Wednesday, January 20, 2021




In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be doing a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED. This week, we're talking with Kat about "How Mabel Normand's many scandals (at least five) destroyed her career " which is her review of  William Thomas Sherman's MABEL NORMAND: A SOURCE BOOK TO HER LIFE AND FILMS.  Kat, what did you think of the book?

Kat: The book?  I liked the book.  I did not like Sherman's part of the book.  I read the whole book and then I felt like I knew about it and I mentioned to you, C.I., about Mabel's two scandals plus her friendship with Fatty Arbunkle as a third scandal and you say, "There are five scandals."  I had to think about that and you jogged my memory.  And having read the full book, yeah, there are five scandals.  But Sherman only counts three.  The other two were bigger than he explains in the text.  At least a third of the book is newspaper clippings -- newspaper article about Mabel and magazine articles about her.  And the studio stood by her and kept giving her a chance for four of those scandals.  It was only when that woman sued for divorce and stated Mabel had slept with her husband -- in the hospital, no less, that her studio finally walked away from her.  That should have been in the book's text.  I feel Sherman didn't have a firm grip on his subject.

You weren't familiar with Mabel Normand other than from Stevie Nicks' song named after her, right?

Kat: Right.  Never heard of her.  Sorry.  She was a silent film actress.  A star for many, many years and considered to be beautiful.  I don't see the great beauty.  She was a contemporary of Charlie Chaplin's and they made films together.  But reading the book didn't make me want to go out and watch any of her films.  He tends to downplay her films -- especially if you read the clippings.  Her films were successful, even after her fourth scandal.  That's why the studio kept her around for so long.  

Would you recommend the book?

Kat: Only for the clippings.  I want to read something I wrote back on December 29th at my site:

I'm near the end of a book I'll be reviewing this month.  One thing to note -- C.I. knows everything.  The book's about an actress Stevie Nicks did a song about.  We all think the woman's career was derailed by X.  But it was derailed, as C.I. told me, by four events that poisoned her with the public.  If you read CRAPAPEDIA, you never get that because they missed the story.  But she alienated the audience and that's what ended her career. 

Right.  I don't count Fatty.  If you do, there are five.

Kat: And writer Sherman does count it but he doesn't count when Mabel is being blackmailed -- scandal one -- and goes to the police.  This resulted in a lot of newspaper ink.  The man was arrested.  The press is saying she was blackmailed over using drugs.  This sets the stage for the murder of the director which some press reports will note may have been a murder carried out by Mabel's drug dealer because the director was trying to get Mabel to stop using drugs.  If you don't grasp the first scandal, you really don't get how, when it gets to scandal five, everyone just wants Mabel to go away. 

And what did you think of KINDLE UNLIMITED?  

Kat: If they don't offer some new titles soon, I probably will bail after the two months, honestly.  In terms of entertainment, I don't really see a lot of books on that subject.  I wish there were more bios but there really aren't and don't get me started on that Charles Rivers Edition nonsense or 'hourly' books -- books that supposedly track the career of an actor or musician by the hour.  Those are garbage.  

So you're not impressed?

Kat: Not really.  I had hoped for a stronger entertainment selection but it just isn't there.  



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