UNSINKABLE by Debbie Reynolds

UNSINKABLE

A Memoir

KIRKUS REVIEW

The multitalented Reynolds nostalgically expands on a fruitful career and a chaotic adulthood.

The introduction, written by daughter Carrie Fisher, is appreciative and nods toward her mother’s impeccable memory and fitting arrival at “a point in her life where she can see farther and better than ever before.” The memoir, co-authored by former CBS late-night programming director Hannaway, greatly reflects this sentiment. Reynolds writes with regretless candor, fondly reflecting on a grand life in the Hollywood spotlight yet also recognizing the tarnish of imprudent romantic and financial decisions. Reynolds highlights many of her failures, the result of either sheer naïveté or gullibility, yet she remains continually nonplussed at the deceptiveness of people (particularly when hoodwinked by her second husband, con man Harry Karl). A promising business endeavor to purchase an aging Las Vegas hotel to house her opulent Hollywood costume collection ended up drilling Reynolds ever further down into debt left over from the Karl fiasco. Reynolds bravely admits to poring over dozens of boxes of litigation paperwork just to write comprehensively about that heartbreaking period when she was eventually forced to auction off the hotel and many of her prized memorabilia and costumes, including the unprecedented $5.5-plus million sale of Marilyn Monroe’s original subway dress. The memoir’s second section brings much needed levity to Reynolds’ escapades and details her current life as a prideful octogenarian brimming with vigor. Perhaps the most compelling portions of the book are the pages of candid, insider commentary from each of the famed actress’ films.

Aptly titled, this bittersweet scrapbook demonstrates the kind of steely fortitude necessary to remain afloat through a lifetime of stormy weather.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-221365-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2013




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