Born with Teeth – Kate Mulgrew

Born with TeethBorn with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t go looking for this book. I didn’t know it existed until I glanced over a table during my visit to Book People in Austin, TX, and saw a familiar face looking back at me. I know Kate Mulgrew from Star Trek: Voyager, had seen her in a few other shows and interviews over the years, and I was immediately interested in learning more about such a dynamic woman.

Mulgrew writes as well as she acts, navigating the treacherous waters of a memoir by balancing carefully-selected and vivid details with hyperbolic Irish storytelling to distract and direct our attention by turns. She covers difficult ground—a child given up, a sister lost to cancer, an abusive relationship, a robbery turned sexual assault, the end of a marriage, and the beginning of her mother’s decline—as she gives us a tour of her career on the screen and the stage. She reveals all the darkness and light of her ambition and choices, unflinching and unapologetic when she calls herself selfish, celebrates her happiness and successes, and forgives herself for her failings. The men in her life come and go, and she is vigilant not to villainize them as the ties that bind them together unravel time and again.

What might have been a series of anecdotes loosely connected by her career is instead given a compelling and family-centered through line by Mulgrew’s refusal to forget the daughter she gave up for adoption, and she ends the memoir with their climactic reunion. The finishing note is a true-love denouement as Mulgrew reunites with the man who got away. Her two great passions (besides acting)—love and family—flourish around her. This was a thoroughly captivating and enjoyable read.

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