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Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA. The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. T Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA. The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few. Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment. For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik’s elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.


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Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA. The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. T Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA. The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few. Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment. For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik’s elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.

30 review for Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik is a 2019 Scribner publication. I read a lot of rock biographies, love pop culture, and know a fair amount of trivia from the sixties and seventies, but I don’t recall hearing about Eve Babitz. Seeing this book advertised, I was curious enough to do a Google search, which had me jumping down my own rabbit hole, much the same way Lili Anolik must have. However, Anolik took a fascination and turned it into a minor obsession. Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik is a 2019 Scribner publication. I read a lot of rock biographies, love pop culture, and know a fair amount of trivia from the sixties and seventies, but I don’t recall hearing about Eve Babitz. Seeing this book advertised, I was curious enough to do a Google search, which had me jumping down my own rabbit hole, much the same way Lili Anolik must have. However, Anolik took a fascination and turned it into a minor obsession. Her research, and ultimately her interviews, with Babtiz led to an article about Eve, which was published in Vanity Fair magazine in 2014. This seemed to spawn a renewed interest in Eve, prompting the re-issue of her novels. I’m certainly interested in seeing what all the fuss is about and am happy to have found her books at the library and on Scribd. While I did find the information in this book of interest and it did pique my curiosity, basically, this book is just an extended version of the Vanity Fair article, and is a very quick read. (The original Vanity Fair article can easily be found online.) Anolik is obviously a huge fan of Eve’s and the book has a sycophant like tone at times. In fact, it is more a fan girl homage than anything else. Although Anolik’s enthusiasm is catchy, It still left me wanting something more. It would be nice, I think, if Eve wrote a memoir someday. 3 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is an expanded version of Anolik’s Vanity Fair article. There is a good bit of information about the author’s pursuit of Babitz and some interesting observations about Joan Didion. It’s a solid biography if you haven’t read the article. If you have read it there isn’t much that is new.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    In 2012, after several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the reclusive Eve Babitz, who was living forgotten in obscurity in her West Hollywood condo—biographer Lili Anolik was finally rewarded for her persistence and began meeting Babitz for occasional lunch dates. “Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.” (2019) recalls the life and times of Eve Babitz (1943-) and the story of Anolik’s passion and fascination for her subject. Since Anolik lived in New York, a great a In 2012, after several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the reclusive Eve Babitz, who was living forgotten in obscurity in her West Hollywood condo—biographer Lili Anolik was finally rewarded for her persistence and began meeting Babitz for occasional lunch dates. “Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.” (2019) recalls the life and times of Eve Babitz (1943-) and the story of Anolik’s passion and fascination for her subject. Since Anolik lived in New York, a great amount of time and expense was required to produce this unique and interesting book. Eve Babitz likely got her flair for artistic and creative expression from her parents. Sol, was the first violinist for the 20th Century Fox Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mae, was an artist. Eve grew quite accustomed to being around the rich and famous from an early age, she would become an expert social climber and groupie in her teens and young adulthood. Eve finished her education at Hollywood High. Although she was highly intelligent, without a college education/degree she lacked the discipline and credentials of her famous friends that became notable award winning bestselling authors. A confirmed hedonist, never shamed by her behavior, she seemed to use the freshness of youth, good looks and a “stacked” bust line to feed her need for attention. Babitz was the subject of a famous nude photograph, she seduced the Door’s frontman Jim Morrison (1943-71) within three minutes of meeting him. Earl McGrath knew “everyone”-- he and Babitz had an unusual dynamic in their relationship, though by 1971 these “soul mates” were over. McGrath introduced Eve to Turkish-American founder of Atlantic Records and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ahmet Ertegun (1923-2006). Eve became Ertegun’s mistress, and likely wasn't his only one. Not that Babitz cared in the first place. The list of lovers and famous men she had been involved with was very long, with her carefree “no strings attached” attitude. Marriage held little value or consideration for her. What Babitz couldn’t pay for with her earnings as an artist and collagist, (she designed album covers for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds) her living expenses were covered by others. Babitz maintained a sparsely furnished apartment near the Sunset Strip with only a few chairs, a crate for a table, along with her books, papers and a bed. Annie Leibovitz (1949-) also visited Eve, photographing her after Rolling Stone accepted a piece Babitz wrote for the magazine that helped launch her writing career. Eve squandered two of her book advances. By the late 1970’s, she was addicted to cocaine. Less was said about addiction and recovery, as Babitz faced another “squalid over-boogie” (her own definition for burn-out). In 1997, a tragic accident left Eve badly burned. As she was lighting a cigar and dropped it, her highly flammable clothing caught fire. Thankfully, a concerned community of friends raised the funds for her costly healthcare and treatments. Babitz commercially released book: “Slow Days Fast Company: The World, The Flesh and L.A.” (1977) received good reviews and more notice than her previous books which featured a memoir essay genre. However, it was unnecessary and mean spirited the way Anolik compared "Slow Day's" to Joan Didion’s bestselling classic novel “Play It As It Lays” (1970). Babitz’ two books that followed “Sex and Rage” (1979) and “L.A. Woman” (1982) were not her best works, according to Anolik. The majority of Babitz’ books were out of print until some titles were reissued in 2015. Anolik writes well enough, more details about the famous people Babitz surrounded herself with would have added to the appeal of the book. It was unfortunate that Babitz didn’t seem to understand that her youthful appearance, allure and sex appeal would have a limited shelf life. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library. 3* GOOD.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott S.

    "You've heard of people marching to the sound of their own drum? Well, [she's] got a whole fife and bugle corps." -- line of dialogue spoken by actress / singer Julie London in the 70's Artist. Author. Shameless hedonist. Friend of celebrities. The ultimate It Girl from sunny So-Cal. Eve Babitz was living a reclusive / secluded life (in Hollywood, of all places), mostly forgotten about by the American public until seven years ago when she was the subject of a Vanity Fair article by journalist Lili "You've heard of people marching to the sound of their own drum? Well, [she's] got a whole fife and bugle corps." -- line of dialogue spoken by actress / singer Julie London in the 70's Artist. Author. Shameless hedonist. Friend of celebrities. The ultimate It Girl from sunny So-Cal. Eve Babitz was living a reclusive / secluded life (in Hollywood, of all places), mostly forgotten about by the American public until seven years ago when she was the subject of a Vanity Fair article by journalist Lili Anolik. At about the same time Babitz's books - she penned six in the 70's and early 80's about L.A.'s subculture -went back into print, garnering her a new and contemporary audience. But who is this woman? Babitz was the daughter of an artist and a orchestral musician (Igor Stravinsky was her godfather!), a product of Hollywood High and possibly muse-ish to 60's / 70's artists and rock stars. She first achieved a modicum of notoriety in autumn 1963, at twenty years old, posing nude for an staged photograph with chess master Marcel Duchamp. For the next fifteen years she was like L.A.'s Forrest Gump, rubbing elbows (and more) with Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, Harrison Ford in their salad days. And yet she was no mere groupie. Babitz received critical acclaim - if not large sales - for her written work, and even before that had also designed album covers for acts like Linda Ronstadt (on her debut release), the Byrds (David Crosby was an acquaintance in L.A.), and Buffalo Springfield. Author Anolik clearly has a certain fascination and respect for her subject, and that's good since on paper Babitz does not seem like a particularly likable person. (She appears to keep most people at arm's length, and does not seem very warm. But being an introvert is not against the law, so . . . ) Babits is living life on her own terms, and her experiences and anecdotes made for a pretty good bio.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eleanore

    "On the one hand, how great, new fans for Eve, and who cares if they were fans for the wrong reasons, and is there such a thing as a wrong reason, and bless their ingenuous little hearts in any case. On the other hand, though, Jesus fucking Christ. And as they talked, I'd nod and make appropriate remarks, all the while internally sighing and muttering sarcastic comments to myself. Because unh-uh, because give me a break, because absolutely not. Eve is nothing like Darren Star's heroine, a tough "On the one hand, how great, new fans for Eve, and who cares if they were fans for the wrong reasons, and is there such a thing as a wrong reason, and bless their ingenuous little hearts in any case. On the other hand, though, Jesus fucking Christ. And as they talked, I'd nod and make appropriate remarks, all the while internally sighing and muttering sarcastic comments to myself. Because unh-uh, because give me a break, because absolutely not. Eve is nothing like Darren Star's heroine, a tough cookie with a gooey marshmallow center. Eve's sleep-around, troublemaker front is real. There's no doe-eyed snookums looking for the right fella behind it, no twinkling heart of gold. She isn't an Every Girl, or relatable--the opposite. She's about as far out as you can get: an existential outlaw plus a demon plus an artist. Straight down the line." It's so interesting to me that Anolik opens this book with a clarification that it's not exactly a ("traditional") biography -- and her argument as to why is certainly sufficient, even justifiable... when it turns out to be one of the most fulfilling and clear-eyed biographies I can recall reading, and on such a thorny, elusive subject at that. I adore Eve Babitz, just as Anolik does, though I'll never know her personally, as she does, and I'm even less objective about Babitz's works than Anolik is; she's able to admit up front to not particularly caring for two of Eve's most famous four works, a point on which we diverge, though I see her points. But that's neither here nor there. She delivers a fantastic portrait of a somewhat infamous -- while still being lesser known than she deserves (though, due to recent reissues -- and thanks in some part to Anolik herself, and her Vanity Fair piece that helped set that ball rolling, too -- that is finally changing) -- near-recluse, though one who captured the true spirit of Los Angeles better than any other writer I've yet read. Babitz achieves this in part because she's never able to depersonalize it; every Babitz "novel" or story collection is really at least semi-, if not fully, autobiography, over and over, and she's completely unapologetic about it. Similarly, though Anolik begins with the confession that she's grown too close to her subject for this biography to fully qualify, she never lets herself off the hook as one might expect. She still sees and examines Eve, and her works, exactly as she is, and they are, and we're all included like another listener in on the process, and all the better illuminated for it. This book also delivers the deconstruction and de-mythologizing of Joan Didion I never even knew I wanted so badly, until I finally read it here; it explains at last exactly why, no matter how great Didion is (and she is undoubtedly great), her attitude and writing on Los Angeles, which she staunchly looked sideways and down her nose at, has always left me so cold. Eve is a wrecking ball force contained within a single woman; wrapped up in all her errors in judgment, her drinking and drugging, her infamous love affairs, her several other aborted artistic careers, her dismissals and fascinations... that is the Los Angeles I know and love, and call my home, even though I never have (and never will) live a life anything like hers. (Will any other woman? Doubtful. She is singular, yet her works are near-universally appealing, which is what makes her so brilliant. Her secret is sharing as many of hers as she deems worthy of revealing, which is most of them, and so she makes us all her confidante, enhances all our lives through them, no matter how far apart from her locale or her moment we'll always be.) Most of all, I treasure this book for revealing so much more behind the iconic LA woman, and that of her that's revealed through her own works, as Babitz's work -- coming into my life as I've created my own hard-won home, as a very different sort of artist, in the Los Angeles of now (which both never could be, yet simultaneously always will be, Eve's LA) -- has been revelatory to me unlike that of any other writer. I'll always wish I could write like her, though I never will, nor should anyone bother to attempt it. I'll just have to settle for re- (and re-re-, and so on) reading her, armed now with more to appreciate behind her words and stories than ever before. They were already special to me, but they've grown more so for reading this. If that's non-traditional biography, I'm very satisfied to be not at all a traditional reader.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Britta Böhler

    More fan-nonfiction than a biography, but I found the mix of the author's personal point of view, interviews and biographical snippets very fitting for the subject in question, and also a highly enjoyable read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Don

    This is a terrible book. It is about half gushing over over babitz and her at best mediocre writings as if they were creative gems and blistering the overrated Joan Didion, particularly for her Play It As It Lays. She praises bibitz beauty, especially when she was young, but the photos of Babitz belie that praise. Babitz was a Hollywood groupie who had sex with many notables, including the overrated Jim morrison and dozens of hollywood lounge lizards. Anolik writes partial sentences in some case This is a terrible book. It is about half gushing over over babitz and her at best mediocre writings as if they were creative gems and blistering the overrated Joan Didion, particularly for her Play It As It Lays. She praises bibitz beauty, especially when she was young, but the photos of Babitz belie that praise. Babitz was a Hollywood groupie who had sex with many notables, including the overrated Jim morrison and dozens of hollywood lounge lizards. Anolik writes partial sentences in some cases and long, convoluted difficult to follow sentences elsewhere. She is a sloppy writer, e.g., she refers to NOW as National Organization of Women; she refers to Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray as "Portrait of Dorian Gray," and in one sentences uses fraught and freighted as if they were different in meaning [those are just a few examples]. The second biggest question is why did Anolik seek to extol such lavish attention and praise of the writings and lifestyle of Babitz, a virtual nobody? The biggest question is why did I read it to the end?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    WELL I READ THAT IN A SITTING. It seems like two summers ago, everyone on Bookstagram and on book Twitter was talking about Eve Babitz. The more I read about her from the people I followed, the more I wanted to know who she was through her writing. I purchased Sex & Rage in the fall of 2017 (and, shamefully, still haven't read it), and I bought Eve's Hollywood this past fall at Strand Bookstore in New York City while I was there visiting a friend. I read Eve's Hollywood from the end of Novemb WELL I READ THAT IN A SITTING. It seems like two summers ago, everyone on Bookstagram and on book Twitter was talking about Eve Babitz. The more I read about her from the people I followed, the more I wanted to know who she was through her writing. I purchased Sex & Rage in the fall of 2017 (and, shamefully, still haven't read it), and I bought Eve's Hollywood this past fall at Strand Bookstore in New York City while I was there visiting a friend. I read Eve's Hollywood from the end of November to December last year, and I simultaneously wanted to devour that book in a day and savor it over all time. I finally understood why everyone was talking about Eve Babitz (again). Babitz is an enigma. She'll make you fall in love with her Los Angeles, and she'll make you fall in love with her, all while keeping you at an arm's length so you can't help but want to listen to everything she has to say. Lili Anolik's fascination with Eve Babitz, her life, and writing, turned into a Vanity Fair article that was later expanded into Hollywood's Eve. I read Anolik's Hollywood's Eve in a single sitting. I picked it up, read a few chapters, and did what I had to do for the day quickly so that I could spend the rest of my afternoon completely engrossed in Anolik's discovery, research, and eventual personal connection with Babitz. I really enjoyed Anolik's emulation of Babitz's style, mixing in personal experience with the subject at hand. I find for certain biographies, this style works well, because a writer is able to add in personal anecdotes about people and places that would seem out of place in a more "formal" biography. I learned a lot about Hollywood in the 60s and 70s through Eve's Hollywood and Hollywood's Eve that I've not really seen or read discussed anywhere else -- like the bits about the Didions and Harrison Ford. Sometimes for me, who has only recently begun to dive into the behind-the-scenes stories of a Hollywood that's gone, it's a little jaw-dropping to see so many well-known faces know having those connections back then. That knowledge adds so much depth to the writing and film I'll consume from that point forward, you know? Eve Babitz is not often likeable, but she is an incredible observer and writer. I thoroughly enjoyed the small part Anolik included that contrasted Eve with her sister Mirandi because it added so much more understanding to Eve as a person. Over the years I've read a lot more about and by "difficult" women, women who sometimes behave in ways that men do and the men are praised for it (or have their actions conveniently brushed aside) while the women are villainized or shamed for it? And why? Because they're women? I'm still confronting that within myself and realizing the best thing I can do is listen, absorb, and pay attention. And maybe be more like Babitz myself. Thank you to Scribner for sending me a copy of Hollywood's Eve to review! All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    I can’t remember the last time, if there ever was a time that I’ve read a biography and if this is in deed my first, I’m glad it was. I’ve never read anything by Eve Babitz. Shamefully, Sex and Rage has been sitting unread on my shelf for about 7 months, but this biography was such a joy to listen to that I want to binge as much as I can by her now. Listening to this on audio transported me to the late 60s and 70s Hollywood.. a time and place I’d love more fiction and nonfiction stories set in. I I can’t remember the last time, if there ever was a time that I’ve read a biography and if this is in deed my first, I’m glad it was. I’ve never read anything by Eve Babitz. Shamefully, Sex and Rage has been sitting unread on my shelf for about 7 months, but this biography was such a joy to listen to that I want to binge as much as I can by her now. Listening to this on audio transported me to the late 60s and 70s Hollywood.. a time and place I’d love more fiction and nonfiction stories set in. I love that Babitz never gave a crap and always remained herself. I feel like I have homework to do now..I have Babitz to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I decided to find out who Eve Babitz was. So I bought some of her writings and this bio. Her world is not my cup of tea. All the talk about being a groupie and having large breasts depressed me. I didn’t find it amusing or witty. Just painfully passé.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma Kearney

    For all my feminism and constant work to undo internalized misogyny, I still struggle with unlikable women. Perhaps more than anything, I want to be likable. And I love to dole out compliments to my female friends that are overblown, commenting on their kindness and sweetness. Eve Babitz is not likable, but she is a genius. Practicing sitting with her is a helpful, if uncomfortable exercise. Babitz is like Lana del Rey (also a genius), but it isn’t a pastiche. There is no wink or nod. This is ju For all my feminism and constant work to undo internalized misogyny, I still struggle with unlikable women. Perhaps more than anything, I want to be likable. And I love to dole out compliments to my female friends that are overblown, commenting on their kindness and sweetness. Eve Babitz is not likable, but she is a genius. Practicing sitting with her is a helpful, if uncomfortable exercise. Babitz is like Lana del Rey (also a genius), but it isn’t a pastiche. There is no wink or nod. This is just Babitz’s life. Anolik, especially by also including Eve’s sister’s story, emphasizes that feminine genius often is undocumentable. Its products are sometimes by products and only have One Author and that Author is male. Eve, the writer is one thing. But Eve, the person who gained access to all that she wrote about is another. One lends itself to assessment on established terms, but the other is more interesting. Just harder to reckon with as genius. But hanger-ons, groupies, muses must have something (genius, or perhaps a different word) and Anolik starts to build a vocabulary of how do we revere them. This is bolstered in this book by Anolik giving over to her affection and relationship with Babitz. Rather than implicating fictive distance, Anolik embraces the biographical collapse between subject, object and author and lets the cracks show so much that they cease to be cracks. I still struggle for language to describe sitting with Babitz. But I think of all the behavior I forgive in male geniuses I love, and I wonder what equivalence I should extend to her. Forgiveness isn’t quite the right word because on what authority do I forgive Babitz for her behavior that makes me uneasy? I think maybe the best thing I can give her is my attention.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Everyone close to Eve (and still living), including Eve herself, participated in the writing of this book and is quoted frequently and at length. For that reason, and that reason only, it's worth reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kirby

    A yummy book.... but also a little heart-breaking without being a full-blown tragedy. This biography of Eve Babitz is full of rich dichotomies. I've never read anything by her. Sorry, I know that probably makes me a loser. But I feel like that may have been a great way to read this: without expectation about the kind of person Eve actually was. The author does a fantastic job with characterization; her descriptions of people are luscious, and very specific. You know exactly who she is talking ab A yummy book.... but also a little heart-breaking without being a full-blown tragedy. This biography of Eve Babitz is full of rich dichotomies. I've never read anything by her. Sorry, I know that probably makes me a loser. But I feel like that may have been a great way to read this: without expectation about the kind of person Eve actually was. The author does a fantastic job with characterization; her descriptions of people are luscious, and very specific. You know exactly who she is talking about. Based on the excerpts I read of Eve's work, it seems like a reflection of her style. There is a lot to chew on here. Eve is truly complex: too independent to be a groupie, too mean to be a manic pixie dream girl, too willing to be a victim... or was she? Sometimes it's hard to understand her motivations. She's just generally very difficult to pigeonhole or confine to some predetermined archetype. The end of the book explores these ideas very well, in my opinion. This is also an awesome L.A. book. It captures the romance and excitement of Hollywood, but also shows the tough, defensive, scrappy face of the city. It's been awhile since I read a book and didn't want it to end. This is one of those. Super enjoyable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    Guys, this book! It’s sex and art and celebrity before it was tainted by the internet. It’s 60’s and 70’s Hollywood. Names you know (Harrison Ford makes sense to me now) and names you won’t (but wished you could have partied with). Eve Babitz is Joan Didion but with grit and a beating heart and a DGAF attitude. Recommend

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Johnson

    Started this book and about a third of the way fell asleep. My dog was snoring so loud that he woke me up. Looked at the few pictures of Eve (I don’t get the author talking about her being beautiful. She looks like Joan Jett to me), read about her “big tits” umpteen times, read that Jim Morrison was a goober and that’s about the time I bailed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Y (adoredwords)

    This was written by a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, who became obsessed with Babitz sometime before 2012. She became so fascinated with Babitz that she ended up doing a bunch of research on her and writing a featured article for Vanity Fair in 2014, which is what prompted the reissuing of Babitz's work two years later by NYRB. In this book, Anolik adds on more info on Babitz, and though I am grateful for ANY new info on Babitz, none really felt like a revelation or even "new", necessarily. This was written by a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, who became obsessed with Babitz sometime before 2012. She became so fascinated with Babitz that she ended up doing a bunch of research on her and writing a featured article for Vanity Fair in 2014, which is what prompted the reissuing of Babitz's work two years later by NYRB. In this book, Anolik adds on more info on Babitz, and though I am grateful for ANY new info on Babitz, none really felt like a revelation or even "new", necessarily. This felt like a longer and wordier version of her featured article in Vanity Fair. Don't get me wrong I am happy this book exists! This is a good book for anyone learning about Eve for the first time ever. Another thing I was disappointed about was that there weren’t many new photos of Eve included in this book. The ones that are included in here are the ones we see over and over again. [This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review]

  17. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I love Eve Babitz. I’ve read and reread her early works and think that she had excellent insight into the workings of the Hollywood/Los Angeles scene. So I was prepared to enjoy Hollywood’s Eve, but ended up hating it. The parts directly pertaining to Ms. Babitz were good, but the author’s constant options were just dreadful. The author had no experience in the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll and was so out of her element that I almost pitied her. I can see why Ms. Babitz was reluctant to I love Eve Babitz. I’ve read and reread her early works and think that she had excellent insight into the workings of the Hollywood/Los Angeles scene. So I was prepared to enjoy Hollywood’s Eve, but ended up hating it. The parts directly pertaining to Ms. Babitz were good, but the author’s constant options were just dreadful. The author had no experience in the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll and was so out of her element that I almost pitied her. I can see why Ms. Babitz was reluctant to work with her and I really wish they had gone with a different, worldlier presenter. I suggest that you read the books written by Ms. Babitz and avoid this piece of shit.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I hate the way this book is written. The writer is far too indiscreet with punctuation. Colons, semi colons et al abound, sentences veer all over the place, and paragraphing makes little sense. The narrator often speaks in first person, and then suddenly switches to quotes from the subject (Babitz) who is also speaking in first person, and things become so confusing that the reader isn't sure who is speaking. Who is this book really about? I wonder. A good biography is one in which the writer st I hate the way this book is written. The writer is far too indiscreet with punctuation. Colons, semi colons et al abound, sentences veer all over the place, and paragraphing makes little sense. The narrator often speaks in first person, and then suddenly switches to quotes from the subject (Babitz) who is also speaking in first person, and things become so confusing that the reader isn't sure who is speaking. Who is this book really about? I wonder. A good biography is one in which the writer steps back and allows their subject to come to life, to become real. Babitz was never real to me but Anolik was annoyingly present at all times. I don't know who this woman is, and at this point, I have no interest in knowing more about her, and as for Babitz, I really haven't learned much about her other than as a young woman she was promiscuous, was famous for her big boobs and a nude photograph playing chess with Marcel Duchamp. This could have been so much more than it is if only the writer could take her ego out of the recounting of another woman's life.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Wilder

    Breezy and exhilarating critical biography cum first person stream of consciousness on the forgotten and remembered doyenne of counterculture Hollywood.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz Pardey

    I was so looking forward to reading this book -- and it mostly lived up to my expectations. Of course I was an Eve-ite. She is the tragi-comic heroine of her own story. In case you missed it, Eve grew up in the Los Angeles of the 60s and 70s; in fact it could be said she WAS LA in the 60s and 70s --- knowing everyone and very close to some -- Jim Morrison, Ahmet Ertegun, Paul Ruscha (brother of Ed). She was, as Anolik points out, the perfect courtesan, witty, discrete, talented in her own right I was so looking forward to reading this book -- and it mostly lived up to my expectations. Of course I was an Eve-ite. She is the tragi-comic heroine of her own story. In case you missed it, Eve grew up in the Los Angeles of the 60s and 70s; in fact it could be said she WAS LA in the 60s and 70s --- knowing everyone and very close to some -- Jim Morrison, Ahmet Ertegun, Paul Ruscha (brother of Ed). She was, as Anolik points out, the perfect courtesan, witty, discrete, talented in her own right, happy to be single. Then there was the accident -- she was always a bit clutsy -- trying to light a cigar (!) in the car, she dropped the match on her skirt, it burst into flame, burning her body but sparing her face and arms. This and just simple aging have made her almost a recluse, living frugally and, as always, on her own terms. She no longer writes -- can't be bothered I suppose -- just as she becomes the new great thing. Her books are reprinted, receiving critical acclaim. Lili Anolik has been a fan, spent several years writing a profile of Eve for Vanity Fair , worming her way into Eve's trust, talking to her sister. So here is my slight disappointment -- I read the profile and was so taken with Ms Anolik's style -- fast paced, racy, not always respecting literary conventions but always effective. I think it's the pace that disappoints me here. The last quarter slows, reviews, considers, consolidates. There is still a lot of value here -- we meet Mirandi, Eve's sister, a little bit of 'where are they now' Seeing Eve as she is today is a bit of a downer -- no longer caring about her looks, still matter-of-fact about her fabulous youth, always ready for a restaurant meal -- and still as always Eve. One of a kind Read this, then if you haven't read her books. Slow Days Fast CompanyEve's Hollywood her city as she knows it, short stories, novels.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda Robinson

    I am in awe of Eve Babitz. And more recently, Lili Anolik, too. Discovered Anolik with her VF piece on Edie Sedgwick, which captured the NY art celebrity scene so the reader could be there. Anolik's writing style is a cacophony of adolation and snark & wry. Suits NY. Eve Babitz wrote LA into corporeal life; she's the insider's insider. With an uncanny eye for celebrity before it becomes fame, she created the scene. The restaurants, bars, galleries, people. There are no secrets in this book. I am in awe of Eve Babitz. And more recently, Lili Anolik, too. Discovered Anolik with her VF piece on Edie Sedgwick, which captured the NY art celebrity scene so the reader could be there. Anolik's writing style is a cacophony of adolation and snark & wry. Suits NY. Eve Babitz wrote LA into corporeal life; she's the insider's insider. With an uncanny eye for celebrity before it becomes fame, she created the scene. The restaurants, bars, galleries, people. There are no secrets in this book. Babitz certainly didn't reveal the truths - her sister did. Anolik writing about interviewing Mirandi Babitz, and then dialing Babitz to ask "is this true?" is a little creepy. Eve Babitz is an artist; a writer whose work needs to be admired as much as we idolize the less deserving. So she's not a superior human being. She's an artist I want to be. Unapologetic, fearless, not relentlessly self-aware, fiercely independent. This - what is this book - memoir? biography? autobiography? critical essay? fan tribute? books review? reads like Anolik hasn't sorted where she stands on Babitz. She savages one of my favorite Babitz books, takes on Joan Didion (a little oddly - semi-positioning this criticism as if it's on behalf of Eve - a thing Babitz avoided up until Anolik did the dirty work), writes too much on how the novel is dead - so 19th century! - having written a novel herself while researching this extended VF article on Eve Babitz. A point is made more than once that people close to Eve who were interviewed are now friends. Credit to Anolik for revitalizing reading of EB works is reasonable, but she gives herself a significant pat on the back. Maybe I'd be happier with another artist writing about Babitz's art. Artists are weird, special people. We know about Eve Babitz by reading her own writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Before she became an artist and author ("Slow Days, Fast Company"), Eve Babitz was a party girl par excellence. Carousing with artists, actors and musicians came naturally to her: Eve's mother was an artist; her father was a movie musician; and her godfather was composer Igor Stravinsky. In 1963, when she was 20, she gained notoriety when for an art exhibit she posed for a nude photograph playing chess with artist Marcel Duchamp. She was sexually free and enjoyed her drugs. Babitz once said, "An Before she became an artist and author ("Slow Days, Fast Company"), Eve Babitz was a party girl par excellence. Carousing with artists, actors and musicians came naturally to her: Eve's mother was an artist; her father was a movie musician; and her godfather was composer Igor Stravinsky. In 1963, when she was 20, she gained notoriety when for an art exhibit she posed for a nude photograph playing chess with artist Marcel Duchamp. She was sexually free and enjoyed her drugs. Babitz once said, "Anyone who lived past thirty just wasn't trying hard enough to have fun." Much of this juicy and illuminating biography concerns how Vanity Fair contributing editor Lili Anolik's appreciation of Babitz's numerous books and album cover art led her to seek out the now-reclusive icon. Babitz left the limelight after a 1997 fire left her with third-degree burns and massive medical debt. The generous quotations from the author's novels display a witty, caustic and observant writer well worth rediscovering. But many will read Hollywood's Eve for the tantalizing tales of her sexual exploits. She dated Steve Martin, Jim Morrison, Jack Nicholson and others. Novelist Dan Wakefield remembers, "Our year together was one of my favorite years, but I couldn't have lived through two of them. My God, the decadence!" Her relationship with struggling actor Harrison Ford was strictly physical. "Harrison could f***," says Babitz. "Nine people a day. It's a talent, loving nine people in one day. Warren [Beatty] could only do six." HOLLYWOOD'S EVE is a gossipy delight and entertaining reintroduction to a very talented writer of L.A. life. This fascinating and juicy bio of Eve Babitz will satisfy gossip-lovers and resurrect the superb chronicler of sex, drugs and life in Los Angeles.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Eve of the title is Eve Babitz, a “groupie” to both artists and musicians in the 60s and 70s. The daughter of an artist and musician, she dabbled as both an artist and muse while bed-hopping and living with the soon-to-be famous in Hollywood, before eventually becoming a writer. The author returns to Babitz again and again for interviews, but it seems unless she knows precisely what to ask, she doesn’t get much in the way of useful answers. Instead, the bulk of the information Anolik receives The Eve of the title is Eve Babitz, a “groupie” to both artists and musicians in the 60s and 70s. The daughter of an artist and musician, she dabbled as both an artist and muse while bed-hopping and living with the soon-to-be famous in Hollywood, before eventually becoming a writer. The author returns to Babitz again and again for interviews, but it seems unless she knows precisely what to ask, she doesn’t get much in the way of useful answers. Instead, the bulk of the information Anolik receives is from the people that knew and hung out with Babitz 50-60 years ago. Especially her sister, Mirandi, who came across as open and forthcoming, and armed Anolik with detailed information she could then turn into specific questions to pose to Babitz. I’m so glad the author dedicated several chapters at the end of the book to Mirandi, because these provided great insight into Hollywood in the Age of Aquarius, what growing up with her sister and her parents was really like, and how her teen years and early 20s easily matched Eve’s own wild youth—her life story could really fill its own book! Eve would largely be forgotten if it were not for this book, and a series of magazine articles that coincided with the re-release of her books a few years ago. I’m not sure how I feel about this book myself: the author makes it clear right from the start that this is a love letter to her subject, although her subject seems wholly uninterested, and frankly, not very likable. So if this had been a straight-out biography, conveyed objectively, I would’ve tossed it in the Did Not Finish pile and moved on, but it’s the author’s giddy fangirl fascination that propels this book along, and I kept wanting to see what she saw in this woman.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jamele (BookswithJams)

    Lili Anolik gives us what we have been missing regarding the life of Eve Babitz, along with a bonus glimpse into L.A. during one of its most glamorous time periods, the 60's. I loved every bit of this, she painted perfectly the setting, and the format was ideal to convey Eve's history, first as a 'groupie' and then later on as a writer. I did not know who she was prior to reading this book, but by the end, I understood why the author was so enamored with her. Thank you to Scribner and Edelweiss f Lili Anolik gives us what we have been missing regarding the life of Eve Babitz, along with a bonus glimpse into L.A. during one of its most glamorous time periods, the 60's. I loved every bit of this, she painted perfectly the setting, and the format was ideal to convey Eve's history, first as a 'groupie' and then later on as a writer. I did not know who she was prior to reading this book, but by the end, I understood why the author was so enamored with her. Thank you to Scribner and Edelweiss for the electronic ARC to review. All opinions above are my own. Pub date is 1/8/19.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Ugghhhhhh. I wish this book had been written by someone else. Way, way too much 'I' in this purported biography, and a super-annoying 'I' at that, with a heaping helping of internalized misogyny and looks-ism. This bitch literally refers to the subject, an elderly burn victim, as a "ruin" and a "gorgon"!!! I shit you not. Much like the fictionalized life of Margaret Cavendish that let me down so badly a few years ago, Lili Anolik simply is not up to the task of encapsulating Eve Babitz.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This author injects so much of her own loathsome personality into this book that I had a hard time liking the object of her idolatry. She egregiously fails to credit Léon Bing as a fellow writer, instead referring to her by her former career as a model. I actually enjoyed one of Bing's books. This book is crap.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sally Anne

    Not very deep or original, but very useful in filling in some of the LA scene history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Milllicent

    3.5 - 4.0

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I can’t even with this book. Babitz is what Didion doesn’t allow herself to be and she is better for it. There I said it. So many more thoughts but they are better suited for Tumblr and all caps texting to friends.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Justine Smith

    “Obsession has its privileges.” Lili Anolik’s ‘Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.’ is honest in a way only an obsessive account of someone’s life and art can be. Eve, whose presence and voice is so large, could have easily drowned out a meeker writer but feels fleshed out bouncing around Anolik’s head. Anolik not only has a great voice but a talent for recognizing great moments and phrases. Peppered throughout the book are quotes and conversations from her own research and “Obsession has its privileges.” Lili Anolik’s ‘Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.’ is honest in a way only an obsessive account of someone’s life and art can be. Eve, whose presence and voice is so large, could have easily drowned out a meeker writer but feels fleshed out bouncing around Anolik’s head. Anolik not only has a great voice but a talent for recognizing great moments and phrases. Peppered throughout the book are quotes and conversations from her own research and even more often, Babitz’s own hybrid memoir-fictions. A kind of critical non-fiction, Anolik’s voice, experience and reverence is as integral as Babitz’s. It is a dazzling, thrilling and inspiring work.

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