Thursday, January 9, 2014

Unsinkable: A Memoir

Unsinkable: A Memoir
by Debbie Reynolds [791.451 Rey]

Debbie Reynolds is a triple threat — in movies, music ("Aba Daba Honeymoon", anyone?) and books — two autobiographies, that is. In 1988, she published her first memoir, Debbie: My Life and now catches us up in 2013 with Unsinkable: A Memoir. She completely lives up to the latter adjective, borrowed from the nickname of one of her most beloved portrayals — "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", one of the real-life Titanic survivors. From her practically dirt-poor beginnings, through three husbands who all cheated her emotionally, financially and sexually, and in spite of a lingering dream to collect and preserve iconic Hollywood treasures which ultimately died, Reynolds has endured to leave a legacy whose impact may not be fully realized while she is still living. Her perseverance, determination, and talent are definitely her hallmarks. From the heroine of "Singin' in the Rain" and "Tammy" to her pop-culture identification as Princess Leia's mother, Mary Frances Reynolds of Burbank, CA via Texas is an entertainment legend and a lesson in survival. Both books are filled with anecdotes of her Hollywood and movie-making experiences and friendships, and go into sometimes alarming detail about the three scoundrels who were her husbands, the second of whom at least showed affection to her children (Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher) and treated them well. The newer bio is almost like two books in one, in that the last third of it is a chronological catalogue of her movies along with specific recollections about them. There were some things I was surprised to learn about Reynolds, such as her relationship with Robert Wagner when they were both young adults, or her ownership of a dance studio. Other disclosures are well-known, like the fact that when Eddie Fisher left her for Elizabeth Taylor and La Liz in turn left Fisher for Richard Burton, she and Taylor were able to become friends again after some time had passed. These memoirs are eye-openers to the fact that "having it all" can be a gigantic illusion even for someone as wholesome and capable as Debbie Reynolds but that at the same time having a strong will, a strong faith, and a strong family group can get you through pretty much anything. -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher; Getting Along Famously: A Celebration of Friendship; Best of Debbie Reynolds (CD); and some highlights from Debbie's movie career (underlined DVDs are in LCL collections): Two Weeks with Love; Singin' In the Rain; I Love Melvin; The Tender Trap; Tammy and the Bachelor; The Rat Race; How the West was Won; The Unsinkable Molly Brown; The Singing Nun; What's the Matter with Helen?; Charlotte's Web (as the voice of Charlotte); Mother; In & Out; One for the Money; Behind the Candelabra.]

[ Debbie Reynolds page on Wikipedia ] | [ official Internet Movie Database pagefor Debbie Reynolds ] | [ official Debbie Reynolds web site ] 

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