Despite all the headlines, what do we know about the real Angelina Jolie? Award-winning biographer Andrew Morton, whose books forever changed the world’s perception of Princess Diana and Tom Cruise, finally brings us the inside story of the smiling, glamorous woman Forbes named the most powerful celebrity in the world.
The daughter of actor Jon Voight, Angelina appeared in her first movie at the age of seven. She won an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, shared a shocking kiss with her brother at the awards ceremony, and wore a vial of her second husband’s blood around her neck. Of late, however, the wild child with a heart and mind of her own, and the tattoos to show for it, has transformed herself into a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and world-renowned humanitarian, with the equally glamorous Brad Pitt by her side.
©2010 Andrew Morton (P)2010 Blackstone Audio
“Why do women dream of having the life of Angelina Jolie? Because the actress is the embodiment of having it all.” (Harper’s Bazaar)
I got this for two reasons! I was super sick and wanted something fact based to listen to, and because I have always wondered if Angelina Jolie ACTUALLY gave away as much as her publicity claims she does. I didn't believe it! Also, I was furious about her questionable adoptions and angry with the American hubris that thinks nothing of removing children from their cultures/families assuming that our "superior" culture justifies this! Having listened to this book I am still upset with the adoptions, but I do think she meant for the best for these children, she is just unable to see past her cultural conditioning. I also believe she does do a lot for the countries she tries to help and it isn't just a publicity stunt.
The WORST thing about this book is how much Andrew Morton seems to rely on Miss Jolie's father for facts and impressions with almost NO critical reasoning! For instance, Miss Jolie is theoretically damaged because her mother abandoned her in a completely white apartment with just an endless line of babysitters to keep her company for the bulk of her infancy. THEN, he accepts Mr. Voight's claim that, after he left his wife for another woman, he spent most of the time WITH his wife and children trying to take care of them. Which is it, Mr Morton? I did end up feeling sympathy for Miss Jolie for having a father that thinks nothing of stabbing her in the back and going public to do so. I would keep him far away from my children too, that's for sure!
I am rarely intrigued by celebrities, but when a coworker read a moving passage from this book, I thought I'd check it out, since Angelina Jolie seemed like a fascinating person to me, and I can relate to her early childhood experience of parental neglect. There are aspects of this book that reflect marked compassion for her, even through her bad decisions and questionable romantic entanglements. However, it seemed to me that the author had more compassion for her father, John Voigt, then he had for Angelina, and I found this annoying (though unsurprising, as the author is male). Still, it was generally thoughtfully and respectfully written, reminding us that early childhood experiences can greatly shape the direction of our lives and the choices we make as adults.
The narrator had a pleasant voice, though at times it was obvious to me that his inflections were misplaced, and he might have been a bit more emotive.
Overall, this was an interesting and illuminating story. Angelina Jolie is a force of nature hellbent on improving the lives of the poorest and least represented in this world, as well as a powerful woman who has set the bar insanely high as she has created an awesome and impressive career, both in front of and behind the camera.
Interesting to learn the details of her and her parent's relationships- how she chose to place her mother on a pedestal, and blamed her father soley for the downfall of her mother's happiness. The story shines light on the grudges her family holds against her father, when Jolie is making the same homewrecking choices in her own life- if not worse- than her father did. After reading this, I still remain a fan of the extraordinary woman & humanitarian Jolie is, but now I have a bit more insight on the hypocrisy of her actions.
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