Sandy Dennis

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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sandy Dennis was born in Nebraska and became an award-winning actress of both stage and screen. Little of her professional life is in evidence in SANDY DENNIS: A PERSONAL MEMOIR. Instead of the factual autobiography which one might expect of such a woman, Dennis has penned a series of evocative vignettes through which she takes the reader from her earliest childhood memories to the days preceding her untimely death.

The memoir begins with “Three Pennies,” the story of a trip to a tiny neighborhood store to buy penny candy. In “A Circle of Soft Light” readers visit her home full of cats and, “When Colors Ache,” her woods and garden. Other similarly colorfully titled chapters allow the reader to feel the pain and relief of a broken love affair, the unconditional love of her mother’s dog, and her willingness to grapple with the mystery of inevitable death. The closing chapter, “Another Spring” allows the reader to see this awakening season as she herself viewed it from her bedroom window during the final days of her life.

Perhaps because this book was written while Sandy Dennis struggled with ovarian cancer or, perhaps, because she saw, or rather felt, life more as a painter or poet, SANDY DENNIS: A PERSONAL MEMOIR provides the reader with a glimpse into the heart of a uniquely talented and sensitive woman. “I rarely recall emotions. I recall images,” Sandy Dennis writes in the opening pages of her book. Through these images the reader sees Sandy Dennis’s world as she saw it, lived it, and felt it. This work is Sandy Dennis’s gift to her readers, and what a warm and moving gift it is.