Sunday, July 17, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor: A Passion for Life by Joseph Papa

Elizabeth Taylor: A Passion for Life
The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend
by Joseph Papa
Harper Design
April 2011
Hardcover $16.99

My motto has always been to be true to myself, whether it pleases others or not. - Elizabeth Taylor

Compiled by Richmond native and NYC publicist and writer Joseph Papa this book is a collection of quotations as spoken or written by Dame Elizabeth Taylor herself. But this book is more than just a book of quotations. It's a way for us to understand actress Elizabeth Taylor, the passionate, talented, charming and oftentimes mysterious woman who shuffled off her mortal coil earlier this year. Taylor has always been a bit of a conundrum to me and I'm sure this is the case for many other folks too. Why did she marry so many times? Why was she so devoted to men? Why did she make those life and career choices that she did? Why all the jewels? Why?

This book presents us with an opportunity to come to understand Elizabeth Taylor and for her (through the author) to show us who she really was in her own words.

I'm surprised how much I learned about Elizabeth Taylor just by reading quotes! Joseph Papa arranges the quotations in different themed chapters including: Childhood, Acting, Marriage, Motherhood, Self, Beauty & Aging, Extravagances, Giving Back and Life. The most important thing I learned about Elizabeth Taylor was that she was an incredibly passionate woman. She had a passion for life, for men, for food, for her kids and being a mom, for jewels and for her friends. And sometimes there is a price to pay for having passion. You can alienate others and if you are not careful you can put your own life on a path of self-destruction. As a passionate person myself, I know how much peril passion can put a person into. It's not something you can contain and its manageable through restrictions made upon you by yourself or outside forces of which you have no control. Taylor had a life of luxury, celebrity and lots of personal freedom which allowed her passion to drive her life and her choices. Now this may seem a lot to get out of the book and while I don't think this is the message Joseph Papa was trying to get across this is what I could identify with. And I think other readers might be able to find something, some quote (or quotes) from Elizabeth Taylor's own words to apply to their own lives.

Pick up this book if you are an Elizabeth Taylor fan, a confused admirer, a passionate person or you just have a curious mind. It also makes a great gift for the classic film fan who may not want to dive into a dense biography but could get a lot out of a collection of great quotes.

I haven’t had a quiet life. I’ve lived dangerously. Sometimes disaster has come at me like a train. There have been times when I’ve almost drunk myself to death. I’ve been in situations where I was perilously close to killing myself. I’ve almost died several times. Yet some instinct, some inner force, has always saved me, dragging me back just as the train whooshed past. – Elizabeth Taylor


  1. I will definitely have to get this book. While Liz wasn't necessarily one of my favourite actresses of all time (she doesn't rank up there with Grace and Audrey for me), I was a fan and I have to say she was very quotable. It is interesting to know she was a passionate person, as I do tend to be passionate myself (even if I don't always show it). It does go a long way to explaining a lot about her!

  2. thanks for reviewing this! what you got out of it was so beautiful & i love how you went into it with the 'why' questions, because i definatley will be too. splendid!!


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