Book Review: Cinderella & The Carpetbagger

GraceRobbinsBookCoverCinderella & The Carpetbagger: My Life as the Wife of the “World’s Bestselling Author,” Harold Robbins by Grace Robbins (Bettie Youngs Book Publishers, 2013)

Genre: memoir

Amazon describes Robbins’ memoir…

Harold Robbins s steamy books were once more widely read than the Bible. His novels sold more than 750 million copies and created the sex-power-glamour genre of popular literature that would go on to influence authors from Jackie Collins and Jacqueline Susann to TV shows like Dallas and Dynasty. What readers don t know is that Robbins whom the media had dubbed the prince of sex and scandal actually researched the free-wheeling escapades depicted in his books himself, along with his drop-dead, gorgeous wife, Grace. Now, in this revealing tell-all, for the first time ever, Grace Robbins rips the covers off their REAL lives. The 1960s and 70s were decades like no others radical, experimental, libertine. Grace Robbins chronicles the rollicking good times, peppering her memoir with anecdotes of her encounters with luminaries from the world of entertainment and the arts not to mention most of Hollywood. The couple was at the center of a globetrotting jet set, with mansions in Beverly Hills, villas and yachts on the French Riviera and Acapulco. Their life rivaled and often surpassed that of the characters in his books. Champagne flowed, cocaine was abundant, and sex in the pre-AIDS era was embraced with abandon. Along the way, the couple agreed to a modern marriage, that Harold insisted upon. With charm, introspection, and humor, Grace lays open her fascinating, provocative roller-coaster ride of a life her own true Cinderella tale. 

I had no idea about the contents of this book when I downloaded it. It wasn’t until I began prepping this blog post that I discovered just what this book was about. Grace is indeed in a pivotal place to reveal a tell-all: Grace Robbins is the wife of the legendary Harold Robbins, whom the press dubbed as “The World’s Best-Selling Author.” Considered one of the first five Beverly Hills Housewives; Grace Robbins is now working on movie based on her book, Cinderella and the Carpetbagger. Even though I barely scraped the surface in getting an idea about this book, I was looking forward to reading it.

And was disappointed.

I read through half of chapter 16 and just could not continue reading this book, and here’s why: I don’t believe Grace Robbins. There are several incidents in this book that as a girlfriend/fiance/wife/mother she just ignores of her husband. For example, several people (including his mother and sister) tell Grace not to believe a word he says; he takes his wife, screenplay writer, and ex-mistress (and mother of his first child) to a happening bistro and tells the maitre de that he has his ex-mistress, wife and future mistress with him to have lunch. And she doesn’t say a word, even at home in private. As I said, there are several incidents in which Grace should have asked questions as a wife, but she didn’t and I don’t buy this as a reader. I feel there was A LOT glossed over or sugar coated.

In addition, Grace Robbins only had a “life” because of her husband. Before, she was married to a jealous, pathetic, voracious alcoholic with a dead-end job and no friends. She had no motivation, no drive, no dreams she wanted to fulfill. And after walking into Harold’s life, that doesn’t change! The only decisions she makes in their entire relationship are to get married on a whim when they go to Vegas with friends, and the suggestion they buy a yacht to “do something different.”

I enjoyed reading about the connections between people of old Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but I cringed every other page because it is obvious Grace Robbins is not the writer in the family. Grace, leave that to Harold. There were incorrect uses of commas (or lack of needed commas) EVERYWHERE!! It was deplorable. With has much money as she brags about having in this book, it seems she couldn’t spare it to hire an editor.

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