18 May 2010

I Know Where I'm Going: Katharine Hepburn, a personal biography

22. I Know Where I'm Going: Katharine Hepburn, a personal biography by Charlotte Chandler (4.5/5)

A friend at the library set this book aside for me, but I confess my first thought was Another Katharine Hepburn biography? I've read both books by Hepburn and several biographies of her over the years, so I wasn't convinced I Know Where I'm Going would contain anything new to me.

However, the cover is particularly awesome with its black & silver photos of Kate in her prime, and I felt obliged to at least give the book a cursory look before returning it. The book begins with Kate describing her brother's death when they were young teens, an event she almost always declined to discuss, and I was hooked.

The author, Charlotte Chandler, stayed with George Cukor when Kate was living in one of the cottages on his property. George trusted Charlotte, so Kate did too. Thus began a series of conversations beginning in the seventies and spanning many years.

The book gives you the feeling that during her conversations with the author, Hepburn said, "Just wait until I'm dead to write your book." Hepburn still sounds like the Hepburn I've read about all these years, but in more detail, with more insights to the person, not just the persona.

In addition to the conversations the author had with Kate, there are also many Chandler had with other people who worked with or knew Hepburn over the years. Though I tend to favor autobiographies, the interjections of third parties' perceptions give a sense of what it was like to know Hepburn.

A fascinating, well-written, and enlightening read with some cool photos.


A year ago on TTaT: 20 self portraits from 1996, day 10

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