The French cinema icon shares her post-film journey of animal activism.
Known around the world as a rebellious, sometimes-scandalous sex symbol, Bardot (Brigitte Bardot: My Life in Fashion, 2016, etc.) retired from acting in 1973 to focus on advocating for animal rights. In this memoir, she provides an intimate look at her motives and experiences in fighting for the well-being of animals. Among the first celebrities to use their fame to draw public awareness to issues of animal cruelty, Bardot delivered international attention to the plight of seals when she arrived in Canada in 1977. The author implicitly connects her past objectification as an actor with the situation facing animals, as she frequently discusses her animal instinct, nature, and soul. “I’ve known treachery, perversity, faithlessness, ingratitude, and cowardice that man is capable of,” she writes. “I’ve hated humanity’s penchant for destruction and became animal in order not to belong to the inhuman cohort that made me so ashamed.” Chronicling more than four decades, the narrative is an unapologetic story of how Bardot dedicated her considerable star power to improving animal welfare. Since her retirement from acting, she has found herself on the front lines of rescue efforts around the world, and she established a nonprofit organization, La Fondation Brigitte Bardot, to advance public awareness and improve conditions for all animals. This is not a book of theories about animal rights; nor does it provide a detailed, linear description of the author’s work. Indeed, parts of the narrative are scattered and jarred by awkward transitions. Still, Bardot shares an emotional, highly personal testimony of her decades of animal activism. Some of the firsthand accounts of deplorable animal conditions may be too intense for some readers, but they serve as urgent calls to action. Throughout, Bardot acknowledges both the individuality of animals and the animal nature of humanity, connecting the dots between species with a heartfelt memoir of personal and social change.
An impassioned plea for humanity to evolve toward what the author describes as “one of its greatest qualities: mercy.”