Book Review: The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict (Three Stars)

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Book Review: The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

(Three Stars)

“Another performance. I figured I would find a way out. But the Hedy I truly was underneath all the external playacting had developed real feelings.”

I read–and am reviewing this–as historical fiction, not a biography. As such it’s excellently composed and written. Using a first-person point of view Benedict takes us deep into Hedy Kiesler/Lamarr’s mind, thinking thoughts that we (and she) have no way of knowing whether Hedy thought, based on her decades of seclusion before her death in 2000. If Benedict had sources for such speculation, she didn’t mention them. Most of the facts reveal Wikipedia-depth research.

“You’re not a Jew, are you?” “No, of course not, Mr. Mayer,” I answered quickly. What else could I say? If my survival in this new life depended on lies, then lies it would be. I was no stranger to them.”

Benedict’s thesis: Hedy was rejected because a woman. Yet fellow inventor (and well-connected) Howard Hughes loaners her facilities and help; why did she not Continue reading

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