May 3, 2007

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Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, The Autobiography, written and read by Rupert Everett (Hachette Audio, 2007, 4 CDs/4.5 hours)
Reviewed by Lucas Lund news@hippopress.com

Not surprisingly given that Rupert Everett has known personalities from Julie Andrews to Gianni Versace, this abridged audio book has lots of juicy tidbits. My favorite part is Everettís description of his childhood. Who knew that the upper classes still have fox hunts? He describes scenery in more depth than he does people, but does both well, only rarely going overboard (three similes in what sounded like one paragraph). The sections strictly about theater, particularly in Britain, put me off a bit because Iím not a theater buff, but they didnít last long, and perhaps I learned something.

The most compelling part about any memoir or autobiography for me is the way life transforms the author. Other than the expected shift away from glitz and toward relationship that most of us make as we mature, I am not convinced that Everett captures his transformation in this book. If he does change, it is to become more the outsider, perhaps the result of a gay man writing for a largely straight audience.

Overall, the audiobook impresses me as a bit sad, as if Everett suspects that I only listened for the gossip, or as if he finds his own life wanting at this, the approximate mid-point. Still, if you want to know what itís like to hunt foxes or to be pelvis to pelvis with Madonna, Everett is a charming storyteller. B