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Jane Fonda

by Patricia Bosworth |

REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

BIOGRAPHY

Now this is saying something: Bosworth’s extraordinary biography of the other iconic Fonda (sex kitten, actress, exercise guru, Ted Turner’s trophy wife) is more than 500 pages-and not one is wasted. The author, a friend from Fonda’s early acting days, is neither hagiographic nor scandal-mongering. She’s written an astute accounting of a woman of deep contradictions, a depressive plagued by bulimia and self-doubt, who nevertheless had a cool authority in front of the camera. Fonda’s anti-Vietnam War activism made her a polarizing figure, and she was just as polarizing in her personal life: a bitch or a goddess, depending on who’s quoted. Her life was rooted in tragedy: a mother who slit her own throat and an adored father who thought love was a disgusting weakness. So when Jane fell in love, she tried to transform herself into whoever her love wished her to be. Perhaps that’s why she’s had so many lives. Perhaps it’s also why her story resonates with us all.

People PICK

The Leftovers

by Tom Perrotta |

REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

NOVEL

Suburban chronicler Perrotta (Little Children) here envisions a town after the Rapture, in which some are taken to Jesus, leaving “the leftovers” to make sense of their lives. Jill “and Jen had been … watching YouTube videos,” Perrotta writes. “Then, in the time it takes to click a mouse, one of them is gone, and the other is screaming.” An engrossing read.

It’s All About the Dress

by Vicky Tiel |

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

MEMOIR

Designer Tiel was the toast of ’60s Paris, where she partied with jet-setters from Woody Allen to Brigitte Bardot. The “wretched excess” only escalated when Liz Taylor and Richard Burton added her to their entourage. Tiel peppers her saucy memoir with girlie advice and recipes for the likes of Taylor’s caviar “sandwiches.” Dig in.

The Most Dangerous Thing

by Laura Lippman |

REVIEWED BY JOSH EMMONS

NOVEL

The most dangerous thing about Lippman’s latest is its title. Is that bad? No, just puzzling. After beginning with a bang as recovering alcoholic Gordon Halloran fatally crashes his car into a wall, the book then tells the story of his friends and family. Shuttling between current and late-’70s Baltimore, it’s a kind of fleshed-out Stand by Me. There are secrets and cover-ups, yes, but the real drama happens at a more intimate level, where the promise of youth shrinks into the compromises of adulthood.