Book Review: Grace Jones A to Z: The Life of an Icon from Androgyny to Zula, by Steve Wide

Steve Wide is back with his fourth colourful A- Z biography of an entertainment icon and, this time, it’s on living legend Grace Jones.

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Steve Wide is back with his fourth A- Z biography and, this time, it’s a book with two firsts – it’s his first book about a living legend and his first book about a female – the Androgynous Goddess, Grace Jones.

For those who don’t know, Wide has previously written A to Z biographies on David Bowie, Prince, and Andy Warholm, all featuring in sideline articles of his current book.

Grace Jones is an exotic woman, famous for her style, her voice, her attitude and her willingness to bare all, regardless of the location or occasion. The story featured in Wide’s latest volume is one of determination and the power of sexuality. Always provocative, never the wallflower, this is a smorgasbord of Grace Jones moments.

Brought up in a strict religious environment, Grace Jones may have sung of slavery – to the rhythm – but she was never one to let herself be subjugated. From her days as a model alongside Jerry Hall, to her venture into the music scene and then on to the big screen – sometimes in disastrous movies, but never giving a disastrous performance – everything Jones did was under her terms.

Even with the tell-tale signs of emotional abuse and neglect of her lover, Jean-Paul Goude, Jones never stopped being the Zula (a reference to Conan the Destroyer), attaching herself to powerful men (particularly in the physical sense). With accompanying imagery by international illustrator, Babeth Lamon, this is a refreshing accompaniment to the earlier volumes.

In 2015, Grace Jones released her autobiography, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, and this volume is inspiration enough to make me want to pick it up and find out more about Ms Jones, in her own words.

Wide’s next release is an A to Z of The Beatles. This will be an interesting one too, considering how much has already been written on them.

In the meantime, why not grab all four (before The Fab Four) of Steve Wide’s books and take a leisurely alphabetical wander through the life and times of these icons.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: October 2018
RRP: $29.99

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