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When selecting this book to review, I thought I would be reviewing a comprehensive biography, lasting several hundred pages, of the actor, Sharon Tate. After all, the concept of a "Collector's Edition";regardless of whether it was a classic album, a new DVD or a work of classic literature bound in leather; usually connoted the best quality and quantity of the particular medium that was being so branded. So if you are indeed looking for an exhaustive biography of Sharon Tate, with all the requisite information one usually expects, this is definitely not it.
If, however, the quality of the writing contained in this book is as important, or almost important as the subject matter, then this is a definite treat.
The book is split into two sections; entitled "Overture" and "Coda", which are terms generally used to mean the beginning and ending of songs or classic operatic pieces. I admit that this really confused me. However; along with the single-word chapter headings; it is an indication that Yorke likes to use many styles of writing in this single work.
While the terms "Overture" and "Coda" are traditionally used to signify a beginning and an ending to a piece of work, in this instance, the first and second halves of the book under those headings in fact mirror one another. The "Overture" is the author's quasi-poetic take on the events of Sharon Tate's life. It is written primary as images. Sharon Tate herself is referred to first as "the infant", "the young child", or "the young woman". This is a very objective perspective: almost as though an indifferent outsider is looking in and verbaliasing the events. Yet, they are all connected, to make up the sum of Sharon Tate's life, including her childhood, and her acting career, among other things. It is almost as though a set of photographs have been taken and are then being interpreted as single, yet poignant events.
However, this is not all. The images are vivid. Inanimate objects such as cameras and lamp posts are given life, while Sharon Tate is the object floating on and through her surroundings.
I admit that I was familiar with Sharon Tate and her life before I read this, and that helped me. I believe any reader who merely read this half of the book without knowing anything about Sharon Tate herself, could be easily forgiven for deciding that the characteristics and events portrayed could be ascribed to any number of women in America and England during the 1960's.
The "Coda", or second half of the book, presents all the actual facts that one would expect from the biography of a celebrity. It also helps to explain the poetic scens in the first half of the book. The unfamiliarity of the writing style and the length of the book were frustrating at times. I would have liked it to be far longer, with more concentration on actual facts rather than poetic imagery. My personal opinion is that overall, that kind of writing is better suited to an entirely fictional piece. It took some getting into, but proved to be an interesting read once I kept going. I give this book 2 out of 4 stars.
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