Meghan: A Hollywood Princess Book Review

The Kindle edition on my iPad.

NOTE: I’m part of the Amazon affiliate program, and the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. You can click on the link and purchase the item listed to support this blog at no additional cost to you—I make a (very small) commission from any purchase made. Thanks!

I’ve always had mixed feelings on Andrew Morton. Maybe it’s the way he comes off in interviews, or how some of his books have had some contested assertions, but I get a weird vibe from him. Yet on the other hand, I somehow get the sense that he really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Princess Diana and some elements of the royal family in general. It’s a complicated relationship.

All that being said, I mostly enjoyed this biography—the first in-depth one—of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (formerly known as Meghan Markle).

I didn’t really know too much about her prior to her relationship with Prince Harry—my dad was the one who broke the news to me. He’s a big fan of Suits, and just had to call and tell me that Meghan Markle (“A Canadian!” he wrongly asserted) was dating Prince Harry. The Toronto (and Canadian) newspapers really caught on to the hometown angle of the relationship, even though Meghan only lived in Toronto to film Suits and really came from California.

As I read the book, I felt like I really got to know her better. Andrew spoke with many of her former colleagues, her friends, and a few of her family members for the book, and their knowledge really shines in his writing. As a biracial woman, I related to her story—I recognized many of my own thoughts in hers, and we share some of the same experiences regarding our mixed-race heritage. We even have a few personality traits in common, which kind of freaked me out.

When I finished the biography, I got the sense that being married into the royal family was a perfect fit for Meghan. She studied international relations in school and interned at the American embassy in Buenos Aires. Her experience with international relations, together with her film career and her charity work, makes it easier for her to adjust to royal life. Make no mistake, she’s primarily in love with Harry—that much is crystal clear. But being a royal gives her a platform to do good in the world.

However, there was one thing that really annoyed me—I felt that Andrew was very heavy-handed in describing the “themes” of the book. I found that the books and writing I enjoyed the most employed the method of “show, don’t tell.” While the rest of the book had much more show than tell, I felt like Andrew was trying to shove the “themes” down my throat and I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this biography—it makes me excited to see what Meghan brings to the royal family.

A Dog’s Way Home Book Review

The Kindle edition on my iPad.

NOTE: I’m part of the Amazon affiliate program, and the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. You can click on the link and purchase the item listed to support this blog at no additional cost to you—I make a (very small) commission from any purchase made. Thanks!

I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually love this book more than A Dog’s Purpose.

A Dog’s Way Home is a heartwarming tale about a rescue dog named Bella trying to find her way back to her person. The basic premise is more grounded and simple compared to A Dog’s Purpose, but it ends up becoming more meaningful and it leaves a tender place in your heart.

In this novel, there’s only one dog with one singular purpose—as readers, we fall in love with Bella (easily one of the sweetest dogs in the world) and connect with her on her journey. W. Bruce Cameron does a brilliant job of weaving in different themes and plot elements without feeling forced. Bella encounters people among many different walks of life, and they all feel like real people—not symbols of a bigger issue or plot devices. These are the people who help Bella along in her journey and as Bella says, if she hadn’t found these people, she wouldn’t have been able to find her way home.

From the beginning of the novel, Cameron makes it clear that Bella is a smart, sweet dog. These are the traits that help her succeed throughout the book. She spends two years travelling across Colorado doing Go Home—deep within her soul is a burning desire to be a good dog with her person. As much as we don’t want to ever be separated from our canine best friends, I think we all hope to be good enough people to our dogs that they would climb mountains to find us again.

Cameron’s storytelling abilities are much stronger in this book compared to A Dog’s Purpose—he seamlessly weaves the different themes and characters together, and even though we don’t get much time with people who aren’t Lucas, Olivia, or Mom, we feel like we get to know them. And any hardships they face feel all the more poignant when we see them through Bella’s soulful eyes.

This novel is a beautiful, nuanced tale—everything works together effortlessly to tell a sweet and emotional story about the bond between dog and human. Dogs need people, and Bella needs her Lucas.

As much as I love both books, A Dog’s Way Home holds my heart just a little bit more. Bella’s journey, her singular purpose in her life, gives me hope and a little bit of joy in a time when things feel unstable. If you love dogs or want to understand why people love them so much, I highly recommend this book.

Make ‘Em Laugh Book Review

God, I love Debbie Reynolds. She has the status of a legend with the spirit of a fan, which makes this book a hugely enjoyable read.

In her final memoir, Debbie focuses the majority of the book telling amazing stories about her famous friends and her life in Hollywood. In between stories about Bob Hope and Groucho Marx, she would talk about her many talk show appearances and the delightful gowns she wore. While she mostly had fun anecdotes and praise for celebrities, there were a few dishy stories about the people she didn’t like—and those were just as delightful to read.

But the book wasn’t only about her famous friends—she wrote several eloquent pages about her dear friends and assistants, Donald and Jenny. Debbie really had a huge heart and a deep love for everyone around her. You can see that through the loyalty she inspired in her friends and fans.

I mainly read this book through the Kindle ebook and the audiobook, read by Judith Ivey. Make Em Laugh was incredibly well-written—I could hear Debbie’s voice through the pages as I read. However, I have mixed feelings on the audiobook.

I first listened to Judith Ivey read The Year of Magical Thinking, and I thought she had the perfect voice for Joan Didion’s work. Maybe it’s because I’m so familiar with Debbie as a person and performer (she recorded the audiobooks for her two previous memoirs), but I felt Judith’s voice didn’t really capture Debbie’s spirit. I was still able to engage with the stories, but I basically replaced Judith’s voice with Debbie’s in my mind. That being said, Judith really nailed the different accents and impressions throughout the book.

Overall, I really loved both reading and listening to this book. If you love Debbie Reynolds or Old Hollywood, this really is a necessary read. Debbie captures her favourite stars as real people—not just names in neon lights.