A Year in Books/Day 75: Madame Tussaud A Life in Wax

  • Title: Madame Tussaud A Life in Wax
  • Author: Kate Berridge
  • Year Published: 2006 (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)
  • Year Purchased: 2010
  • Source: A gift from my lovely Momma.
  • About: Even though an autobiography exists under her name, there is so much about Madame Tussaud’s life that has been lost to time. A lot of the information that remains is untrustworthy or muddled. This only adds to the burden carried by any biographer. Kate Berridge’s account is better than¬†expected yet still suffers in spots from lack of original source material. Fortunately, she almost makes up for that deficiency by her unusual approach of treating her subject as a historian, instead of merely as an artisan-impresario. By the end of the book, she succeeds in making Madame Tussaud at least as life-like as her statues-not a small feat given the circumstances.
  • Motivation: History + Biography + Unusual Female Subject= an irresistible trio for me. My Mother knows this!
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 21: “The waxworks were the ideal forum to cater for a phenomenal human interest in public figures that was distinct from respect for their work. In fact cultural achievement was not necessary at all to appear there: the admission requirement was to have attained sufficient public interest to guarantee a crowd; notoriety was as compelling as admiration. From the recently executed criminal to society beauties, Curtius guaranteed a close-up view of the most talked-about people of the day. As each person had their time in the spotlight of public interest, they would take their turn in his pantheon.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7 1/2
    English: The wax statue of the creator of &quo...