My last book of 2014 was also one of my Christmas books- and it was a good book to end the year on. Written by the author of The Hairpin’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood series, it’s the book form of those tours of LA where you can look at celebrity houses- a quick guide to the last 100 years of Hollywood scandals.
I’ve read quite a few books about the Golden Age of Hollywood and so was aware of most of the scandals here- the death of James Dean, the Fatty Arbuckle trial, the demise of the career of Clara Bow and the strange second marriage of one my all time favourite actresses, Jean Harlow, are included.
I also learned about how a tragic accident affected the life of actor Montgomery Clift and how one of Hollywood’s breakthrough black actresses, Dorothy Dandridge fought the Hollywood system for the recognition she so deserved (Halle Berry would later go on to dedicate her Best Actress Oscar to Dandridge.)
I guess what I’m saying is that, even though I’m a bit of a fan of old Hollywood gossip, there’s still stuff that’s new to me and that’s a good thing. So often these books just rehash the old rumours. Also, Petersen has a doctorate in celebrity gossip (HOW COOL IS THAT? “Oh, hi, I’m a doctor.” “A medical doctor?” “Oh, no, a doctor of GOSSIP.” I’d like that title…) and her writing style is friendly and informative- neither so academic that it’s difficult to read, nor so informal that it feels like you’re reading a black and white copy of Olde Time Heat. An excellent,light read!