Lulu in Hollywood

Brooks, Louise. Lulu in Hollywood. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1982.

Louise Brooks, born in 1907, first wanted to be a dancer. When the bright lights of New York City sirened (my word) her away from Wichita, Kansas, she knew she could be a star. She had the looks, the talent and the brains to make it anywhere. She quickly became a darling of the silent film, jet setting between New York, Hollywood and Europe. Her biggest film, Pandora’s Box, was the rise before the fall. All said, her career was a tumultuous one. As an outspoken, difficult actress, Lulu was sometimes fired from jobs as quickly as she had been hired for them. It was no secret she liked to use her sexuality to get her way. She was progressive in ways women wouldn’t dare to be at that time. In Lulu in Hollywood, she used her ability to write to put together a series of autobiographical essays meant to settle the score. Her writing was brilliant. The photographs included in the book are gorgeous. There is no doubt Louise Brooks had a signature style and opinionated mind to match.

Best quotes, “He dreamed of becoming a United States district judge – an unrealized dream, because his abhorrence of boozing, whoring and profanity made him unacceptable to the rough politicians of his day” (p 4) and “I would watch my mother, pretty and charming, as she laughed and made people feel clever and pleased with themselves, but I could not act that way” (p 6).

Reason read: Natalie Merchant came out with a self-titled album that included a song about Louise Brooks. Out of curiosity I wanted to know more about Ms. Brooks.

Book trivia: As mentioned before, Lulu in Hollywood includes some great photography. Louise was a striking girl.

Author fact: Ms. Brooks was an intelligent writer. I ran across words like “unsyncopated” and “provincialism,” proving once and for all not all Hollywood actresses are just pretty faces.

BookLust Twist: none.