Title: Confessions of a Rebel Debutante
Author: Anna Fields
Release Date: April 15, 2010
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Anna Fields was born to be a Deb. But when she’s kicked out of her Cotillion class, she becomes a “Rebel Deb,” the antithesis of the good Southern girl she was bred to be. This memoir chronicles her days as a Deb, from high school through college, and follows her work in Hollywood, finally ending up in New York City.
Just from the title, I thought Confessions of a Rebel Debutante sounded like an amusing read. Being familiar with Southern culture, I appreciate its quirks at the same time I enjoy making fun of its ridiculousness. Anna Fields seemed like she was the same way, so I was looking forward to seeing what she had to say.
Unfortunately, this memoir did not live up to my expectations. First of all, there was no real story behind the memoir. It starts with Fields’ days being prepped to become a debutante, glossing over her subsequent dismissal from Cotillion, and speedily zips through her life, focusing in on the strangest spots. Though some of the anecdotes definitely could have been amusing in a non-fiction essay collection, putting them together in a book just didn’t work at all. The book doesn’t tell a coherent story or have an overarching message, or reveal a lot about Fields. It’s just there.
The last half of the book consists of Fields’ experiences in Hollywood, and basically turns into a tell-all about various celebrities she met. I picked up the book to read about Fields’ experiences being a Debutante (which it turns out, she wasn’t) and Southern culture. I wasn’t really interested in Julia Roberts and Kirstin Dunst not eating lunch with the rest of the cast of Mona Lisa Smile or Chris Pine’s womanizing. The gossipy turn it took was unexpected and very unpalatable.
When Fields finally moved to New York City, she went on a bit of a diatribe about the culture and people in the city. She expresses disappointment that all the people she met seemed to automatically think she was a Christian fundamentalist who only watched Fox News and flew the Confederate flag, just because she was from the South. That frustration was very understandable. But then she went on to make vast generalizations about all New Yorkers, without realizing she was doing the same thing to them that they did to her. For example, she mentioned how all of the women wanted to have the class of the great Southern dames, but never would. While this can certainly be said of some women, is it really fair to peg all the wealthy women of New York City that way, especially considering Fields’ complaints about their treatment of her? The entire book had that same mean spirit, which wasn’t very endearing.
All in all, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante was quite a disappointment. I considered putting it down multiple times, and now wish I had done so, rather than persevering to the end. In essay form, with more focused writing and a coherent theme, it could have been an interesting book. If you are a fan of celebrity tell-alls, perhaps you will find this book amusing. If you’re looking for a funny southern girl memoir, though, I’d definitely look elsewhere.