Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door Book Review

Celebrity status is akin to almost becoming a deity. But we forget that those celebrities are human beings who go through the same experiences as much as the ordinary Jane or John Doe on the street does.

In 2009, writer David Kaufman released his biography about the late actress Doris Day. Entitled Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door, the book tells the story of Day’s life as a contrast to her screen image and the roles that she played.

Born Doris Mary Kappelhoff to German-American parents in 1922, Day grew up in Cincinnati. Known to movie fans as the virginal girl next door with just enough sexuality to make her interesting, she was Queen of the box office in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. What is interesting to me as a reader is that her image as an actress and her real life was drastically different.

She was married four times and had only one child via her first husband. None of her marriages could be classified as pictures of marital perfection. Her longest marriage was to her manager, Marty Melcher. Though the marriage started out as an ideal love match (he also adopted her son), it did not end well. The irony of this time in her life is that this period in her personal life coincided with unparalleled career success.

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This book is amazing. I felt like I knew the real Doris Day, not the Doris Day whose image had been so carefully cultivated by movie studios. This is a story of a woman who survived so much and was able to live a full life in spite of what she had experienced.

I recommend it.

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