Read advance reader review of Frank & Ava by John Brady, page 3 of 3

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Frank & Ava

In Love and War

by John Brady

Frank & Ava by John Brady X
Frank & Ava by John Brady
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  • Published Oct 2015
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 19 member reviews
for Frank & Ava
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  • Katherine P. (Post Mills, VT)
    A Very Lengthy Gossip Column
    Not really sure how to rate this book. Have always heard about the great torch that Sinatra carried all his life for Ava Gardner and that her having an abortion without telling him was the final blow to their marriage. Well, it seems she had two abortions from him and the author doesn't give any indication that this upset Mr. S at all. Guess they did stay in touch, sort of, through the years and according to Brady they even toyed with the idea of reuniting a couple of times. Still, love or passion are not the things that came to mind as I read of these two. Obsession, lust, convenience perhaps. But then they both seemed to have the same feelings and connections with quite a few other " great passions." In many ways I wish I hadn't read the book--didn't need to know how many of these people shared each other's former wives, girlfriends or ships passing in the night. The most sensible sounding of all the people quoted about Ava was Charlton Heston. She was basically a pretty souse who had low self-esteem and thought getting beat up by her beaux was normal. Sinatra being more public and making headlines is not revealed any more in this book than in those stories. All in all, glad I didn't pay for this Hollywood tell all rather than the documentation of a great devotion and love that I expected.
  • Julia E. (Atlanta, GA)
    Frank and Ava: Unhappily Ever After
    Written by John Brady, author of Craft of Interviewing (1977), Frank and Ava: In Love and War is well-researched and clearly written. It focuses on the tempestuous on-again, off-again romance between famous Rat Packer Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, the insecure movie actress whose looks once rivaled those of a young Elizabeth Taylor.

    Though an easy read (the way Hostess Twinkies are an easy snack), the book is barren at its core. Its central characters are empty, shallow and self-absorbed, dispute Sinatra's great vocal gifts and Gardner's luminous beauty. Gardner comes across as the Lindsay Lohan of her day, while the Mafia-entangled Sinatra easily matched her in destructive, drunken behavior.

    Brady surrounds their story with plenty of well-worn mid-century Hollywood gossip about short, power-crazed, movie moguls, and the naughty goings-on of the movie stars they created. The most pleasant, person in the book may well be Reenie, Gardner's long-suffering maid, who one hopes was well-paid for her 30 years of loyal service.
  • Lesley M. (Mesa, AZ)
    Frank & Ava
    This is a book that gives insights into the early MGM industry's workings and the actors who were part of this movie industry. It also provides details of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra's ongoing love for each other (from friends and family biographies). I love movies, so reading about a prominent movie industry and famous actors seemed ideal. But, the writing didn't flow well. It seemed a bit choppy with little clear direction of the story. So, for the most part, the beginning of the book was interesting, as well as learning more about Frank and Ava, but otherwise, the book didn't keep me engaged. The subject matter and writing style may not appeal to anyone under the age of 50.
  • Carol F. (Lake Linden, MI)
    Not so great
    The only interesting part of this book was the history of the film studios in the early days. The story of Frank and Ava itself read more like a list than a story with all the short snippets of he said, she said. The lack of any flowing story made it difficult to keep wanting to read more.
  • Thomas F. (Cranberry Twp, PA)
    A disappointing reading experience
    The question I asked myself as I was reading this book was: Is this book necessary? Does it add anything significant and insightful about the relationship between Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner? My answer is "no" and there are quite a few reasons for this negative assessment. Here are a few:

    First, two fine biographies appeared in recent years. Sinatra: The Voice (2011) by James Kaplan is the first of a planned two-volume biography that greatly adds to understanding of Sinatra as a singer devoted to his craft. Ava Gardner: "Love in Nothing" (2007) by Lee Server is widely regarded as one of the best Hollywood star biographies ever published. Both books are extremely well-written. This book is in an entirely different class in terms of quality.

    Second, there are a great many other books about these two people or about Hollywood of their era. I suppose for newcomers to these two people, there is something to learn from this book and maybe that is the intended readership. But I would still point such a newcomer to other books.

    Third, the book is largely an ill-organized compilation of quotations from earlier books with occasional quotes from interviews with living acquaintances of the two. It may be this latter "access," however limited the revelations, gives the book whatever originality it has. But the main impression is the opposite.
       As disappointing as this book was for me, yet it reminded me of something to look forward to: Kaplan's second volume, Sinatra: The Chairman, to be published later this year. I also plan to watch some of Ava's movies to renew my appreciation of her beautiful screen presence. If the Hollywood studios had respected her for more than her beauty, they would have nurtured her latent talents and then perhaps, just perhaps, she could have been a contender.
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