What am I in the mood for? Grace & Style. Please!
And who better to illustrate both than the stunning Audrey Hepburn (d. 1993)?
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”― Audrey Hepburn
^^^^^^^^ Yes, please! More of that! ^^^^^^^^^
What Would Audrey Do? by Pamela Keogh is a lovely little book with all the delicious stuff you’d expect in a (mostly) light and breezy, illustrated biography about one of the most graceful and gracious woman to have ever lived.
But make no mistake… Hepburn’s life wasn’t always easy. Those details are also in this book.
Keogh is a journalist who also authored bestselling illustrated biographies on Jackie Style and Elvis Presley. I’ve never heard of a “Illustrated Biography” but after reading this one, I completely understand its appeal for a book like this. All illustrations here are ivory, pinks and greys. Fits perfectly!
The book itself is lovely, and as mentioned above, is washed in ivory, grey and pinks throughout, with nice-sized fonts and headings that are fun and easy-to-read. It’s smallish, about the size of a trade paperback… 250ish pages.
Inside? Yes, it’s a serious biography with stories about growing up without a father and surviving the Nazis. But, it’s also a breezy romp with delicious details about romance and the movies. It’s also about house & home, body & soul, and *very* self-help-ie with lots of inner work, too.
This is the kind of book you might set on the night table, open to any page, and enjoy.
The pages of this book are filled with stories of an intelligent, naturally beautiful, wise and empathetic soul who went on humanitarian trip across the world for UNICEF and in fact, the “third act” of her life was fully devoted to others.
Hepburn was a woman who was proud of the fact that she didn’t multi-task or try to cram as much as she could into her life. In fact, I would venture to say that she was practicing Hygge before we all knew what it was!
Allow me to share a paragraph, found on page 89, that pretty-much sums up Audrey’s private style:
Jeffrey Bilhuber has his own take on Audrey’s private style. “My image of Audrey’s home is with her legs tucked under her and a book and no makeup, in a very comfortable chair with a very good light, and I bet that was her favorite place to be…”
Doesn’t that sound heavenly? I can totally picture it.
There’s lots of fun stuff peppered throughout the book… things I didn’t know… like that she didn’t even have pierced ears. Her body was her temple and she kept it that way!
There are lists of things Audrey loved and hated – loved laughing and dark chocolate, hated prejudice and garlic.
There are, of course, life lessons and things Audrey would – and wouldn’t – do.
She also got political. There is a line towards the end of the book that fits in today, as we bid farewell to Larry King (RIP). When asked if Hepburn was politically radical, she said to Larry King, “I am filled with a rage at ourselves! I don’t believe in collective guilt, but I do believe in collective responsibility.” She also asked a group of US senators, “Why can’t we have a science of peace?” Indeed, Audrey. Indeed.
I have reviewed some beauty books, as you know, and I’ve only kept a few, including one that might seem similar about Elizabeth Taylor. It was a fun book, and lovely, for sure… but it wasn’t as… moving, I guess… as this one. This one… makes me want to be a better person. Seriously.
Note: In the research I did for this post, I searched for Keogh’s website and typed in hername.com. Word to the wise: Don’t do that. <<< Which of course will make you want to do that. Sorry. But I’m serious. What came up looked **very** spammy. I won’t hold it against this book, though.