Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
Source: Birthday present (yes my birthday's in December; it's taken me a while, okay?)
Summary: Not a traditional biography, How to Be a Movie Star examines Elizabeth's life in the star system taking particular interest in how she became a movie star while also touching on her infamous love affairs.
Thoughts: I just reviewed Furious Love about Elizabeth and Richard but I wanted to read this too because I've always been fascinated by her. In fact my favorite Barbie as a child was named Elizabeth Taylor (because I thought it was the most beautiful name in the world) and I desperately wanted violet eyes like her (or rather like she allegedly had; also Meg in Hercules fueled that desire).
I appreciate Mann's mission but I didn't think he did a very good job. The biographic parts were good but he didn't tie it back to how she was a movie star very well. She had "it" and that's not easily quantifiable. I also think it may have suffered in not being as interesting as "Furious Love" since I read them so close together.
There was also an awful lot about Hedda Hopper who declined as Liz rose. I understand that she was influential for a time and Mann had access to her archives but she was probably the second most mentioned person in the book and I don't see that she's important enough.
Overall: Interesting for those who didn't live through Liz's life.
Cover: Um, gorgeous? Liz is SOOOOOO beautiful.