In the Frame by Helen Mirren Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson © 2008      About Me

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In the Frame - My Life in Words and Pictures
by Helen Mirren
Atria Books
ISBN 1-4165-6760-7
Published March 2008 - Hardcover - 272 pages - $35.00

I've always loved Helen Mirren's work, especially the Prime Suspect series - I didn't think I was too up to date on all of her movies, but I have seen The Queen, Gosforth Park, Calendar Girls, and of course, Mosquito Coast.  She is so accomplished and really gets to the grit of a part.  But, she's a private person and therefore not too much is out there about her.  Until now.  Tired of others writing books on her, Ms. Mirren has put together an illustrated memoir - a rather interesting idea.  She talks about her Russian ancestry and shows some of her incredible photographs and family letters dating back to the early 1900s.  She describes her parents' very different backgrounds and their outlook on life, love, and family, all accompanied by wonderful photos of the time.  Then we go through the various stages (no pun intended) of her life, schooling, family, "showbiz", and her acting jobs, stays with the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company), her travels, friends, and loves.  I loved the part where she and her fellow performers spent a year going through Africa and America, putting on shows.  What an experience.  There is so much more to this talented woman than meets the eye - she generously peels away the layers of her life for all to see.  She shares photos and stories of the people she met and/or worked with, her work in itself, and her superb costumes.  There are many personal photos which are also on view, as well as priceless "work" photos.  Oh, and of course I knew she is married to director Taylor Hackford.  I loved her sense of humor (very English, which I adore) which is evident throughout her writing.
Conclusion - So very interesting and a must for all Helen Mirren fans.  How I'd love to have a cuppa and a natter with this lady.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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