Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend is a small book that lives up to its title. It’s a simple read and one that for someone like my mother, who’s 70ish-years old, a retelling of a life she knew well. When I asked my mom how she liked the book her response was, “I already knew all that”. I had to remind her that most of us weren’t alive when Elizabeth was in her heyday. Most of us came into the story in the Jackson/Dame Elizabeth friendship, so the retelling of Elizabeth’s life actually filled in all the rumors and stories I’d grown up hearing and made her a more complete human – more than just the often-married Liz.
So after mother’s lack luster review, I gave the book a read. It does retell her life, from her birth in London in 1932 to American parents and her strict upbringing, her first on-stage experience at the age of 4 for the Duchess of York (the wife of George VI who would become the Queen Mother), to her charity work in her golden years. The book details her family’s return to the states at the outbreak of war and how that move changed the direction of her life
“Probably if there hadn’t been a World War II, I would have been a debutante, lived in England, and married someone very secure and staid. I never would have become an actress. I would have had as many children as I could physically have.”
Had I been raised in England, my life would have been completely different. Because [my family] settled in Los Angeles, I became a movie star. It was not a normal life, of course, The demands, particularly on the emotional level, were killing.” – Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend is full of “wit and wisdoms” credited to Taylor and it doesn’t take long to realize she was lonely and overwhelmed by the Hollywood lifestyle and it wasn’t the life she wanted. The multiple marriages and health issues all too their toll on her, but her spirit and willingness to give back is her legacy.
“Working at age nine is not a childhood. From the age of nine I began to see my self as two separate people. Elizabeth Taylor the person, and Elizabeth Taylor the commodity. I saw the difference between my image and my real self. Sometimes [as a child] when I was out riding, I would pretend to be part of a fantasy high school or campus scene, but a few hours later I would be back on the set creating the public Elizabeth Taylor.” – Elizabeth Taylor
The book outlines all of the major events in her life and shares thought provoking tidbits credited to Elizabeth (she hated “Liz”). There are so many quotes I nodded my head in agreement to and want to remember. On motherhood, marriage, beauty, excessiveness, and more.
The Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend is an inexpensive book, under $10, and it perfect for anyone who likes to read about old Hollywood, is a Taylor fan, or likes to read inspirational stories.
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