The Meryl Streep Story

Description

128 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
$14.95
ISBN 0-7737-5012-6

Publisher

Year

1984

Contributor

Reviewed by Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is a librarian at Ryerson Polytechnical University.

Review

The obvious trouble with a book called The Meryl Streep Story, is that her story as an actress has scarcely begun (she made her Broadway debut in 1975 and her film debut in 1977). The author acknowledges this fact, saying that the book is neither a definitive biography nor a retrospective study of her career, but a progress report. In fact, the book is not a biography at all, but more like a coffeetable book — with many colour and black-and-white pictures of Streep in candid shots in public or on the film set, and with official stills from her films. These photographs are combined with a text that is similar in content, though not in format, to the Citadel “The Films of...” series.

The author, about whom we are given no information, is unabashedly admiring of Streep’s acting talent and her devotion to her art. He provides very brief biographical background and then proceeds to detailed descriptions of Streep’s films — the background of casting and production, and a superficial analysis of the films’ content. The book relies heavily on extensive quotes from Streep and others (actors, directors, etc.), which seem to be taken mainly from newspaper and magazine articles and interviews. These are occasionally credited (without proper sourcing), but there is no bibliography, and there is no indication of any actual contact between the author and his subject. The book is written in a popular, readable (but not gossipy) style; few details of the actress’s private life are given, since emphasis is on her career. There is little in-depth analysis, however, of Streep’s acting style or audience appeal.

The book will interest those who enjoy looking at photographs of Meryl Streep and other contemporary actors who have appeared with her, and those who wish to know factual details about the production of her films.

Citation

Smurthwaite, Nick, “The Meryl Streep Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/36876.