Saturday, April 14, 2018

Book Review: A Final Chat with Patty Duke

As I've noted on these pages before, the late Patty Duke had the rare ability to connect deeply with audiences, not only in her award-winning performances but also by speaking openly and candidly about her own life and experiences. Her many fans who are still saddened by her death in 2016 will welcome this new book of reminiscences.

Although she published an autobiography some 30 years ago, her longtime fan and friend William J. Jankowski urged her to capture on the printed page her memories of the many storied co-stars and other colleagues with whom she worked over her lengthy career. The result makes for fascinating reading, as she shares previously untold stories about experiences both uplifting and unhappy, with an emphasis on the former. Some she has written about before, and it's intriguing to see how her accumulated maturity and life experience allowed her to change her perspective on people like Lucille Ball, and her second husband Michael Tell, who was ultimately revealed by DNA testing to be the biological father of her son Sean.

In his preface, her co-author writes that he and Duke "would like readers to feel like they are having a private, intimate conversation with her." That's a goal they accomplish beautifully here. This is a lovely book.

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