Monday, May 2, 2011

Veronica by Veronica Lake

It is no secret that I think of Veronica Lake more like Veronica Plank of Wood. My Darling Perry, however, thinks she is "smokin' hot". :-/ Er. I will try not to fault him for this. Now I don't think she looks like she has been dragged through the gutter... I just don't think she's "Smokin' hot".  Perry just recently picked up her autobiography and being that I just finished up my Cary Grant book... I needed another one to read. I jokingly referred to the Veronica book as my poop book. Call me gross and juvenile. I think it's funny.

I'll just start out by saying that when I was deciding to pick it up to read, I was afraid that I'd find her charming and have to admit she won me over. Let's just say this book did nothing but cement my dislike for her.

This book took me 2 days to read. Remember it took me 4 months to read the Cary Grant book, so you can see how easy of a read this is. However, I can't fault her for it... she is no writer, what I can fault her for is that it was an obvious write from a drunk.

Before I go any further, I will warn that I am going to pretty much sum up the book from here down, so if you want to read it yourself, don't read further down.

Veronica, born Constance Ockleman, tells the story of how Veronica Lake came to be. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Miami, she finds herself with her mother, stepdad, and cousin moving to Hollywood, CA at 15. By 17 she had become an extra on sets and it was during her time as an extra her trademark hair was born -- but not yet noticed.. Thanks to her pushing stage mother she began dating and fell in love with a 34(?) year old man, because Mom thought he could further her career. Now, I am not about to fault any young 17 year old for loving a much older man... seriously, how can I? However, I can fault the mom... but anyway... it worked. She landed her first major role and became an instant box office draw. And already she was getting a bitch reputation. Homegirl was shy so she built up a front to get through her lack of acting skills. She was pretty, not a good actress.

Still 17 she found herself married and pregnant when she started her second role. Her first child was a girl. Her marriage became strained because hubby couldn't handle being Mr. Lake. Her husband had joined the army and both Mr and Mrs moved to Seattle. Neither could escape the movie star Veronica Lake and so Veronica moved back to Hollywood to continue working. Nearing divorce, Mrs V was pregnant again. An unfortunate accident happened. She tripped on a cord and fell flat on her belly. Her son was born premature and died a week later.That was pretty much the end of the marriage.

Soon after Veronica meet and married a Hungarian man... big and strong and masculine. Veronica's reputation on set went from bad to worse thanks to her husband and his temper. Veronica was pregnant again and gave birth to a boy. (Her new husband had adopted her daughter already.) Even as a baby Veronica feared her son. Even with children in tow Veronica was partying and drinking heavily. Her husband was spending her money like it was water and she was not getting any work to recuperate their spending losses. Baby 3, a girl, rounded out Veronica's children. And a divorce to husband number 2 was finalized.

Veronica worked the stage after that in the 50's as a means to support herself, but basically went into the poorhouse and became a drunk. Passed off her kids to their father (who didn't want them either) and never really had a connection to them after that. She lived in crummy hotels and worked at bars... disappeared from Hollywood and never returned. It was at this point I became disgusted with her, She really wanted nothing to do with her kids. She's rather drink. My opinions weren't help by the fact that I just finished reading Cary Grant's book who went to the ends of the Earth to get his daughter and spend every moment with her. She was a drunk. Plain and simple a drunk. In her readings you can see that even with the moderate success she gained in her later years, she was still a drunk.

At this time she met and fell in love with the love of her life. A sea merchant named Andy. They never married and sadly he passed away a couple years into their relationship. She was "rediscovered" in the 60's and worked the stage again. But still a drunk...

I can sum up this book with it was the ramblings of a drunk. She was bitter and dismissive of the success that Hollywood gave her. She HATED her peekaboo hair that brought her all her fame and worst of all...pretty much lost contact with her kids. She did LOVE her booze though. I will give her credit for one thing... she didn't embellish anything like drunks tend to do. She kept it real... and sadly, that left the book a boring read.

Being that she herself wrote the book, I think it is a must for Hollywood fans and Veronica Lake fans. But other than that there is no real insight to the woman. It's doubtful anyone will come out loving her even more. My suggestion is stick to admiring her pretty photos.


  1. Fascinating!
    It's so interesting to me to think about how all those movie stars and icons from long ago were all just people, with flaws and foibles. I guess Veronica was sort of the Linsey Lohan of her day?
    Did you see the piece on CBS Sunday Morning about Cary Grant? His daughter wrote a book about him called "Good Stuff"...she clearly adored him.
    Thanks for posting your book reviews!

  2. I read a little bit about her once and decided not to read anything else. I think she's very pretty but from what I read I disliked her and this review sure didn't change my mind. Dunks irritate me.

  3. Er drunks. I have nothing against a good dunk

  4. Well....that definitely takes all the glitz and glamor away from her now doesn't it

  5. MomoDV... The biggest difference between Lohan and Lake is that Lohan is celebrated for her bad self and Lake was dismissed. But yeah... just a bunch o' drunks. I missed that! I am going to have to get that book. I'd like to see him through her eyes.

    Trixie... Hahaha That made me laugh, but yes, like you I have no patience for drunks -- especially those that pass off their kids as well.

    ADD... I did warn ya! But yeah... she was every bit as exciting as I thought her to be. Although there was one funny story. She told about how she never took part in the casting couch although it was rampant. One day a producer brought her in his office, stood up from behind his desk with his dick laid out and she threw a thin dictionary on it and it landed just right. That story I liked. :)

  6. Am I the only one who actually feels pity for her? WHY was she a drunk her whole life? It would be interesting to know, there's clearly a reason........

  7. Vix... I am sure you aren't the only one. Most people probably feel for her like you do, however from my reading of her book, I couldn't find anything that "made" her drink... And what could have been a reason, wasn't because she was already drinking. But who knows. I doubt her autobiography was a tell all.

  8. I don't understand how she's that much more dysfunctional than any other celebrity, and I think she was a great actress. I loved "I Married A Witch." Also, I thought she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and suffered with bouts of mental illness? That could explain the alcoholism and erratic behavior.

  9. I haven't read the book but did read somewhere that she may have been diagnosed as having bi-polar or borderline personality syndrome - which may explain, at least in part, her drinking. She may have become alcoholic as means of medicating herself and who knows - felt like passing her kids off to their father was better than being with her....