Davis regales us with tales of a career playing everything from an amnesiac assassin to the parent of a rodent, her eccentric childhood, her relationships, and helping lead the way to gender parity in Hollywood—all while learning to be a little more badass, one role at a time
Spunky ... Davis hits typical memoir pitfalls, but frankly describes the sexual harassment she felt unable to call out as a woman with artistic ambitions in the industry before the vocabulary of #MeToo. She gets into her love of archery and the lack of roles for women over 40, but gives scant details of her experience of motherhood...or her four divorces. Davis displays trademark gumption, if uneven introspection, in this spunky chronicle of showbiz.
Absorbing and inspiring ... Provides engaging accounts of her childhood, Hollywood friendships, romances, and marriages, but the core of the book is about overcoming a debilitating politeness ... One measure of a worthwhile book – and one with convincing messages – is that you want to read it again. Given that this reviewer is already rereading this memoir, savoring its Hollywood accounts and its advocacy for fairness and decency, Dying of Politeness, is a success.
The representation of women and girls in the industry, on screen and behind the camera, is a drum she beats unapologetically throughout and the book is peppered with anecdotes that paint a depressingly familiar picture of the way female actors were treated ... She has erred on the side of jaunty and conversational rather than soul-baring in the book and her combination of humour and self-deprecation is immediately appealing ... Some readers may feel cheated that there is more detail here about her pets than her children, or that she is so reticent about the end of her three marriages, but she has clearly had to establish boundaries around her family’s privacy in the face of press intrusion. She writes movingly about the deaths of her beloved parents and saves her fiercest passion for the work she now does with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.