Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yay! I Finished Another Book - "Unsinkable" By Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds remains, at the age of 81, one of entertainment's dynamos.  She has incredible spirit.  She is....well...unsinkable.

Her latest set of memories, however?  It does sink.  Like a rock.  Or an anchor headed to the bottom of the ocean.

Here he goes again.  The erstwhile reader Len sinking his teeth into another Hollywood autobiography.  With several good history books on his desk.  A new novel from John Grisham, a rare venture into fiction but recommended by a good friend, sits two-thirds finished.  But what book does Len pack for a flight to NY?

You guessed it.  He, too, is unsinkable when it comes to reading this junk. 

Naturally, I managed to finish the book somewhere over Ohio.  It is a faster read than a grocery shopping list.

Okay, who doesn't like Debbie Reynolds?  She always has a smile on her face.  She starred in the greatest movie musical of all time, "Singin' In The Rain."  Heck, she's taken quite a few very public knocks in life and came out...well...singin'.  You figure she's got some nifty tales to tell.  I'm thinking that you may not hear much about her past drinking problems, which have been related to me by a good friend who used to witness the ultra-plotzed Debbie dropping daughter Carrie off for school every morning.   But, I figure there's going to be some good juice in this fruit.

Um, not really.  I didn't realize that she had already written a set of memoirs previously that covered her life up to about 1984.  So, when "Unsinkable" opens, she picks up where she left off like it's the next episode of "Days of Our Lives."  She's about ready to make some sinister businessman Hubby # 3 and, given her track record, you know this won't end well. 

After all, Hubby # 1 was the dastardly Eddie Fisher who dumped her publicly and forever solidified Debbie's status in my grandmother's eyes as a good girl.

"That poor Debbie Reynolds.  Married to that stupid, ugly Jew who ran off with that big, fat tramp."

Not my words.  Grandma's. 

And then Hubby # 2 was a big shot in the shoe business and he bilked her out of millions. 

"That poor Debbie Reynolds.  Married to that stupid, ugly Jew who ran off with all her money."

Again, not my words.  Grandma's.

So, of course, Debbie falls again at the beginning of "Unsinkable" and yet one more douchebag takes her for a ride to the poor house.  How gullible is this woman?  Heck, I'm tempted to take a shot at her myself and see how many coins are still left in the cushions of her couch.

Debbie tells us every unsettling detail of Union # 3 and that's the big problem with her latest memoirs.  This marriage, subsequent divorce, and the inevitable financial ruin covers about two-thirds of the book.  You spend most of the time listening to her tell about how she tried to get out of debt.  She attempts to do so by starting several museums containing all the Hollywood memorabilia that she has collected over the years.  That doesn't work, either, as she tells us in such a clinical manner that you might as well be reading a book about one of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi schemes.


The last third of "Unsinkable" is what you want.   Meaty, little morsels of Hollywood gossip.  Debbie takes you through each of her movies and there's a story attached to every one of them.  You learn that Gene Kelly did everything he could to sabotage her getting the part in "Singin' In The Rain."  You find out somewhat sheepishly that Debbie has seen both Bob Fosse and Tony Randall naked and that...well...they have super huge penises.   And you discover that her frequent co-star Tony Curtis took Eddie Fisher's side in the divorce proceedings.

Gritty and gossipy, for sure.  But that's what you want from a book like this.  And, for about 100 pages, that's what you get.

Too bad the first two hundred read like the Wall Street Journal.

While telling her story, Debbie is plucky, funny, and personable.  The sad part is that so much of it can be mistaken for bitterness and constant whining.   You like her, but you want to shake some sense into her  I can picture my grandmother sitting her down and giving her what-for. 

"Learn to pick your husbands better."


Except now I'm wondering how I can get Debbie's e-mail address for myself.

Dinner last night:  A great beef dip sandwich at Yankee Stadium. 

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