cover image Dying of Politeness: A Memoir

Dying of Politeness: A Memoir

Geena Davis. HarperOne, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-311913-0

Academy Award–winning actor Davis’s spunky memoir presents her self-actualization via film roles: “I kicked ass onscreen way before I did so in real life.” Her charmingly perplexed tone about her misfit years growing up in New England can sometimes feel dissonant, like when she describes being molested by a neighbor when she was 10. After not-quite graduating (she never finished required credits) from Boston University, Davis moves to New York City and lands her first movie role, acting opposite Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. She then charts her rise to the upper echelons of Hollywood upon relocating to L.A.: her first lead in obsessive Cronenberg’s The Fly (co-starring her second husband, Jeff Goldblum); the creative liberation of her role in Beetlejuice; working with an unpredictable, raging Bill Murray on Quick Change, and—in contrast—a transformative collaboration with Susan Sarandon on Thelma and Louise. Davis hits typical memoir pitfalls, but frankly describes the sexual harassment she felt unable to call out as a woman with artistic ambitions in the industry before the vocabulary of #MeToo. She gets into her love of archery and the lack of roles for women over 40, but gives scant details of her experience of motherhood (“my favorite role of all [but] one I plan to talk about the least”) or her four divorces. Davis displays trademark gumption, if uneven introspection, in this spunky chronicle of showbiz. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA. (Oct.)