Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn

Bookmarked: Reading My Way from Hollywood to Brooklyn

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1628725370

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Wendy Fairey grew up among books. As the shy and studious daughter of famed Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham—F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lover during the last years of his life—she began as a child reading her way through the library Fitzgerald had assembled for her mother and escaped into the landscape of classic English novels. Their protagonists became her intimates, starting with David Copperfield, whose sensibility and aspirations seemed so akin to her own. She felt as plain as Jane Eyre but craved the panache of Becky Sharp. English novels squired her to adulthood, and Bookmarked is a memoir of that journey.

In a series of brilliant chapters that blend the genres of personal memoir and literary criticism, we follow Fairey, refracted through her reading, as student, wife, professor, mother, grandmother, and happily remarried writer. E. M. Forster’s Howards End helps her cope with a failing marriage; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Ramsay teaches important lessons about love and memory. Like Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, she learns only as an adult of her Jewish heritage (and learns also the identity of her real father, the British philosopher A. J. Ayer). In this intimate and inspiring book, Wendy Fairey shows that her love of reading has been both a source of deep personal pleasure and key to living a fulfilling and richly self-examined life.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

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myself protectively in front of her, I glared at him with my serious dark-brown eyes. Errol Flynn threw back his double chin and laughed. “The cub defending its dam,” he said. I was then eleven. My mother often took me along with her when she went to interview the stars. Some—including Ingrid Bergman and Marilyn Monroe—were nice. Mostly they didn’t notice me. It was my role to sit in the corner of, say, the Beverly Hills Brown Derby and to eat my filet mignon. How terrible is that, you might

because there’s no place for her in her provincial world. The drowning notwithstanding—how plausible is it to be done in by a piece of machinery in a flooded river? Maybe more so in light of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the Japanese tsunami, but still . . . George Eliot is perhaps too much of a realist to appeal to children. A realist and a moralist, who would see as blindness the sense of potency such heroines as Jane Eyre and Becky Sharp express and rely on. Eliot’s heroines who believe in

involvement. He was amiable, kind, and emotionally undemanding. I appreciated that he didn’t pressure me, for similar to Gwendolyn, I recoiled from “being made love to” and was often on the run from male ardor and insistence. Donald fell in gracefully with my friends, my mother liked him though he wasn’t rich or on much of a career path in his job as assistant foreign student advisor at Columbia, and I sort of slipped into loving him. At Bryn Mawr, we had quoted our founder, M. Carey Thomas,

waste, and even sexuality were largely abstractions in my sheltered and still innocent child’s existence. Sometime in the previous year, I had been told about sex, but its power and its consequences remained vague to me. My mother and I had lain next to one another on the floor in her bedroom—she used to stretch out like this to rest—and she had described the sexual act to me, stressing throughout how natural it was, even beautiful. I can see myself next to her, listening, aware of her speaking,

married. As she later described the attraction, she had responded to his warmth and energy and to sex. Bow Wow moved into our house, as Mr. Murdstone moves into David’s. My ten-year-old self watched while seemingly endless cardboard boxes of his shoes were carried up our curving staircase into my mother’s bedroom. Later Robert and I would sit near the top of that staircase, listening to the raised angry voices audible behind the closed bedroom door. As Mr. Murdstone asserts his sway over David’s

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