Book Review: Puffblicity by April VeVea

Monday, April 16, 2018

Puffblicity: An Appreciation of Jayne Mansfield by April VeVea is a book with a core focus on the decade in which beloved actress Jayne Mansfield was at the peak of her fame: the 1950's. It chronicles her life in a compilation of countless rare, captivating photos, and interviews in her own words. April is also the author of Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life.

The main element that I appreciate about this volume is that we get to observe a deeper look at Jayne's personality. Too often are we exposed only to her image, notably the legendary photo with Sophia Loren, and not much beyond that. We see that voluptuous, gorgeous blonde with the curves, and many lack an honest resource to delve into and understand her as a person. This is that resource. April provides press interviews, a wide collection of images, and a comprehensive glimpse into Jayne's life during this time period. This book will satisfy those who are devoted fans of Jayne, and will also inspire newcomers.

April has thoughtfully displayed the press photos to include their original markings, which gives the reader a true idea of how they were used at the time. She has also color coded the pages, giving each year its own pastel hue, a visual tag which can help the reader more effectively remember the date in which they read about a certain item, and also makes it easier to locate individual chapters. The facts and details provided are intriguing, and the format of the volume itself is elegant and clean.

In addition to the bulk of valuable information provided that is satisfying from a research standpoint, April's passion for Jayne simply shines throughout her publication. You can really tell the author put her heart and soul into this book, an element many biographers fail to present naturally. When you read Puffblicity, you will experience Jayne presented as a living breathing human being, not simply a subject for a book. You will get to know Jayne the intelligent woman beyond movie camera and the press flashbulb. And by the end, you will be wanting more, and hopefully it will inspire you to seek out more of Jayne's fabulous work both on screen and off.

The author's mission with this book is clear in its title: for readers to gain a new appreciation for the enchanting woman who was Jayne Mansfield, and I believe she accomplishes just that.

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