PositiveThe Wall Street JournalEven time-worn tales of merciless culls of friends and colleagues sound fresh in this recounting. Mr. Middleton lets Lagerfeld do the talking ... This feather-light succession of vignettes from “Lifestyles of the Rich and Peremptory” goes down as easily as Vanity Fairs at the salon. Alas, few Lagerfeld acolytes share his recall or waspish wit and gas on hazily, adding little.
A N Wilson
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Wilson makes up in wit what he lacks in celebrity antics ... He leaves no slight or sadness unexamined while traipsing through the decades, from his 19th-century forebears through his birth in 1950 in Staffordshire, England ... He mines these professional blind alleys, particularly the clerical one, for mirth ... The title’s Augustinian echo notwithstanding, there is little confessing here beyond Mr. Wilson’s self-recrimination over the occasional shabby treatment of his parents and first wife. As the subtitle signals, this is no bulletin of boozy exploits but rather a litany of shortfalls as son and husband, flickering betwixt the Catholic and Anglican churches and adhering to neither ... He livens things up with a parade of eccentrics ... Mr. Wilson embraces this old-fogy persona. He settles no scores here and keeps his criticism of writers to those safely departed ... reveals a dexterous storyteller who trundles out riskily meandering anecdotes—such as about J.R.R. Tolkien—yet chums them with details to keep his audience hooked ... Mr. Wilson examines the poignant human condition of being boring.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalIn Ms. Odell’s workmanlike account, Ms. Wintour is a regimented contrast with her zany antecedents atop fashion magazines ... Ms. Odell’s book is a step toward decoding Anna Wintour, but it’s far from the final word.