I REACH FOR THE STARS by Barbara Cartland


An Autobiography
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 Dame Barbara Cartland's 600th book. At 93, there's life in the old dame yet. It's probably more profitable to think of Cartland's newest memoir (see We Danced All Night, below) as fictionÖ la Auntie Mamerather than ``serious'' autobiography, although this is social history as told nowhere else. Or maybe a short chat with Cartland herselfarranged on a sofa in her signature pink (which she adopted after a trip to Egypt), crowned by platinum hair dressed daily (her one luxury), and holding her Pekingeseas she regales us with anecdotes about everything from her second husband's grisly WW I wounds to a promotion by Dewhursts, the British butchers, for a free Barbara Cartland romance novel with ú10 worth of meat. (How, she wonders, could we possibly ``explain that meat was part of romance''?) Dutifully, she gives a bit of her early history (Cartland married her first husband after 49 proposals, her second after 55), preaches about the goodness of health nostrums, and drops a load of famous names. (According to Cartland, Buddy Greco is the most famous singer/pianist in the US.) There are rehashes of old royal news and remembrances of famous old friends. She and ``Dickie'' Mountbatten were collaborating on a romance novel just a few weeks before his assassination. It's a superficial ramble, with sharp peeks at Cartland's active mind, strong spirit, and deeply reflexive talent for self-promotion, ending with her usual spiritual crescendo: True love is the closest glimpse we have of God, who must already be reserving a pink cloud and a diamond- studded halo for Barbara. A dotty, desultory audience with one of the 20th century's great originals. (b&w photos)

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-86051-924-4
Page count: 197pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995