Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg is not your typical biographical novel. There are no hard facts or dates. There is no analysis about the life and times of the subject. Instead the book reads more as a conversation. A private conversation between two people and you (as the reader) are ease dropping on them.
A. Scott Berg first met Katharine “Kate” Hepburn in the early 80s. Hepburn had long been a film favorite of Berg’s and so when he was doing research for one of his biographies and saw a flimsy attempt to try to meet with her he used it. That attempt failed. But he kept trying and eventually he was invited to meet with the actress at her home in New York City. From that very first meeting a great friendship was born that would last even after Hepburn’s passing.
I’ve read many reviews that criticize how this biography is written, but when you know the history of the friendship that existed between Kate and Berg I can’t imagine the book written any other way. Included in the various conversations and memories that Berg shared with Kate are all the facts and details that one would expect in a biography. But rather than the dry presentation there is life in them. When Kate tells Berg about her experiences in Africa filming THE AFRICAN QUEEN you are first transported into her living room, sitting beside them, and from there you are taken to Africa. Through the various conversations that Berg and Hepburn had you learn about her life. Her struggles working as an actress as well as her triumphs. She touches upon her relationships with Howard Hughes and Spencer Tracy. The later of whom she spent 30 years of her life with and the love that she felt for him clearly comes across in her words and more so for what she doesn’t say, then for what she does.
Kate Remembered is a poignant memoir of a true and everlasting friendship. Its a quick moving story that spans the almost 70 years of her acting career (1928 – 1994) and the years that followed until her death in 2003. The memoir follows Hepburn’s the many ups and downs of her amazing career and the loves and friendships that she had along the way. She often defied the odds and stayed on top in Hollywood when most people thought that her career was at an end. She loved and hated some of the greatest stars, directors and producers ever to walk the hallowed Hollywood hills. She lived a no nonsense life and never stayed down for long when a bump in the road knocked her off her feet.
Katharine Hepburn is truly a Hollywood icon and I loved reading this book about her. I loved the personal aspect of its telling which I think humanizes Hepburn. She wasn’t just some star who made some great movies. She was also a wonderful human being who lived an extraordinary life. If you want a more traditional biography to learn about Hepburn then you should probably look elsewhere. But if you want to step into her living room for a time. To sit beside her and her friend Scott Berg as they sit in front of a fire telling stories. Then this, is a book for you.