Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do on a cold autumn weekend day is to curl up on the sofa with a good book in hand, a cosy pashmina, scented candles and a warm drink close by. I have recently finished reading Katharine Hepburn’s autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, and what I loved the most about it was how Katharine’s personality, the way it has been shaped up to me in time, clearly shines through. It’s obvious that the book was written by the actress herself. Genuine, honest, casual and very blunt, very Katharine Hepburn. As the author says in the beginning, this is not a minute recounting of her life and career. It is a gathering of stories (accompanied by many never before published photos) about her childhood and family, her early life in New York and her movie and theater career, of places, events and people who left a mark on her. It has a different, fast-paced, meandering structure, and I liked that, as it’s very befitting of its author.
There are indeed a few sequences that felt completely wrong, like a very strange dialogue between her and screenwriter William Rose, but I can overlook those. Yes, I am a fan of Hepburn’s movies, and of Hepburn herself, and the fact that this very private person, unconventional movie star and enduring all-American style figure finally opens up about some very vague aspects of her life makes this book such a rare and valuable thing.
Katharine Hepburn wanted to be an actress and she fearlessly and uncompromisingly set out to become one in an industry that wanted greatness on its own terms and that often tried to destroy the original few. Self confidence was something she always had plenty of, and didn’t that show on screen? She wanted greatness on her own terms and that’s why everything was mainly about her – “me”. And that’s also exactly why I found the part where she talks about Spencer Tracey, the man she shared her life with for almost 30 years, until his death, all the more endearing and surprising. She completely and unconditionally devoted herself to him and that’s the “me” that completes her larger than life persona, and it’s wonderful to get the whole picture.
photo by me