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Like Venus Fading

de Marsha Hunt

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1111,376,467 (2.83)No n'hi ha cap
Based on the amazing life of Dorothy Dandridge, Hollywood's first black sex goddess, this is a great rollercoaster rags to riches tale. Irene O'Brien descends into drink and madness before her reincarnation as Venus Johnson.
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I picked this up (for a whole 50 cent in the charity store) because of the title. The cover pic made me hesitate for a few as its not really typical of the type or era of books I normally read, but really, it's a cool title.

The book doesn't quite live up to it, though. The characters are pretty stock, and the plot - it's the story of a woman who basically takes no control over her own life, and how much of that is down to her character and how much (as the book would like to argue) to the era and culture and family she was raised in might be debatable; but the bottom line is she's passive to the point not just of self-destruction but of self-dissolution. About the only thing that saves it from being depressing as hell is that you know from the beginning she eventually ends up - not happy, exactly. But content?

Despite spending much of the novel wanting to slap Irene and tell her to grow up already, there was just enough there to keep me reading through to the end (and wanting to slap her through to the end, too). Part of that's my inability to stop reading a book once I've started; and I can't say there's much to be learnt from this book, or much entertainment in it; but I'm not sorry I read it, either.

And I still like the title. ( )
  tarshaan | Apr 27, 2009 |
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Based on the amazing life of Dorothy Dandridge, Hollywood's first black sex goddess, this is a great rollercoaster rags to riches tale. Irene O'Brien descends into drink and madness before her reincarnation as Venus Johnson.

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