(Yes, yes, I know that yesterday was the Big Hearing in Congress, but I did write about it twice yesterday, albeit briefly. But mainly, hey, Vicki is my friend, and I have my priorities...)
Anyway, among a great many things that I wrote in my lavish praise of the book was this paragraph --
"But the main reason I loved the book is that it did in a memoir what I look for when reading biographies of any sort. I tend to wade in very warily when I read biographies, most-especially celebrity biographies. What I like in any memoir is not so much that it's just nice tales of famous people's lives, but that it's as much a history book of the times with "edges" and shadings that give context. And to my great pleasure, this is that. It is not a mere collection of stories by a loving daughter putting her family world in the most-shining light, but rather about the Depression, the Golden Age of Hollywood, world war, McCarthyism (with her father being a target, despite his work for the government's war effort) and more -- at the center of which are the two separate lives of the author's parents pushing through it all until they finally meet. Fascinatingly, that meeting doesn't even come until the last third of the book, so it's like following a winding path of successes and major hurdles before simply getting to that point."
My biggest concern with my rave was that people wouldn't believe me, that they'd think it was just my friendship kicking in and biasing my opinion, no matter how much I bent over backwards to explain why I was trying my best to be objective and honest, that being otherwise would risk(in) my credibility for future reviews. Sometimes I am, admittedly, biased, but I state that. In this case, I was being absolutely objective and honest.
I now point you to the first paragraph in a review of the book by the Associated Press, published yesterday.
"If there was an Academy Award for movie books, Victoria Riskin would be making room beside the Oscar her father won for writing the romantic comedy classic 'It Happened One Night.' Part biography, part Hollywood history, part love story, Riskin’s memoir about her parents is captivating and poignant."
And it ends with --
"A psychologist who turned to writing and producing for television, Victoria Riskin enhances her family history with delightful (and sometimes damning) vignettes of movie people. With readers she shares a special sense of discovery: seeing a parent try to find their place and hoping to love and be loved when they get there. Just like in the movies."
And if that isn't enough, here's the first paragraph of the book's rave review in the Wall Street Journal --
"To know Fay Wray was to adore her. She had a joyous, jubilant personality and retained her can-do outlook to the end, living until she was 96 despite a life that offered more than her fair share of problems. In 'Fay Wray and Robert Riskin,' Victoria Riskin remembers her parents with warmth and a perceptible touch of melancholy.
Told you so, told you so, told you so.
It really is that wonderful. Honest. If you want to read the full, glowing review by Douglass K. Daniel, you can find it here. I'd give you the link to the Wall Street Journal review, but you have to be a subscriber to access the full thing. Oh, okay, for those who are subscriber's, it's here.
The book is really terrific, and it's now officially be published, as of a couple days ago. For those interested in getting it, or want to check out more about the book, you can find it here on its Amazon page.
And again, yes, the book is really terrific, with a double emphasis on the "really" -- not just as an adverb to reinforce "terrific," but to mean...HONEST. It really is.