The Audrey Hepburn Treasures, by Ellen Erwin and Jessica Z. Diamond
By far, Treasures was the most anticipated Audrey book of 2006. That’s saying something, since 2006 seemed to be the Year of Audrey. Between her (controversial) Gap commercials and the auction of the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress, Audrey Hepburn seemed to be the name on everybody’s lips. It was also a very busy year for her in the print media. There was this book, a new biography, and two major picture books (Taschen Icons and The Paramount Years), all receiving much publicity. But this was the book all Audrey fans were itching to have in their hands.
Treasures practically picks up where Sean Ferrer’s Elegant Spirit has left off. Though a big complaint among fans had been that a lot of the more private pictures that were revealed in Elegant Spirit seem to have been recycled for Treasures, there is much more to the book than pictures. Every 20 pages or so, there are parchment envelopes between full-page rare photos containing exact replicas of important documents in Audrey’s life and career. Most brilliant among them are: a full reproduction of an old family album, ornate leather cover included; the receipt for her Oscar; Sean’s birth announcement; and her contract with UNICEF, to name a few. While Elegant Spirit showed you the wife and mother side of the megastar, the woman who was always “a little bit sad,” Treasures shows you the evolution of an average little Dutch girl into a remarkable young woman in extraordinary circumstances, and how her magnificent career was just an accident, a way to pay the bills and rebuild her shattered life. Most of all, it completes the picture started by Sean three years before: Audrey Hepburn as a complete and utter human being.
Treasures is also an excellent biography. While it’s easy to overlook the text in your initial excitement over the lovely pictures and all those intriguing little envelopes, on your next go-round you definitely need to sit and read this book. Painstakingly written by The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund Executive Director Ellen Erwin, this book gently sets to right all previous misconceptions of Audrey from sloppy, erroneous biographies of the past and handed-down misconceptions from the press, while giving you a window into how she must have felt as her life was unfolding before her. So not only do you get these lovely treats of dance programs and early press clippings, but you get the same thrill and slight embarrassment Audrey felt upon receiving all of this, and her wonderment about all this fuss over the “skinny girl with the eyes.” A must-have for any and all Audrey fans, this book is also sold through the Children’s Fund, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the fund itself.