Farewell to a Screen Legend

In the wake of the stunning news of Robin Williams’ death this week, the passing of screen legend Lauren Bacall went virtually unnoticed. Maybe because she was 89 and died of a stroke, or maybe because so many of her fans have also passed away. But I felt a real sense of loss at her passing.

Bogart and Bacall. Timeless glamour.

Bogart and Bacall. Timeless glamour.

I grew up in the 50′s when Hollywood was synonymous with glamour. Magazines such as Photoplay printed hundreds of thousands of images of the biggest stars of the time–Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner. No stars were bigger or more admired than Lauren Bacall and her real life husband, Humphrey Bogart. He was twice her age when they married at the Ohio farm of a friend, and soon she became “Baby” to his “Bogey.”

Even after fifty years, the movies they made together still seem relevant and fresh. The chemistry between the Bogarts was palpable on the screen. Which is part of what made them such fun to watch. After Bogey’s death from cancer in 1957 at the age of only 57, Lauren Bacall remarried and went on to a distinguished career in film and on stage. She once said she hated that the rest of her career was overshadowed by her years with Bogey. I hope she knew how much pleasure she brought to those who saw her movies so often they could recite the lines along with her. “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

I like to think of them reunited in Heaven, once again a team whose talent, wit, and glamour helped define a generation.

Rest in peace, Lauren Bacall. You will never be forgotten.

Every Girl a Princess

Sidelined for two weeks with a bad knee–ice packs, cortisone shot, the whole nine yards–I finally got out last weekend to shop for a baby girl. I nearly drowned in pink and purple princess stuff. Princess dresses, princess tights, princess hair accessories,princess toys, princess backpacks, princess books and movies—most of it tied to the Disney franchise. It made me wonder whether this emphasis on royalty is really good for little girls. Are we raising children who feel a sense of superiority and entitlement based on a royal fantasy?

Are we putting too much emphasis on being a princess?

Are we putting too much emphasis on being a princess?

There is nothing wrong with pretending. It’s how children try on different roles, explore who they are and what they want to be. As a child, I dressed up in my mom’s hats and high heels and jewelry and clomped around the house pretending to be the glamorous women I saw on TV. I loved Barbara Hale as secretary to brilliant lawyer Perry Mason. Ann Southern, Marjorie Lord, Spring Byington, Mary Tyler Moore in her cute little capri pants. But I wonder if the deluge of princess merchandise has gone too far in setting up expectations that can’t help but fall short. Especially when I see merchandise that seems to tout being a spoiled diva.

What do you think?

Free Books, Free Coffee

Barnes and Noble has chosen CAROLINA GOLD as one of 8 books in a special in-store promotion from now through August 18th. It’s a BOGO deal, where you buy one book and get the second for 50% off. To promote this special offer, I’m giving away a signed copy of any of my books, or a Starbucks gift card  to the first ten people who snap a pic of themselves with the book and post it on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/dorothylovebooks

Carolina-gold-cover-with-the-birdsI hope you’ll post your photo on my wall, and share this opportunity with others who like books and coffee.  Thanks so much, friends.


Book Sale Starts Today!

If you need some books for an upcoming summer vacation, or if you’re like me and enjoy Christmas shopping in July, then check out the sale that begins today at Barnes and Noble. Starting today they are running a buy one, get the second at 50% off sale on a bunch of books, including Carolina Gold.If you’ve already read it, thank you! If you haven’t, now is the time to try it at a great price. Just go here to check out all the books on sale:  http://ow.ly/zbJzv

Last week, I visited The Twig Bookshop, a wonderful indie bookstore here in San Antonio. It reminded me of the way bookstores used to be, with lots of comfy chairs and tables, and people who know and love books. I bought two books that had been on my “must read: list—Pat Conroy’s The Death of Santini, his new memoir about his relationship with his father, and The Mockingbird Next Door, about Harper Lee and her sister, Alice.

9781594205194_medium_The_Mockingbird_Next_Door-210x320I finished Santini in two sittings, mesmerized as always by Pat Conroy’s way with words, and stunned at the depth of the violence he endured at the hands of his father. I’ve read all of his novels and knew he drew on his family experiences in writing them but I hadn’t realized how much of it was actually true, or how deeply it affected Pat. It’s a wonder he survived.

Now it’s on to Harper Lee, and I am already entranced. Books are a wonder, aren’t  they? What are you reading this summer?