I recently finished reading Barry Paris’s biography of Louise Brooks. It took a while to grab me, despite (and actually because of) the fact that I have a fairly passionate admiration for Brooks: I’ve read a lot about and by her, have watched a number of interviews with her and some documentaries about her, so at first the written biography seemed like a well-researched but rather uninspiring retread of all of this previously-processed information. What’s different about Paris’s book, though, and what ultimately hooked me, is the time, care, and attention he devotes to relating the story of Brooks’s life after her fall from grace in Hollywood. Most of the stuff I’ve consumed related to Brooks passes over the last 50 years of her life in a few sentences, gesturing to it as the sad coda of a brilliant, wasted youth. Paris, though, takes an unflinching look at what became of Brooks once she left Hollywood for good. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t sexy. It isn’t fun to read—in fact, it’s grindingly bleak. But for me, it was really important.
Anyway, all this to say if you are interested in Louise Brooks and you haven’t read this book, I recommend it.