A little change in direction from my “normal”, for lack of a better word, reading habits occurred over the last week. I know, the shock! However, once in a while is quite refreshing.
I was browsing NetGalley (that site is more addicting than social media!) and I came across a memoir of sorts from Hollywood actor Robert Wagner. Now, I can’t really say that I’m a particular fan of Wagner – there’s nothing wrong with him, but he’s just never really been on my radar. However, his memoir promised to be filled with fascinating anecdotes, scandalous secrets, a comprehensive history of the old Hollywood system and an “opportunity for readers to live vicariously through one of its most beloved leading men”.
I’m happy to say that this book did live up to its promises. It provides a really interesting history of Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the surrounding areas. Although it gets tedious on occasion, the historical aspect to this memoir does help to create context and insight into the lives and attitudes of the early actors and studio heads. To read about the slow, but steady, building of the Los Angeles area and its early players, taught me quite a bit.
Wagner doesn’t just give us a history lesson though; Famous actors including Cary Grant, Norma Shearer (arguably the biggest diva and brat of the 20’s and 30’s), are profiled through several stories and fun tidbits. Hearing about how certain actors would buy up whole floors of hotels for their extramarital affairs, was quite entertaining! We get to hear the parties (and they would give today’s parties a run for their money) he went to, personal stories from his friendships with certain stars, and a lot of stories that were told to him.
This is a tell-all memoir, but one with history, and a little class. Wagner never sensationalizes, but gives you enough juicy gossip to keep reading. If you’re looking for something light and different, or have an interest in classic Hollywood, then I really recommend that you give this one a try.
*ARC provided by NetGally in exchange for an honest review*
You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age
Until next time.