I Am Sophie Tucker: A Fictional Memoir
By Susan Lloyd Ecker
ARC e-book, 275 pages
2014, Prospecta Press
ISBN: 9781632260062 (hardcover)
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From NetGalley: From 1906 through the beginning of television, Sophie Tucker and her bawdy, brash, and risqué songs paved the way for future female performers. Tucker tried to get her story published for nine years, without success. Undaunted, Sophie hired half a dozen ghostwriters, but she still had no takers for her no holds barred autobiography. Eventually, Doubleday published a sanitized version in 1945. “After immersing ourselves in Sophie’s papers and surviving friends,” says co-author Lloyd Ecker, “this initial volume is what should have been the actual autobiography of Tucker. Though she obsessively documented her life, Sophie loved to exaggerate for dramatic effect. This volume is 85% fact, the other 15% who knows?” I Am Sophie Tucker puts back all of the delicious bits nixed by Doubleday’s lawyers and throws in other Tucker show business dirt, intrigue, arrests, romance, murder, gangsters, and scandals.
In short, this book was cute.
I’ll trust in Ecker when he says the book is 85% fact, because I’m too lazy to do my own research. Really, I knew next to nothing about Sophie Tucker before reading this book, except that she was a bawdy singer from the 1920s or so. I just thought the book sounded rather entertaining, and it was. I’m willing to bet that all the major events in this book actually happened to Sophie and that the famous people she became friends with, were also her friends in real life.
This book isn’t anything special – the writing didn’t blow me away, but it did keep me entertained and gave me a few chuckles. If Sophie was anything like she was portrayed in this book, she’d definitely be a celebrity I’d love to go back in time and meet. Her sheer determination to make herself famous is inspiring. There are also some great photographs and media material in here, that I think will look much better in print then they did on my first generation Nook.
If you’re a fan of celebrity biographies/memoirs or the entertainment industry in the early 1900s, you’ll probably enjoy this book.
*cover image from NetGalley