Nell Shipman was a fascinating woman. She was a film actress, filmmaker, producer, writer, stunt woman, animal trainer and activist, mother, wife, lover, etc. After having seen her film The Grub-Stake (1923) (the financial ruin of which completely changed her life), I really wanted to read more about Nell Shipman and where else to start but by reading her autobiography?
I'm not going to lie, this is a flawed book. Mostly because Shipman's "talking" style reads more like rambling and she went over so many minute details and then switched subjects so quickly that at some points it was difficult to follow. The autobiography is written chronologically starting with her birth in 1892 and ending in 1924 the year after The Grub-Stake and when she lost Lionhead Lodge, Lionhead Productions and all her beloved animals. There are maps of Priest Lake and the Lionhead Lodge. There is a foreword explaining the three edition (this one is the third revised one). There is an afterword by Nell Shipman's son Barry Shipman as well as an essay by Peter Norris. It's a hard read but if you quickly become fascinated by this extraordinary woman. The notes in the appendix, the afterword and the essay all help to contextualize the book. Also, there are 2 sections of black-and-white photographs.
Read my full review here: http://outofthepastcfb.blogspot.com/2011/07/get-your-read-on-silent-screen-and-my.html