Imagine that it's the early 1970s and you have moved from America's heartland to the big city to learn to be an actor. Now suppose that you got your first major part when you were barely twenty years old. How would you cope with fame?
I started out in a green house with a red door in a small town, where mysteries abounded. Immediately after issuing me into the world, my mother took me to this house and put me in a shoebox, which she placed on the dining room table so that one and all might come and gaze upon my perfect miniature beauty. Hands like starfish, to hear her tell it, grave but ravishing cornflower-blue eyes, and, most remarkable of all, a set of baby teeth. Two pearls on top and two, nonpareil, on the bottom. Shakespeare, my mother said, would have a field day. The neighborhood ladies were not impressed and stood there in silent judgment with arms crossed over pregnant stomachs. It wasn’t good form to crow about your child’s beauty.—Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew (Hachette / Little, Brown, 2015, opening paragraph)
- Setting: Iowa, New York City, Hollywood, Ireland, Europe
- Circumstances: In her fascinating memoir, actress Kate Mulgrew tells her story from her Iowa childhood through to her work on Star Trek: Voyager.
- People: Kate Mulgrew, her immediate family, her husbands, her children, her lovers, her closest friends, and various other significant people
- Genre: memoir
- What she talks about: Mulgrew is incredibly frank about her successes, her friendships and loves, and her family. but she also reveals the deepest, darkest moments of her life. She is forthcoming about the importance of her career and the difficulties she had juggling work, motherhood, marriage, and men. We are given plenty of stories, but Mulgrew doesn't hang out other people's dirty laundry
- General thoughts: Loved the style of the book and the way Mulgrew tells a story. She lets us see her many sides: funny, sad, frustrated, practical, and reckless. Although she discusses her career (up to Star Trek), the memoir's focus is mostly on her private life, some difficult decisions she made, and her hope for a happy future. Engaging without being gossipy.
- Audiobook: Mulgrew narrates the audiobook herself (Hachette Audio; 9 hr, 26 min). I thought she did a fabulous job and would recommend the audio edition without reservation. (My review will be published by AudioFile magazine.) Note that audiobook comes with a PDF containing the many photos that illustrate the book.