CHARGE (What is the author trying to say?): To explore Audrey Hepburn’s early years in the Netherlands during World War II and how it affected her development as a person and as an actress.
FACTS: Audrey, called Adriaantje, was born in Brussels. She was blindsided at age 6 by the separation of her parents and her banishment to a small boarding school in England. “She would never quite recover from the shock of the separation.” Her mother, Ella, was a Nazi-sympathizer and spent a lot of time in Germany. Her father also traveled extensively for the Third Reich. After Great Britain declared war on Germany, Audrey was moved to the Netherlands, where she lived with her mother and two half-brothers. Reunited with her mother would prove difficult. “Audrey would spend most of the next forty-five year subjugating her own will to that of her mother.” Audrey was trained in classical ballet. The circumstances of Anne Frank and the writing of her diary had a profound effect on Audrey. As the author describes the horrors and privations of the war years, he notes that Hepburn very rarely discussed them herself – though these experiences affected her for the remainder of her life. The book does bog down with too much focus on the unfolding history and too little on Audrey herself.
VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged.