BOOKS: Sandy Dennis: A Personal Memoir

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1997:

Publicists regularly invade our mailbox and tie up our telephone touting
books by celebrities, usually written with substantial help from ghostwriters,
which purportedly have some sort of garbled animal protection message hidden
among drivel supposed to demonstate the celebrities’ multi-dimensionality––as if
anyone cares. We thus approached the late Sandy Dennis’ Personal Memoir
with the skepticism of an old cat toward a new dog. Dennis, however, like the
late Amanda Blake and the thriving Brigitte Bardot and Tippi Hedrun, evidently
was both sincere and so especially enthralled with cats that one or another is
mentioned on almost every page, whether or not cats are the subject of the
moment in a series of sketches that amount to a complete if brief interior autobiography.


Cats seem to have interested Dennis far more than either her distinguished
stage career or her personal relationships, which she keeps remarkably
discreet. About all one finds out about the men in her life is that they were men,
and departed, while cats remained in growing numbers. Though this is indeed
a highly personal memoir, cats are the only creatures Dennis kissed and told
about. The celebrity dirt here consists of gentle laughs at herself, for instance
about her naivete in permitting her cats to use her gravel roof as a litter box all
her first winter in her Connecticut home. Their offerings vanished into the snow
until spring, when they abruptly obliged her to climb up with a shovel and
engage in her only poop-tossing.

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