Okay, I know I’m pushing my boundaries a bit here by categorising this memoir as chick-lit but I have been thinking a bit recently about the novels of Joan Collins (prompted by a conversation on this blog) which I always had a sneaking affection for. I find sister Jackie’s novels somewhat over-blown but Joan (and I hoped she actually wrote her novels- I’m sure she did) seemed to perfectly capture the brittle world of celebrity and 80’s glamour. We didn’t call it “chick-lit” in the days when these were first published but they are more likely to attract a female readership. I’ve just looked them up on Amazon and they are available on Kindle, but with my to-be-read pile slightly groaning at the moment they may have to wait some time for a re-read. The two I particularly remember are “Prime Time”(1988) and “Love And Desire And Hate” (1990) and there are certainly two I know I haven’t read “Star Quality” (2002) and “Misfortune’s Daughters” (2004). Anyway, those thoughts got me digging out Joan’s latest book “Passion For Life” (2013) which I was sent for review purposes when it was first published.
I do think Joan Collins’ previous two autobiographies are probably up there amongst the best celebrity biogs. She has the knack of giving the reader exactly what is wanted – a perfect combination of fact, analysis, outrageousness and gossip and she’s had quite a life. I read a library copy of “Past Imperfect” (1978) when it first came out when I was an impressionable teenager and had really read nothing like it. I remember renewing it quite a few times! At this point “Dynasty” was quite a few years away and Joan was best known to me as a guest star in TV programmes such as “Batman” and “Star Trek”. In 1978 the year she published “Past Imperfect”, a bit of a golden year for La Collins, she took the lead role in the film version of sister Jackie’s “The Stud”, began a series of much-loved Cinzano adverts with Leonard Rossiter and never looked back. Her career switched up a gear which would lead to her become a worldwide household name a few years later when the role of Alexis Carrington came along. The height of this renewed fame is covered in the aptly titled “Second Act” (1996) which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
With this third instalment of her life story and with the passing of the years, a slowing down of career and greater stability in married and family life Joan has opted for a more laid-back memoir approach, sorted in themes with a lot of pictures. The reproduction of photos in this hardback edition is top quality and Joan writes in a clear, identifiable voice. Fans could not really hope for more. By its very structure it obviously has less depth than the previous two autobiographies but it still gives me the same sense of guilty pleasure.
“Passion For Life” was published in the UK in 2013 by Constable.