MARCELLO MASTROIANNI

HIS LIFE AND ART

Flawed but still head-and-shoulders above most film bios, a life of the Italian actor that focuses largely on his art but that soft-peddles the nitty-gritty of everyday life. Dewey wrote the novel Reasonable Doubts (1991). Mastroianni, born in 1924 in a small town 50 miles south of Rome, herein speaks with considerable self-understanding and depth whenever Dewey quotes him from interviews over the decades—quotes that make up about a third of the text. The actor has played leading men in nearly 140 European movies, involving himself in such a variety of roles that Europeans broadly see him as the greatest living actor—and from this rehearsal of Mastroianni's talents, the Europeans may be right. He has consistently, until 1990, refused to play in Hollywood films, in part because the Hollywood scripts sent to him always called for him to be a Latin lover. His one American film, last year's Used People, which allowed him to play with Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Tandy, and Kathy Bates, failed at the box office and his personal reviews in it weren't much better. Dewey follows the hero's passage from early triumphs on the Italian stage through his smaller roles in his first 15 films, then into his hits, Big Deal on Madonna Street, La Dolce Vita, and Divorce, Italian Style, and his friendship with Federico Fellini, whom he ``played'' in Fellini's semiautobiographical 8-´. The actor in no way sees himself as a great lover and admits to experiencing trouble ``down there'' (a passing impotence). Even so, his 40-year marriage to Flora Carabella has survived affairs with Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve (with whom he has a daughter), and others in his search for the ideal woman—who usually turns out to be the worst. Intermittent stops for Dewey's head-stuff on Mastroianni's art or character sometimes inspire but can also bog down. Overall, though, a generally well-told life. (Photos)

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55972-158-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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