The Beacon

Bridging classic and contemporary with Katherine Hepburn

Sara Pisak, Staff Writer

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Today, I am flashing back to fifth grade when, as a class, we were asked to fill out a survey of consisting questions such as: “What is your favorite television show?”  “Who is your favorite actor?” “Who is your favorite actress?” Although I do not remember the answer to other questions asked, the answer to the question, “Who is your favorite actress?” has remained the same. As an eleven year old, most individuals of my generation probably would have replied: Hilary Duff, Raven- Symone, Lindsay Lohan or any other actress who appeared on the Disney Channel but not me. I was always the quirky eleven year old, who replied, Katharine Hepburn. This response resulted in the stunned expression and confusion of everyone around me. Eleven years later while at the library, I accidently stumbled upon Katharine Hepburn’s misfiled autobiography. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled by this find.

Me: Stories of My Life was written by Katharine Hepburn twelve years before her death at the fulfilled age of ninety-six. Since the time of publication, her autobiography is currently 18 years old and is my new literary fascination. Since publication, this book is too young for classic status but too old be consider contemporary literature. Although, Me: Stories of My Life has been on bookshelves for years, this text should be every reader’s new obsession.

A reason to select this book is the fact that most people love Katharine Hepburn because she fearlessly speaks her mind; her autobiography is no exception. Unlike many current celebrities turned author, Katharine Hepburn is talented and brave enough to write down the moments of her life without a ghost writer; without the front cover reading in large letters Katharine Hepburn and without minuscule print reading (insert name of talented author here.) This is a rare feat in the literary world.

This rare feat indicates another important reason to love this book. Hepburn has a writing style all her own. If there is one thing the world loves about Katharine Hepburn it is her sense of style. This book is no exception to the style rule. Hepburn does not come off as a high and mighty celebrity about to enlighten her audience with tales of triumph. Instead, her prose is easygoing and light, as if she is sitting down to a cup of tea with an old, dear friend. The beauty of Hepburn’s writing is that friend is you, the reader. The conversational style and elevated storytelling tone is greatly enhanced by 165 pictures of Hepburn, her colleagues, her family and her friends. Me: Stories of My Life is a candid and a uniquely personal look at a woman who is legendarily defined as classic.

Me: Stories of My Life contains an innate sense of truth, which pushes limitations. Hepburn’s pushing of boundaries and blunt honesty is my third motivation behind selecting this 18 year old autobiography from the shelf. Katharine Hepburn was a pioneer in her profession, who pushed the boundaries of not only the roles women play in Hollywood but the roles of women in fashion, in stage, in humanitarian causes and most importantly in their personal lives. This book sets the record straight on how exactly Hepburn feels about the lasting role she plays in society. Like always, Hepburn is straightforward, honestly blunt, hysterically quirky and full of charm, all qualities which seems to ooze off the pages. From the moment you open this book, you will be transported back into a time when in a male dominated profession, one woman spoke her mind and set the world on fire. From the start of Katharine Hepburn’s career to the final moments with the love of her life Spencer Tracey, this autobiography is candid and superb.

The last reason to resurrect this amazing text comes from Hepburn herself, which is nestled in the final chapter of Me: Stories of My Life. Katharine Hepburn states, “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.” This one respected, hard to learn lesson makes the autobiography invaluable and worth becoming your new literary favorite.

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Bridging classic and contemporary with Katherine Hepburn