by Bernard F. Dick
University Press of Mississippi, $35.00
When I saw that this e-galley was offered by the publisher I jumped at the chance to read Hollywood Madonna. Loretta Young was an actress that my Mom loved, so whenever one of her films was on TV, we watched it. And there's never a Christmas that doesn't bring at least one viewing of The Bishop's Wife at my house. I had read about her daughter by Clark Gable and the secret adoption. But she did what she had to do back in those times and I think Mr. Dick showed why she did what she did concerning her daughter Judy.
That being said, I was a bit disappointed in Bernard F. Dick's book. I didn't expect easy to verify dates in the book to go to press uncorrected. Author's error or editor's error? Doesn't really matter, they should have been corrected. And I didn't much like the film critique, be either a biographer or a critic. Ms. Young lived a long life and worked in the film business for most of it. I realize it's often difficult to give the reader the needed exposition and not become too bogged down with facts, and I think Dick did a good job of filling us in on "Gretchen" Young's early days. For once, I enjoyed reading about someone's childhood and finding out that she was a really aggressive young woman. This part of the book was very enjoyable.
I think the author also painted what seems to be a fairly good picture of Ms. Young struggles in the industry, and also in sharing with the reader how devout a Catholic Ms. Young was. But I didn't need or want to read his thoughts about all of her films. I wanted to read about her.
Over all, my whines about Hollywood Madonna are small, so it's still a fairly enjoyable read. I just got a bit cranky over his constant critical statements about her and especially about his opinions on her portrayal of Julia, The Bishop's Wife. The Bishop's Wife is named for her character and she's angelic in it, she played it with restraint and simplicity. Simple perfection. I wish I could say that about Mr. Dick's book.
3 out of 5 stars, wait for the paperback or download it.
This e-galley was provided to be by the publisher and in no way affected my review.