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Phew! What a marvellously absorbing and interesting memoir! In the 1940s, Slim Hawks' name was synonymous with glamour and class and with a Hollywood lifestyle. Married to middle-aged Howard Hawks, the famous film director, at a young age Slim became the darling of the entertaining circuit, brushing shoulders with all the Hollywood greats, but sadly aware after a short time that HH was not for her. He had no interest in their newly born daughter, Kitty, nor really in Slim, except as a showpiece on his arm. She immediately fell in love with Leland Hayward, stage and film producer, enjoying 10 years of knowing she was with the right man before he fell prey to Pamela Churchill's charms and married her, sending Slim via Kitty, lapis lazuli beads with the note: "These beads are blue like your eyes and my heart." (p.264) Work that one out!
Tottering emotionally and barely held up by her two friends, Ernest Hemingway and Jerome Robbins, Slim has a 3-year 'stopover' with a cheerful gambler, Ted Bassett, before marrying Kenneth Keith, banker and English aristocrat- not a love match, but a decision based on the need for a man in her life. Here was a beautiful woman who had always been sought after now recently rejected. You get the impression that men wanting her was a necessary part of Slim's identity - as with many beautiful women.
This wonderful book is full of Slim's friendships, some platonic and some composed of stirred emotions kept under. They are mostly famous names - Hemingway, William Powell, Truman Capote, 'Swifty Lazar', Frank Sinatra et al. The book is sparkingly written and just what you might expect from this extraordinary woman.
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