and Warner years, the book provides a brief description of her films and studio life, and offers a sanitized view of her four marriages as well as a strong refutation of the "Mommie Dearest" claims. Chandler isn't interested in sex or scandal; she had, however, extensively interviewed Crawford; her first husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; and scores of film luminaries, like Myrna Loy and Bette Davis. All reveal a hardworking, disciplined and generous woman who lived for work. "Joan Crawford and her camera. It was the greatest love affair I have ever known," said director George Cukor. Chandler's bio is a breezy, laudatory read that would have pleased Crawford, who was fiercely protective of her iconic status. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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