An exploration of the life of the hard-partying and well-connected memoirist and fiction writer, whose irreverent takes on Los Angeles bohemian culture in the 1960s and 1970s has earned her a place as a beloved cult figure and scribe.
During these sections, Anolik writes with great insight and restraint. At times, it reads like an annotated oral history ... At other times, Anolik's interventions are vital and clarifying ... Much of what makes the book wonderful in its first half, unfortunately, falls away when the focus is on the more recent years of Babitz's life — she's now 75 — especially in the period where Anolik knows her personally ... Anolik's biography, as a whole, is much more its successes than it is its failures. Down the road, Babitz's readers will surely be treated to a biography of her from a more disinterested party. Until then, they — and anyone interested in Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s — will be more than nourished by Hollywood's Eve.
Anolik now presents the full jaw-dropping drama of Babitz’s on-the-edge life and complicated personality, paired with an account of Anolik’s pursuit of her wily subject. With the recent reissue of Babitz’s books, this radical American writer of stunning verve, candor, and insight is truly a phoenix rising.
Much of the breezily salacious entertainment value in Hollywood’s Eve comes from these descriptions of close encounters with men of Hollywood legend (and women—photographer Annie Leibovitz was a girlfriend for some time). But like Babitz herself, they are only part of what makes the story so compelling ... Nearly any good biography about a writer makes the reader far more curious to skip the secondhand accounts and read the subject’s original prose. In painting a rich and unusual picture of Babitz’s life and work, Anolik succeeds in this mission ... As biographer, Anolik is an unflinching and often excellent writer capable of capturing the strange mystique of her elusive prey, even detailing her own lengthy and frustrating process of cajoling the now-reclusive writer from her darkened apartment via promises of free meals and delivered sweets ... Some passages may pull the modern reader up short, and with good reason. Anolik largely refuses to pass judgment on the sometimes horrifying men of this narrative and their behavior, instead following her subject’s lead when recounting certain abusive incidents ... And now the woman herself will endure as well, in a biography that celebrates her with equally contradictory affection.