|Sarah Bernhardt : the divine and dazzling life of the world's first superstar|
Author: Reef, Catherine
A biography on Sarah Bernhardt, the first international celebrity and one of the greatest actors of all time, who lived a highly unconventional, utterly fascinating life.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/01/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 7 Up—The 19th century has been called the "Century of Sarah Bernhardt." The French stage actress (1844-1923) was more than just a performer—Bernhardt was a genuine celebrity, cultivating her persona with virtuoso performances (she was renowned for her death scenes), acts of great charity (converting her theater into a hospital during the Franco-Prussian War), and outrageous stunts (wearing a stuffed bat on her head and keeping wild animals as pets). The daughter of a French courtesan, her start in the theater industry was rocky, but Bernhardt built a devoted following that catapulted her into international fame. Reef traces her beginning years as small child being raised by a nurse in the early 1840s to her death in 1923. She provides interesting historical and cultural context to help readers understand Bernhardt's world. Some of the more intriguing details of the actress's personal life, like her difficult relationship with her mother and her tendency to embellish (and sometimes flat-out lie) about her past, are mentioned repeatedly, but never really dwelt on. Indeed, additional character insight may not be necessary; the events of Bernhardt's life are fascinating on their own. The easy-to-read text paints a striking picture of 19th and early 20th century Paris. VERDICT A strong addition to any biography collection, particularly one looking to add biographies of women.—Bobbi Parry, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, LA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2020 Born to a French courtesan, raised apart from proper society, and prone to wild stories from an early age, spirited Sarah Bernhardt was never destined for an ordinary life. In straightforward prose, this lively biography lays out the details of her life, beginning with her childhood as a tempestuous young acting student, plagued by stage fright, who tried unsuccessfully to win her mother's approval. Chapters document her early failures and eventual successes, her many loves, her close relationship with her son and grandchildren, and her tendency toward impulsive behavior and dramatic embellishment—because of the latter, many facts about her life aren't known for sure. Reef, a veteran nonfiction writer and biographer (Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator, 2018), expertly sets the scene, painting a vivid backdrop of the political unrest that influenced Bernhardt's career and the contemporaries—and rivals—who shared her stage. Teens interested in the theater will doubtless be entranced by this, but Bernhardt's transformation from underdog to icon will intrigue readers of all kinds. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.