Monday, June 15, 2015

Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew

Raised by unconventional Irish Catholics who knew "how to drink, how to dance, how to talk, and how to stir up the devil," Kate Mulgrew grew up with poetry and drama in her bones. But in her mother, a would-be artist burdened by the endless arrival of new babies, young Kate saw the consequences of a dream deferred. Determined to pursue her own no matter the cost, at 18 she left her small Midwestern town for New York, where, studying with the legendary Stella Adler, she learned the lesson that would define her as an actress: "Use it," Adler told her. Whatever disappointment, pain, or anger life throws in your path, channel it into the work.

It was a lesson she would need. At twenty-two, just as her career was taking off, she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. Having already signed the adoption papers, she was allowed only a fleeting glimpse of her child. As her star continued to rise, her life became increasingly demanding and fulfilling, a whirlwind of passionate love affairs, life-saving friendships, and bone-crunching work. Through it all, Mulgrew remained haunted by the loss of her daughter, until, two decades later, she found the courage to face the past and step into the most challenging role of her life, both on and off screen.

We know Kate Mulgrew for the strong women she's played--Captain Janeway on Star Trek; the tough-as-nails "Red" on Orange is the New Black. Now, we meet the most inspiring and memorable character of all: herself. By turns irreverent and soulful, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-piercingly sad, Born with Teeth is the breathtaking memoir of a woman who dares to live life to the fullest, on her own terms. 

Born With Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew was a definite change of pace for this reader. As a die-hard fiction aficionado, the thought of reading someones life story was a deliberate challenge which turned out to be a nice surprise.  Born With Teeth is an interesting peek into the life of a passionate stage artist.  The painful and poignant moments are delivered in sometimes stark yet poetic turns of phrase, so that even the most ugly incidents can leave you breathless with heartache, and impressed by Mulgrew’s strength and perseverance.

  The almost matter of fact description of some episodes, such as her mother’s illness and decline, almost leaves the reader wondering if the scenes were actually what you understood them to be.   Was her friend a victim of child molestation  Did mother suffer from some sort of dementia, or just being her usual quirky, devil-may-care spirit?  Ms. Mulgrew, known to this low-level Trekkie as Captain Janeway, turns out to be a strong and gifted actress who has lived her life  full of energy and spirit who is haunted by regret and pain over the decision to give up a child for adoption very early in her career. 

 I enjoyed Born With Teeth, it is an easy read that is powerful in its simplicity. My reading challenge has encouraged this reader to pick up more books outside my usual go-to genres.  

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Malaika 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to leave a comment. It's appreciated.