1. What are you currently reading? Natalie Wood: A Life by Gavin Lambert. I recently heard a millennial coworker reduce Natalie Wood to, "That pretty actress who drowned. Wasn't she murdered?" That made me sad, for Natalie Wood was so much more than her mysterious death. One of the few child stars to transition to adult success, she had three Oscar nominations before age 25. Hers was a career that was thrust upon her by an exploitative stage mother, yet one she nurtured on her own. She was talented, smart and savvy. Her legacy should be more than just her going overboard one November night.
This biography works hard to give us a view of her life in full. Too full, in fact. The background on her mother/grandparents and their escape from Russia to Shanghai and then the US was a confusing (and actually rather irrelevant) slog. Once the focus shifts from mother to daughter, the story takes off.
For chick-lit, this book takes on some serious serious topics and handles them with surprising sensitivity. Some online reviews expressed disappointment with the ambiguous ending. Not me. Everyone doesn't always live happily ever after with their first love -- in fact, most of us don't -- and I personally don't think these characters will or should. But it's left open. A little messy. Like life.