Reviews for Brave : cult member, runaway, captive, starlet, victim, sex symbol, justice seeker

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Rose McGowan survived a childhood in a cult and intermittent teenage homelessness, but what really broke her was Hollywood. Anyone who consumed any media at the end of 2017 knows of producer Harvey Weinstein's downfall as allegations of rampant sexual assault came to light, led fiercely and publicly by McGowan. In Brave, she does not shy away from details of her assault at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997 (though she refers to Weinstein only as the Monster). But first, her life story: born into the Children of God cult in Italy, she instinctively rebelled against religious brainwashing, despite the resultant punishment. When the cult started justifying pedophilia, her father moved the family to the U.S., and McGowan's childhood was spent in Colorado (beautiful) and rural Oregon (rednecks). Her freakish style (described as Moth, a cross between mod and goth) led to her being literally plucked off the streets to star in Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation. Because she was new, she was not privy to the whisper network that surrounded Weinstein; after her assault, a male costar muttered, I told him not to do that anymore. Essentially blacklisted from film, she turned to television, replacing Shannen Doherty on the sister-witch show Charmed. The grueling schedule (and costars with whom no love has been lost, apparently) left her exhausted and vulnerable to the creative charms of Robert Rodriguez (referred to as RR), who left his wife for her, and the boys' club led by Quentin Tarantino, where women can be strong as long as they are also mostly naked and willing to die in really gruesome ways. Brave will appeal in two ways: it is a celebrity memoir, and although McGowan's insistence on her own inner strength and superior intelligence can be exhausting, she dishes some good dirt, especially for those who grew up during her indie-darling phase. (As a side note: she has very sweet things to say about ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson.) But it is also a fierce, sometimes dryly funny calling out of the hypocrisy and misogyny of Hollywood. She excoriates everyone who is culpable, from the assaulters to the complicit female producers to the public who knows the representation of women in media is dangerous and wrong but who consume it anyway. She also speaks to fellow survivors, who are perhaps the most important audience for this book. McGowan has been through hell, and she knows you have, too. The book may be self-promotional at times, but it is also a battle cry.--Maguire, Susan Copyright 2018 Booklist