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The Lady from the Black Lagoon

Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick
Written by: Mallory O'Meara
Narrated by: Mallory O'Meara
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Tor.com Most Anticipated Book of 2019

A PureWow "Book We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019"

A Bustle Nonfiction Book Coming Out In 2019 To Start Getting Excited About 

The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick - one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters

As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.

As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.

A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.

©2019 Mallory O'Meara (P)2019 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • TEP13
  • 2019-04-25

An important subject poorly executed

This book commits the cardinal sin of biographies... the author has made it more about themselves than the subject. I can't help but feel like the editor let down O'Meara by not steering the first time writer away from many pitfalls. At best the over indulgence to steer all topics towards herself comes off as juvenile and at worst egotistical. As an example that this book could have used more editorial direction, there's a passage describing who Walt Disney is. I'm sure anyone interested in movie history, and born on the planet Earth, knows Disney. All in all, this book was like going to a blog for a lasagna recipe and having to read 20 paragraphs of the bloggers life story and their love affair with lasagna before getting anywhere close to the hurried, mediocre recipe. I just wanted lasagna, dude. But, I hope the author continues to work and grow as a writer. And I thank her for throwing light on the subject of Milicent Patrick and the Creature.

PS... If you dislike vocal fry, the narration will be hard to get through.

137 of 154 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 2019-04-16

Author needs to extract herself from the story

I heard about this book on an NPR segment and thought it would be interesting to learn about Millicent Patrick. While I have no doubt Millicent Patrick and the author have experienced discrimmination because they are females, the author's habit of regularly interjecting her experience into the story is WAY overdone. Further, her blanket assertions that all men are guilty of misogyny and discrimminatory behavior is exactly the type of stereotyping that the author so vehemently despises. I could have overlooked her frequent lapses into telling her story were it not for her overwraught commentary of ALL men. I too am a woman working in a male dominated field and have seen my share of male chauvanists. But I I found the author's apparent rage against all men very distracting from what it is truly an interesting story. Millicent Patrick's story, to include the discrimmination she experienced, is interesting. It would have been nice if the author had kept to that story without making blanket accusations.

132 of 154 people found this review helpful

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  • otolythe
  • 2019-05-01

not a bio of milicent patrick

Mallory O'Meara has written a biography of Mallory O'Meara. I look forward to reading a biography of Milicent Patrick, but this isn't it. Not recommended.

78 of 93 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Dr. G.B. Colvin
  • 2019-04-16

annoying

Was all excited to listen to this as it sounded interesting. after 15 minutes of listening to the author drone on and on in her irritating glottal fry and up talk about how she is constantly asked to smile by men in the subway and how there aren't enough women in the movie industry, I just had to stop. I wanted to hear about the woman that was supposed to be the subject of the book, not the self absorbed author.

79 of 103 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Charboneau
  • 2019-10-18

Many Layers

There is so much in this book - part personal quest, part early history of film (including Disney animation, and monster and other effects), part California history, and part commentary on feminism then and now. And all through it, filling in a portrait of a remarkable woman.

The audiobook is well read (the author, who reads it, has a podcast and has done public speaking), but the audio leaves out the footnotes found in the physical and ebook versions. The non-audio versions also contain a few pictures, mostly of Millicent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Haley
  • 2019-03-18

Good book, fun listen!

I quite enjoyed this audiobook. The author read it well and the story was engaging.
Though there were times in the beginning when I was curious about the background info that seemed somewhat unrelated, when all of a sudden it made total sense why we went so far back in the history of one person or another.
I loved hearing the cool detective like sleuthing involved in gathering the info needed to write this book. I am so glad that Milicent and her story is being told. It's inspiring to all women in any field.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Victor Fiore
  • 2019-04-30

I was a little bummed

The overall story was cool, the authors lackluster preformance and a few other things that I hate to say here that kinda ruined the book for me.

29 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Patrick J. Kane
  • 2019-10-01

Excellent. Must listen for fans of old Hollywood and horror.

This book shouldn’t work, but it not only works, it’s exceptional.

Warning signs, it was written by a fan of the subject, half the book is about the author and her journey writing it, and the author reads the book themselves.

The author doesn’t let her love of the subject narrow her view however, they instead tell us all they learned the good and the bad.

Half the book is about the writing of the book and while this is often filler for a topic that doesn’t have enough material for an entire book here that journey adds depth, context, and perspective to the subject’s life.

If a professional performer had read this a layer would have been lost. The author’s own personal joy at their discoveries transfers to the listener.

I’m a white male who found myself connecting and relating to the lives of two women, one of whom who was born over a century ago, that’s an achievement.

And if you’re a Creature from the Black Lagoon fan you should just get this one on general principle.

But even if you’re not, it’s a fascinating portrait of what was like to be a working woman in an era where we don’t even tend to think had working women. And juxtaposed with the authors experience, it’s a fine examination of the problems we tend to think of as solved being anything but.

Highly recommend, this one flies by and I’ll be making sure to check out anything else this author writes.

12 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Dembkoski
  • 2019-08-06

Loved it!

Highly recommended to all!

The story of Milicent Patrick went silent for so long, and the research done by Mallory O’Meara is thorough, and a great story of perseverance itself.

The book alternates between Milicent Patrick’s life, and the modern search for her. It’s heartbreaking, inspiring, and more. And the performance by the author is so worth it. Genuine and passionate. I’m glad it was her to tell Milicent’s story, and done honestly.

And when you’re done, go watch Creature From The Black Lagoon, to see Milicent’s crowning achievement.

11 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • William J. Schafer
  • 2019-03-06

An honest bio about a fascinating talent

As an unapologetic fan of The Creech and its creator, Ms. Patrick, I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this bio by Ms. O'Meara. She presents a rounded story of a woman who not only survived at a time when females were viewed as helpers and gofers for the male movie makers if the era, but because of her talent and will she prospered.
A truly wonderful, fast and satisfying read.

11 of 20 people found this review helpful