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Heath: A Family's Tale Hardcover – 3 Nov 2008
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Heath Ledger was a superstar on the world stage, a gorgeous guy, a true romantic, a man who was dedicated to his craft and who loved a laugh. This is the definitive look at the real life of Heath Ledger from childhood to fully-fledged stardom, with exclusive personal insights from his family and friends, by an Australian journalist and author. This is an Australian story about the beginning of a legend.
About the Author
Janet Fife-Yeomans is an award-winning journalist and is currently the chief reporter for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. She is also the author or co-author of six books, including 'Killing Jodie: how Australia's most elusive murderer was brought to justice' and 'The Coroner: investigating sudden death'.
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Back in the day I was a huge fan and a lot of my friends bought me pretty much every Heath Ledger related book there is. I ended up with about 4 different ones. I never read them until recently... I've read 3 of 4 so far and this wasn't the worst, but definitely wasn't the best.
The author came across to me as a bit gossipy and news article-esque. Trying to leave chapters on cliff hangers kind of teasing scandal, throwing in very random and needless scandalous comments on celebrities that are being name dropped... it just came across a bit tacky to me. I wanted to read about Heath Ledger and who he was as a person. I expected personal family snippets and stories of Heath.
I couldn't care less about how *random celebrity name* (who starred in this movie you've never heard of or care about) made a passing comment on Heath Ledger during the time of their ongoing criminal investigation of domestic abuse and their oh so scandalous affair.
See what I did there? That's what this author does. You could of skipped over that entire last line and you wouldn't have missed anything remotely interesting. There was multiple times I read something in this book and thought "well that was unnecessary to mention..."
What this author means by a family's tale, is bits of information from estranged family members, distance friends and extras Heath probably said "alright" to once. Anything from closer family members and friends was taken from public sources. Interviews, official statements and the like.
If you wanted a personal story you are buying the wrong book. But if you want a fairly detailed timeline to Heaths career, public sourced quotes and collection of comments made towards Heath then it's fine. I wouldn't go as far to say this is a bad book, it's not, I just wanted to be clear that I think this book is marketed incorrectly.
Now I feel like I've spoke a lot of smack about this book so far, but out of the 4 books that I have I have to admit that this is the one i'm probably going to keep. As far as they all go, this is the most visually pleasing to me. I love hardback books and can't stand paperbacks. It's the seemingly standard "auto/biography" height so fits in nicely with the other books. The cover is nice and I really enjoy the overall style and colour on the book. Just over half-way through the book there is a nice photo collage which I think adds to the book nicely.
My first choice would of been the John McShane book, but despite this one not being my favourite it'll be the one I keep.
Overall, it's not a bad book at all but if you want something a little more personal or heartwarming then try elsewhere. This book has a lot of random quotes, snippets and bits of information I didn't read in the other books but it definitely has a colder factual feel to it, rather than an emotional and compassion one.
For a Heath Leger Fan is this biography a must read. In my opinion this is a beautiful written biography about Heath and his life. A sensitively written life story. Heath's life is described very ccurately. His life, his career, his love life with its ups and its downs. It felt like I had really known him while I was reading this. I fell in love with Heath all over again. He seemed like an absolutely amazing man. A real genuine, one of a kind man. His family and friends must have been so proud of him.
I was pleasantly surprised. Even though the book begins, predictably, with his death; on the whole it celebrates his life rather than glorifies his death, and stays pretty much with the provable facts rather than conjecturing about exactly what Heath was feeling or doing around this time which was probably a wise decision considering that, in 2008, we mostly weren't even sure if his death was accidental or not.
I very enjoyed Janet Fife-Yeomans writing style. A drawback in my opinion is the subtitle of the book and what it implies. The history of the Ledger family is told in that way the author writes about an endless dispute between Heath's father and brothers which led to a rift after all. Now you ask yourself if this had an big impact to Heath’s life and particularly why should fans be interested in that? Let's face it, we're not all that interested in, right? I found it confusing and as much as I hate to admit it, slightly boring.
Overall, it was a good insight to Heath's life from the perspective of family and friends and a great read.
If you are a fan of Heath ledger and are still grieving his loss, then I strongly recommend you read this book, you will not be disapointed.
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