By: Julie Newmar
Publisher: Eleven Books
Publication Date: June 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 13, 2011
The Conscious Catwoman is not your typical run-of-the-mill memoir of an actress’s life in Hollywood but then, Julie Newmar is not your average, run-of-the-mill actress. A choreographer, dancer, pianist, mime and actress, Newmar has penned a how-to book of ideas, thoughts, and advice that will make you stop and think.
If you’re looking for a detailed memoir of Julie Newmar, her dance background, the many television appearances, and what it was like to dance on the stages of Broadway hits such as Li’l Abner, this is not that book. Instead, The Conscious Catwoman is a collection of sage advice, observations and wonderful photographs of the author garnered through an amazing, lifetime career.
The Conscious Catwoman is broken down into thirteen chapters, from the practical (Health; Beauty; Energy versus Fatigue), to the fun (Laughter, other thoughts and great thinkers; Taste – how to have it…in 3 to 6 seconds), to those that explore more thought-provoking topics (How to have what you want…including the impossible; Why you are here…the divine gift). Within each chapter, the author touches on numerous issues that we all find ourselves dealing with from time to time. From “The Virtues of Failure” to “Forgive Yourself First” to “Appreciation…Give It Away,” Newmar talks about so many things, always in a very upbeat, positive, and at times humorous manner, that you’ll come away from reading this brief book with a smile on your face and new ideas to explore.
As mentioned above, this book is not a lengthy discussion of each topic, but rather a collection of brief phrases, statements, and comments on each subject. Most pearls of wisdom are from the author, but there are also a few from such legends as Gandhi, Horace, and Voltaire, as well as authors such as H.G. Wells scattered throughout. Newmar is at times brief - "Stuff happens. So what!" (pg. 7) – and frequently quite insightful: "Do you really want beauty, wealth or intelligence? Be advised, it is a big responsibility. It’ll make you humble. If not, you don’t have it; it has you." (pg. 33)
When advising on beauty she states: “Resist the urge to turn back the clock too much with plastic surgery. The inner glow is more powerful because it comes without neediness and without loss. It’s the one bank account that can’t be depleted.” (pg. 47)
Many comments will make you laugh: “Walk in another’s shoes and your feet hurt,” (pg. 59) while others are funny and yet so very true, “Belts made of elastic are my favorite…they accommodate lunch and sneak your waist in again afterwards.” (pg. 52)
Newmar’s book is liberally laced with fabulous photographs, primarily from a photo shoot of Newmar dressed as a clown/mime. The text is wrapped artistically around the photos so as to keep every page a visual treat. This is one book that is fun to read and will leave the reader with plenty of positive energy to make changes in their own life.
Quill says: An enjoyable book that uses wisdom and whimsy to look at life and the beauty that surrounds us every day.