Monday, January 6, 2014

Barbra: The Way She Is

2006, first edition, from HarperCollins
Christopher Andersen
Barbra: The Way She Is
Original price $25.95, purchase price $7.80
Hardcover in good condition

Not since Schorer's Sinclair Lewis: An American Life (1961), have I come across a biographer who seems to dislike his subject so much.  This book can be summed up as "Barbra Streisand is very talented and very bitchy."  Other than his attitude, and his frequent misuse of "proverbial" (hint, is the item actually in a proverb?), the book isn't bad.  Andersen traces Barbra's life through her unhappy childhood, her awkward adolescence, and on to more than four decades of (super)stardom.  Although I've followed her career off and on (seeing a movie or two every decade), I'm not a huge fan, and there was much here I didn't know.  However, Andersen does jump to conclusions, as when he strongly implies that Streisand had an affair with Bill Clinton.  (Not that that's implausible of course.)  And he seems to exaggerate her neglect of her sister.  

One thing that does come through the book, whether or not Barbra is a good person, she is very witty!  If she ever writes her autobiography, I'd love to read it, even if she doesn't quite tell all.  

Since Andersen discusses Streisand's creative endeavors, in between the gossip, I'm using all these "criticism" tags.  And, yes, I'm also using the "LGBT" tag, in honor of Barbra's son and many of her fans, and because of course the subject of homosexuality comes up repeatedly.

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