Children's Literature - Amie Rose RotruckThe intense, brief life of James Dean is detailed in this book from the "American Rebels" series. After opening with a chapter describing Dean's big break by starring in "East of Eden," Warrick goes back to the beginning of this actor's life. His early years in Indiana, and later Santa Monica, are described clearly and in terms that allow a modern reader to understand the world into which Dean was born (such as his parents having to get married because his mother was pregnant). The death of his mother particularly affected Dean, after which he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. As a high schooler, he began to exhibit an interest in acting, and this interest carried him through college and into early acting jobs. The remainder of the book focuses on Dean's rise to superstardom and his untimely death at the peak of his career. His relationships with both men and women are also examined, as is his rebellious attitude towards Hollywood and life in general. Warrick does a wonderful job of showing Dean the man, not the legend; a very tough task indeed.
VOYA - Heather PittmanWarrick's unflinching account of James Dean's brief but spectacular life is engaging and informative. Dean is depicted as a brilliant yet moody and unpredictable actor, rebellious and often difficult to work with. The author objectively details Dean's flaws as well as his achievements. Even the issue of his supposed homosexuality is dealt with frankly and without judgment. The last chapter discusses how the amazing popularity that Dean enjoyed in life endured and even intensified after his early death. Each of the biographies in this oAmerican Rebelso series presents a fact-filled, nonjudgmental look into the life and untimely death of a cultural icon. Extraordinary men are described fully, with the good and the bad aspects of their lives addressed in a straightforward manner. This series is excellent, well-written and full of detail, but not bogged down with minutiae, and also offers other titles on Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac and Kurt Cobain. Young readers are certain to enjoy the stories of these famously rebellious artists.
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