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Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine [Paperback]

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Item description for Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine by Tommy Lightfoot Garrett...

Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine is the result of several years of correspondence with Joan Fontaine by the author, Tommy Garret. Letters from a Known Woman is an intriguing look into Joan Fontaine's past, which includes her bout with child abuse, her clash with big wig, Hollywood studio executives, and her infamous rivalry with her well-known sister, Olivia De Havilland. Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine includes over 60+ pictures of Joan Fontaine from early starlet to her later years as a popular movie star.

Joan Fontaine appeared in over 40 motion pictures, including such classics as Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion and Rebecca and other notables including Jane Eyre and Gunga Din.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   132
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.31"
Weight:   0.49 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 27, 2005
Publisher   Wasteland Press
ISBN  1933265574  
ISBN13  9781933265575  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Actors & Actresses
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Entertainers
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Biographies
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
5Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women
6Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Letters from a Known Woman: Joan Fontaine?

Gimme No Bed of Roses  Jan 18, 2008
I just finished this in about half an hour and agree with all the other reviewers here. This is a piece of trash. The only saving grace are the photographs, which are abundant, some extraordinary. Poor Joan must have really been taken in by this guy to give him so much of her time and attention. And this is how he repays her. Poorly written, factually inaccurate (Billy Wilder didn't direct Hold Back the Dawn, it was Mitchell Leisen); the author just got info out of Joan's own bio and, in his own words, was unsuccessful during his research (what research?) in "digging up" anything more scandalous. He could at least have made photocopies of the so-called letters and added them to the photos in the back of the book. I should have read the reviews first before buying this. Now I'm trying to unload this turkey back on this site.
Lost in Translation  Feb 9, 2007

From the awkward pun of the title, through his somewhat overwrought introduction (think Gwynnie Paltrow at the Oscars with added emotion) where he thanks all those "who gave me the energy to keep going when I was exhausted" (this book has less than 50 pages of text), to the apparent surprise of "When she found out that I was going to write this book ... she refused to speak to me anymore" Mr Garrett is quickly revealed to be something of an over-zealous fan, apparently spurned by his idol, cashing in his fandom, but having absolutely nothing to say. Perhaps 'fan' is too strong a word, as "Letters ..." is ripe with inconsistencies, neither is there any sense of the author having had any kind of significant correspondence with Ms Fontaine whatsoever, other than the twenty or so banal 'thank you' notes he reproduces proudly by way of conclusion (I half expected to see a polite "No milk today, thank you", but you can't have everything). It is in fact the only time he quotes her directly.

None of this would be too disastrous I suppose if this were at least an engaging read, but Mr Garrett is to the written word what Madonna is to acting. His 'style' is all over the place, jumping from one topic to the next, often from sentence to sentence, and back again, which is somewhat bewildering. It's like overhearing the teenage babysitter gossiping ten to the dozen down the phone. Probably to a wrong number. He simply presents tittle tattle as fact. There is no framework or structure. No sense of chronology. Nor is there any attempt at discussion of Ms Fontaine's film roles, other than to blurt out titles. In this book Joan Fontaine the woman/actress exists only in terms of how she relates (or does not relate) to her equally famous GWTW-starring sister, Olivia, who receives pretty much equal (and equally inadequate) coverage. They didn't get on you know. Hold the front page! Events are endlessly repeated so you have to keep checking you haven't opened the thing at the wrong place. There is nothing that isn't already in the public domain. Joan's entry on Wikipedia is more revelatory.

The remaining two thirds of the book is taken up with photographs of Joan, which were probably once quite lovely. Unfortunately they've been reproduced on the same flimsy paper as the textual portion and the quality is decidedly spotty. A bit like this book in general. To be frank, I'm unsure how it ever came to be published. As many of these criticisms have already been covered by other readers obviously Mr Garrett's style has rubbed-off on me. One can only speculate as to the exact source of some of the glowing reviews it receives here. A tremendously inconsequential read. That's 20 minutes of my life I'll never see back.

One star for the luminous cover shot.
More of a pamphlet than a book  Dec 27, 2005
And a very poorly done one, at that. Other reviewers of this book hit the nail on the head -- the poor grammar and spelling, the glaring inaccuracies, and the measly 48 pages of text (which includes acknowledgements, introduction, and a filmography) make this a poor excuse for a biography. Most of the poorly reproduced photos are autographed, which indicates to me the author culled them from his personal collection. When the pages of photos outnumber the pages of text almost 2:1, you know something's amiss.

As for his claim in the Acknowledgements that he will "delve into the personality and life of Joan Fontaine via her personal letters to yours truly"? Well, don't hold your breath on that one, because the "personal letters," as revealed in the last chapter, are nothing more than polite thank you notes from Ms. Fontaine for the many (unwanted, it is implied) gifts the author has given her. After reading this book (and it took about 20 minutes), I can well understand why poor Ms. Fontaine wants to be left alone and shuns publicity.

Oh, and the reviewer who commented that all the negative reviews must have been written by the same person? I can assure you that's not the case. We're just all in agreement that the book is that bad. Had I thought to read the reviews beforehand, I never would have put this book on my wish list.

Do as others have advised and try to dig up a copy of Ms. Fontaine's autobiography, "No Bed of Roses."
Downright vicious  Nov 12, 2005
I picked up this book just to see what all the hype was on this Some reviews were downright hateful, some thoughtful, some repetitive. So, out of curiosity, I bought the book. Yes, of course, the usual criticisms of bad grammar, misspellings, and missteps are true. Myself, I am not so anal retentive that I would trash a book for its misgivings and minute details of bad language (I sometimes wish that these same people that pick on such things would care so deeply about the current state of public education in America, but that is for another time and place). I am certainly also curious about the reviewer(s)--whom I believe to be the same person--who often attacks the writer personally with such viciousness. Could it be the same person? The usage of language is the same throughout these "reviews" and certainly does indicate that it probably is the same person. I would fret to think what type of insane phone calls the publisher is getting as a result, if such a person is so willing to pontificate their dissatisfaction in such a personal way. However, I will leave that up to the viewer of these pages. Look, this is no Nobel laureate caliber writing nor is it completely garbage. Yes, it is tabloidish in nature, but then again, everyone who reads such a book consumes such things with joy. There are some definite tidbits about the persona of Ms. Fontaine. She does have a lot of remorse, arrogance, and downright megalomania found in her actions with Mr. Garrett. Like many hardened stars of yesteryear, Ms. Fontaine has alienated a lot of people and this is one man's story about this. I congratulate Mr. Garrett on writing a book about his interaction with Ms. Fontaine. If any others have a problem with it, then find a more applicable place to set your dirge upon the world: BLOGS.
`Thank You Notes From An Extremely Gracious Woman Who Really Wants To Be Left Alone'  Oct 3, 2005
I'm glad that I borrowed this book instead of wasting my money on it. The writer obviously did not do any research or he would know the very basics on Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland. Such as, Joan's middle name. It is de Beauvoir not Beauvoir and she is not two years younger than Olivia, she is one year and three months younger. It's all in Joan's autobiography - you might want to read it. If Olivia is still alive in 2009 for the 70th anniversary of `Gone With The Wind' she will be 93 not 92. Joan was doing a play not a movie when her mother passed away. I've come to the conclusion that the writer doesn't really know anything about Joan or her family. He is just an obsessed fan and so-called writer using this book to further his obsession. Why do I say `obsessed' well in Chapter 12, Letters From A Known Woman (which really should be titled `Thank You Notes From An Extremely Gracious Woman Who Really Wants To Be Left Alone'), Joan clearly stated that she no longer wanted any gifts especially candles but the writer couldn't grant her that wish. It's no wonder why she is no longer answering fan mail. I do believe that this so-called writer ruined the relationship between Joan and her fans with all of his nonsensical gifts and a book that is nothing but mixed up tabloid trash. The only thing that may have given this book a chance are the photos but the writer didn't even get that right with not having them printed on satin paper. All of what could have been beautiful photos came out with poor quality which fits the very essence of this book - tacky. The captions are mixed up with a horrible spelling error and one photo is printed twice. So in a nutshell, don't waste your money or your time. If you want to know about Joan Fontaine, read her book `No Bed Of Roses'. Joan knows her story and she is a wonderful writer.

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