Of all the vintage heroes for young women, Audrey Hepburn is one of the few who live up to the hype. A lovely and talented woman, she dedicated herself to charity and family in a way that continues to inspire each generation of women who discover her work. And in a new biography, her son Luca Dotti underscores what made his mother such an endearing and wonderful person.
Audrey at Home is equal parts biography and recipe book, broken into sections based on the pivotal moments of Hepburn's life. Beginning with her childhood in Holland and moving through her life, Luca's observations of his mother illuminate the small celebrations and private pain of a very famous figure. The story Luca tells focuses far less on his mother's status as a celebrity, focusing instead on the woman he knew and loved.
To do so, he shares incredible family photos that show Hepburn as a real person, a mother, a partner, and a friend. You won't find posed glamour shots in these pages, but instead an intimate look at Hepburn as a girl and woman. Alongside these images and Luca's telling of his mother's life a series of recipes tell the story in food. From her favorite meals to the dishes she made for her friends and family, it's an interesting look at a woman whose diet is so often called into question. Hepburn isn't the mythic fan of a single bite of dark chocolate each day in these pages, but a woman who expressed her love and personal history through the meals she served to those she cared for.
Luca's story doesn't attempt to gloss over the more painful parts of his mother's life, and he speaks frankly about the moment when she and his father shared that they were divorcing. He also explores the ways in which they remained close until her death, and the deep bond she had with her later partner, Robert. Luca devotes the final pages of the book to her work with UNICEF, an inspiring homage to the tireless efforts his mother made to make the world a better place.
Audrey at Home is not a book for those who want to relive the fanciful whimsy of Holly Golightly. It's a moving portrait of Hepburn a real person, who loved and lost and cooked and lived. It's insightful, heartwarming, and intimate, and a must for anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of Audrey Hepburn's life and mind.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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