As I mentioned in my review of Scott Berg's Kate Remembered, I've been on a Katharine Hepburn binge as of late. Me: Stories of My Life was second on my list of Hepburn books to read, and I have to say, it was interesting, enlightening, and an enjoyable read.
Me reads the way Hepburn speaks. Some parts read as though Hepburn is reminiscing to herself, piecing together the bits and pieces of her life and working through it, trying to make better sense of some things. There are quite a few realizations that Hepburn shares throughout the book and you get the feeling that they are new realizations that came to her as she looked back and worked through her past. Other parts read like she's speaking one on one with someone, sharing memories and telling stories. It's an interesting way to go about writing a memoir and it works well within the context of Hepburn's life.
The book is also organized in an interesting way. The chapters are divided into memories, particular times during Hepburn's life, people, etc. Some of her work (i.e. movies and plays) receive their own chapters, others are lumped into one chapter labeled "Movies", "Early Career", and "Early Films". There are 9 chapters that are about people, 10 people in all. One chapter covers her parents and there are other chapters for Howard Hughes, George Cukor, L.B Mayer, her housekeeper/companion Phyllis, and Spencer Tracy, among others.
There are actually four chapters about Spencer Tracy, those are the ones I found most interesting because Hepburn never talked a whole lot about Tracy, so these chapters give us a rare look at their life together. They are also the most vulnerable chapters in the book. One chapter, "Spencer", covers her thoughts on him as an actor, how they met, and the movies that they made. "Love" is about their romantic relationship, "Leaving the California House" is about her packing up and selling the house that she shared with Spencer, her thoughts, feelings, memories, and mementos surrounding the house.
The last chapter featuring Spencer Tracy is "Dear Spence", which is a letter Hepburn wrote to Tracy decades after his death while composing this book, in which she asks questions she never asked him when he was alive. This chapter has a feel of Hepburn trying to understand and come to terms with what truly went on within Tracy's own mind and their relationship. It was beautiful.
Overall, I found this book both fascinating and enlightening. I would highly recommend it to Hepburn fans, and Old Hollywood fans. I'd also recommend it as an excellent memoir to anyone who enjoys that genre. Truly wonderful.
I give it an 8/10.
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....