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This week, Vox will take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent memoir Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. You’ll have to wait until Thursday for the review to find out whether the Governator’s autobiography, which clocks in at 600-plus pages, is a must-read or a no-go.
Until then, here are five celebrity memoirs that are worth reading and why:
My Story by Marilyn Monroe
Unlike Arnold’s tome, this book is slim enough to slip into your back pocket, but it’s packed with details about the Monroe everyone wanted to know and no one did. Published after her death, this quick read will give insights into her mind, including what she thought of people (and what she thought they wanted from her). She might be known for her blonde hair and flirty, skirt-blowing photos, but My Story gives Monroe a depth beyond being a popular icon.
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
Steve Martin writes with the same humor and wit that you’d see in his movies or comedy routines. His memoir is more than a string of jokes. He manages to balance emotional and serious matters with cleverness and a cool honesty as he shares his life story. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of laughs. Some critics have said his book could double as a guide on how to be a stand—up comedian.
Songs My Mother Taught Me by Marlon Brando
Over the course of his career, Marlon Brando played diverse characters that each left a mark on the acting industry. He is argued to be one of the greatest actors that ever lived. The book, which is entirely comprised of Brando’s own sometimes nonsensical, strung-together words, is a bound volume of his thoughts. (The book was compiled from recorded conversations with Brando over several years.) This makes for an interesting, at times rambling, look into his opinions and process.
Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox
In his 2003 memoir, Michael J. Fox exposes the intimate details of his private life and his battle with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition. After secretly fighting the disease for years, Fox tells his own story with the same intelligence and upbeat energy that he became known for in his film and TV performances. Despite the subject of his illness, Fox writes optimistically about finding a cure and shares how Parkinson’s helped him appreciate his life.
What Falls Away by Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow’s book reveals what it was like to grow up with Hollywood parents and be a child actor in the family business. But it’s her love life that makes the read captivating. From her marriage to Frank Sinatra to her infamous divorce from Woody Allen, Farrow shares details of her messy breakups and legal fights. Woody Allen fans, consider yourselves warned: Farrow doesn’t hold back on the punches.
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