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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In the few brief moments Bo Derek appeared on the screen in the 1979 classic comedy 10, she became an icon -- the image incarnate of the perfect woman. Although more than 20 years have passed, visions of Bo -- the beaded braids, the slow-motion jog on the beach -- remain emblazoned in the American psyche. But what does America really know of Bo?
In her autobiography, Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses, Bo details the ups-and-downs of life spent in the spotlight. Often embroiled in controversy and dubbed "difficult" by the movie studios, Bo endeavors to set the record straight about her career, her life choices, and mostly her marriage to actor-turned-director John Derek.
Bo met John, 30 years her senior, when she was a 16-year-old high school student auditioning for a role in a movie he was directing. She got the part, and though he was married to actress Linda Evans at the time, within a year she began a relationship with the man who would be at the helm of her life for the next 25 years. She repeatedly insists that he was not her "Svengali," but as she details life with John, it becomes apparent that he was always steering the ship. Though she defends him relentlessly, it isn't always clear he always had her best interests at heart.
In one especially troubling scenario, Bo details an incident that occurred while filming Tarzan, the Ape Man. During filming, a lion broke his flimsy restraints and pounced on Bo. John kept filming. Later that evening, Bo recalls, "John ...was already drawing pictures and building a storyboard of the shots we already had, and drawing the ones we would need to make a complete scene of the attack. This is Hollywood, I thought to myself."
Much has changed for Bo Derek since John's death in 1998. In a way, she is just now coming into her own. She has returned to her first love -- horses. She has become an outspoken political activist, actively campaigning for George W. Bush and other Republican candidates. And who knows, a new career may be on the horizon for the "Perfect 10." The book jacket refers to this as her "first book." (Ann Kashickey)