The first full telling of Stritch's life tracks one of Broadway's great personalities from her upbringing in Detroit during the Great Depression to her fateful move to New York City, where she studied alongside Marlon Brando, Bea Arthur, and Harry Belafonte, and across her later years, when she enjoyed a stunning renaissance.
... so engrossing an exploration of its subject that to call it a 'biography' feels somehow inadequate ... a meticulously researched romp, a harrowing excavation, an emotional séance, and a glittering family reunion, with the author playing game outsider at the gathering, enthusiastic to find out everything she can ... Jacobs’s rigorous fact-checking of Elaine’s tales (some taller than others) is masterful. The way she incorporates her interview subjects’ contrasting versions of events never undermines the satisfaction of the anecdotes, but rather fleshes them out and encourages us to think about why the storytelling might have been fudged ... Jacobs deftly weaves Stritch’s yearning for validation into the fabric of the book, so that to us, her increased earnestness and emotional availability to the public seem foregone conclusions.
Alexandra Jacobs incorporates an astonishing amount of research, including countless personal interviews and physical documents like letters and telegrams. As a result, her portrayal of Stritch is wholly fleshed out, from the actor’s earliest days as a socialite in Detroit to her time as the reigning grand dame of Broadway ... Still Here takes an unflinching look at Stritch’s long love/hate relationship with alcohol ... Still Here also makes considerable effort to round out the portrait of the star, with thorns and all ... Still Here ends with the star saying that under the footlights 'was where I lived.' This biography expertly sketches out the vast other hours of her life, painting a thorough picture of a woman who lived life on her own terms—in an age when it was exceedingly difficult to do so.
... [a] meticulously researched biography, which uses Stritch’s struggles with alcoholism as a window into her work and her life ... As in real life, the Elaine in Jacobs’s book frustrates and entertains in equal measure. She triumphs in Bus Stop she drinks too much, she falls in love with Rock Hudson, she drinks too much, she battles with Walter and Jean Kerr on a mediocre musical, she bewitches Noël Coward, she drinks too much, she sleeps with the dancer Grover Dale, and the circle goes round ... If you read Still Here looking for tidy conclusions or happy endings, you’ll be unsatisfied. It remains unclear if Stritch was ever happy or ever at peace. But as a chronicle of one impossible brilliant actor and the community around her, this biography provides a thoroughly entertaining and vividly drawn picture of show business in the 20th century. And of course Elaine gets the last word, which surely she would appreciate.