Brave by Rose McGowan review – damn right she’s angry

The actor’s courage is palpable in this exposé that condemns Hollywood misogyny and the ‘monster’

Whatever else might be said about her, few could deny that actor Rose McGowan (The Doom Generation, Scream, Charmed) is brave. While recent explosive or erratic public appearances (shouting at a transgender heckler at a book event; babbling on talkshows) have disquieted even her supporters, McGowan’s courage is not in question. She’s the original woman who refused to shut up, whose rape accusation against Harvey Weinstein proved pivotal in felling the Miramax mogul and whose RoseArmy helped galvanise the #MeToo fight against systemic predatory misogyny within Hollywood and beyond.

Born in Italy, raised in the disturbing Children of God cult, then taken to America, where the then punk became homeless for a while (as detailed in this memoir/manifesto), McGowan, now 44, endured the kind of troubled background that merits respect just ...

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher review – Star Wars memories…

Covering her experiences on set and off in the sci-fi blockbuster, the actor’s last memoir finds her honest and witty as ever

Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist, now available in paperback, was published shortly before her death last year, aged 60. As suggested by the title (Fisher always loved a pun), it mainly relates to her finding some old diaries from 1976, when she was 19 and had just won the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Fisher later reprised the role in two reboots, which felt to her “like an acid flashback, only intergalactic”.

The big reveal of The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s on-set affair with co-star Harrison Ford, a married father 15 years her senior. She labels the two of them “Carrison”. Fisher doesn’t actually reveal much, except inadvertently. For all her swooning over Ford, he comes across like an emotionally distant crashing bore. At ...

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco review – Obama, the White House and me

Barack Obama’s right-hand woman overshares details of her own life but holds back on everything you want to know about her bossThe title of Alyssa Mastromonaco’s memoir is taken from a question often posed by Barack Obama, when she was the White House deputy chief of staff (making it on to the list of “Washington’s most powerful, least famous people”). The cover photo features Mastromonaco sitting on Air Force One, with the first African American US president lolling casually beside her. However, what looks set to be an insider narrative on the Obama administration soon emerges as what Mastromonaco terms an “advice book/memoir geared towards women between the ages of about 15-25”. This is an approach that, while valid in its own right (Mastromonaco, now in her 40s, is an engaging, vivid narrator), is frustrating when it comes to delivering real insights on either the Obama presidency or the ...

Jenny Slate: ‘Ivanka Trump is a fake feminist and should be ashamed’

The US actor, standup and author on her new film, Gifted, rescuing her career after being fired from Saturday Night Live, inspirational women and the terrifying situation in the White House Jenny Slate, 35, is an American comedian, actor and author. The middle of three sisters, with a ceramicist mother and poet father, she was raised in Milton, Massachusetts. While at Columbia University, Slate performed standup and improv. Moving to Los Angeles with then-husband, director Dean Fleischer-Camp (they’ve since amicably divorced), Slate joined Saturday Night Live in 2009, but accidentally swore in her first episode and was fired after one season. A stop-motion short animation made with Fleischer-Camp, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, became a viral hit, leading to New York Times bestseller children’s books and plans for a feature-length movie. With her distinctive voice, Slate featured in Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets. On television, she ...

Jenny Slate: ‘Ivanka Trump is a fake feminist and should be ashamed’

The US actor, standup and author on her new film, Gifted, rescuing her career after being fired from Saturday Night Live, inspirational women and the terrifying situation in the White House Jenny Slate, 35, is an American comedian, actor and author. The middle of three sisters, with a ceramicist mother and poet father, she was raised in Milton, Massachusetts. While at Columbia University, Slate performed standup and improv. Moving to Los Angeles with then-husband, director Dean Fleischer-Camp (they’ve since amicably divorced), Slate joined Saturday Night Live in 2009, but accidentally swore in her first episode and was fired after one season. A stop-motion short animation made with Fleischer-Camp, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, became a viral hit, leading to New York Times bestseller children’s books and plans for a feature-length movie. With her distinctive voice, Slate featured in Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets. On television, she ...

Little Labours by Rivka Galchen review – a stimulating curio

The acclaimed US writer marvels at a whole new way of being interrupted in these witty, smart essays about motherhoodBrooklyn-based author Rivka Galchen (American Innovations; Atmospheric Disturbances) was one of the New Yorker’s “20 under 40” writers to watch in 2010. On the front of her first nonfiction book, Little Labours, there’s a puma, representing Galchen’s baby daughter, whom she refers to as a “puma” throughout most of the book (“A puma moved into my apartment, a near mute force”). Galchen, who says she’d never been particularly interested in motherhood and babies, who was “repelled” by the thought of writing about them, reflects that once her child arrived “the world seemed ludicrously, suspiciously, adverbially, sodden with meaning”. It soon becomes clear that this slim, elegant volume of essays couldn’t be filed away as mere maternal navel-gazing (You know the kind of thing: “I’m the ...

Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars by David Hepworth – review

Hepworth’s lively study of rock’s greatest stars, from Little Richard to Kurt Cobain, underlines how much the music industry has changed In Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars, music writer, presenter and author of 1971: Never a Dull Moment, David Hepworth, not only pronounces “the rock star” dead, he traces the time of death to around the mid-1990s, with Kurt Cobain described as “a genuine rock star, possibly the last one”. While Uncommon People is full of death (Presley, Lennon, Bowie), the most significant is that of the industry as it was Continue reading...