Top critical review
A Clinical Look At A Colorful Life
on November 22, 2000
Though filled with details that do not convey much about the life and death of Gia, a compelling character from the late seventies and early eighties who rose to supermodel fame and died of AIDS more or less an unknown. Well researched and understandably written, the narrative reads too much like a newspaper story at times and much of the book is devoted to a history and analysis of the advertising and fashion industires.
Though biographical and laced with trenchant images of the late model, the angle of the book is far too academic and sympathetic to the excesses of its subject. Not that a judgement call is asked for or needed, there is no question Gia destroyed herself, what is missing is the essence of this sad story. Much of the information for this book was provided by an estranged mother who came to the dying model's side toward the end of her life. Thus the sometimes acute lack of objectivity found in the rest of the book.
Though a very good effort, this book disappoints on many levels. There is too much writing devoted to the throes of Gia's death and the joys of her rise to fortune and fame. A bit too much devoted to an explanation of her industry and too little devoted to her complicated personality. She comes across as a party girl with some talent and a look and she was considerably more than that.
As a biography this book succeeds in detailing the major events of Gia's life and untimely demise. It does with accuracy and fairness categorize her field of work, her sexuality and her lifestyle but it does not put a human face on the person who lived this life. We learn much about the people in her lief and come to know them, but you leave this book not knowing its subject at all and that is its failure.
Gia was an intricate and sophisticated person. A woman of great beauty and promise beset by pain we never come to realize from this work. Sadly she is lost forever because of self-destructive behavior and a total lack of support from those around her. The human side of that story along with the empirical information we are given would have made this a thumbs up winner.