Name of Book: Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography
By: Andrew Morton
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Copyright Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 313
Reason for Reading: celebrity biographies are a guilty pleasure
“The room was stark and bare: white carpet, white curtains, white walls, and no furniture except for a white crib. For more than a year, a baby girl lived there, cared for by a ragtag assortment of babysitters-mainly out-of-work actors or acquaintances, working shifts at three dollars an hour around the clock.
The child rarely knew if the person putting her to bed was the one who would dress and feed her in the morning. There were days at a stretch when her mother, who lived in an apartment three stories below, would not visit her.”
When I saw this book on the new releases shelf at the library, my curiosity got the better of me. I have been a fan of Angelina since before she got big and famous. I first saw her in Hackers and was instantantly enamored. I thought she was beautiful and hardcore. And a great actor to boot. I next saw her in Foxfire, but it wasn’t until Gia that I was completely blown away by her skill. Then when she adopted her first child and started doing U.N. tours, I was impressed with her humanitarian efforts. However, I started to feel very ambivalent about her after the whole Brad fiasco.
Reading this book was fascinating. It gave some real insight into her character. As much as I admired her when I was younger, I never knew too much about her personally aside from what was widely known-she used to be a cutter, she is estranged from her father, she and Billy Bob wore vials of blood. Getting background on her well-to-do grandparents, her mother’s upbringing, two things became quite clear: a) the drive to be a movie star has been passed down through the generations until it took in Angie b) her upbringing informs many of her actions.
She spent the first few years of her life living alone in an apartment above her mother’s being cared for by babysitters. She grew up in her brother’s shadow. Why did she kiss her brother? Why does she adopt kids from other countries? Why did she get so angry when her father revealed her adoption to the press? The book sheds new light on every aspect that seems to be public domain about Angelina’s life.
As much as I did enjoy reading this book, it was hard to ignore the heavy handed writing style. The author makes his viewpoint of Angelina very evident. He liberally peppers the story with quotations from psychiatrists and the like commenting on Angelina’s behavior, making clear cut connections between x event in her past to y behavior. He framed the story in this fated fairy tale sort of way, starting with the ivory tower prologue. For most of the book, I was able to ignore, but at times it did get more than annoying.
The story itself is an intriguing portrait of a well-known woman. It would have been better if the author could have been a little more objective.