THE LONELY LIFE by Bette Davis


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Miss Davis needed more help than she was given with her autobiography. It is badly written; the editing that could have sanded a couple of the rougher edges is almost non-existent. It abounds in the usual memorabilia of the house that Jack Warner built, the thoroughbred stable he raised, and the crass races that made nags of the best of them. The stories of the Hollywood Canteen and the heroics of menial work, the show biz name naming, the condemnation of the bastardized Brandos: ""They have simply learned to express themselves; and I'm terribly happy for them. When they learn to express the character, I shall applaud them"" -- all of this distinguishes The Lonely Life not at all. Bette Davis' revelations are, nonetheless, quite fascinating because the woman is herself a highly intelligent, sensitive, petulant human being. She is the apotheosis of the female ""winner"". Her several marriages failed because the role of ""little woman"" was far too demanding. She could not bring herself to submit to the fragmentation thrust upon her by the offended megalomania of the less successful male: ""It is said that it is virtually impossible to rape a woman. I contend that it is equally impossible to emasculate a man""...Perhaps the trouble is not too little help, but too much. One never knows just how haunted this sort of work is. In any case, serialization in a women's magazine and the regal image itself should sell the book.

Publisher: Putnam