Despite the title, I would not call this a book about the Lady from the Black Lagoon. This is a memoir about O’Meara researching Milicent Patrick’s previously unknown life with a lot of filler to make this into a full-length book. With a few exceptions, the first 85% of this book doesn’t have much about Milicent Patrick. Instead we learn about her father’s background, William Randolph Hearst and his architect Julia Morgan, Nelbert Chouinard, the Westmores, a history of special effects and makeup in film, monster suits that are not the Creature’s, critiques on various 1950’s horror movies, gender inequality, current political and social movements, and privilege ad nauseam. Throughout the book she chided those who focused on Milicent’s appearance when she did exactly the same, repeating how attractive she was and calling her a “babe.”
There is a dark side to the person who has been obsessed over for this book. Her family estranged themselves from her and two people committed suicide as a result of her actions. There are many allegations that Milicent Patrick didn’t visually create the Creature from the Black Lagoon and O’Meara does a poor job of discrediting these claims, writing that she either doesn’t believe them or that men who worked on the set wouldn’t remember a woman in a notable position because of the fact that she’s a woman. This does nothing to help her credibility as an author. She writes so much of how the horror genre is saturated with misogynist able-bodied white men that I wonder what she finds appealing about it. O’Meara is not a terrible writer, did a good job researching, and a small chunk of this book was actually interesting, hence the two stars. However, words and phrases repeatedly used are immature and very much geared towards millennials or those who are not offended by hashtags in print. To me this feels more like a blog post than a finished, published piece of work.
I feel that The Lady from the Black Lagoon could be improved immensely by only focusing on Milicent’s life and O’Meara’s research journey. If there had not been unnecessary background on other individuals and so many personal opinions, I would have given this book at least four stars.
This book will be released on March 5, 2019.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.