Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 416 pages
Audiobook Length: 13 hours and 22 minutes
First Published: 2023
When legendary white Hollywood actress Kitty Karr Tate leaves her entire estate to the St. John sisters, three wealthy Black women who were the daughters of her co-star, the media has lots of questions. For Kitty’s backstory is not what anyone realized. Raised by a Black single mother in a segregated Southern town, Kitty began passing as a white woman when she moved to Los Angeles, a decision that would have lasting consequences.
I have mixed feelings about Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?. I can see why Reese Witherspoon picked it for her May book club pick; the plot was intriguing. And not just the premise, but the entire story. I enjoyed learning more about what it was like for a Black woman passing as white: how that affected her relationships with others and with herself. Although the discussions on colorism, racism, and sexism were thought-provoking, the writing quality itself felt subpar and would have benefitted from a better editor.
A multigenerational saga that traverses the glamour of old Hollywood and the seductive draw of modern-day showbiz
When Kitty Karr Tate, a White icon of the silver screen, dies and bequeaths her multimillion-dollar estate to the St. John sisters, three young, wealthy Black women, it prompts questions. Lots of questions.
A celebrity in her own right, Elise St. John would rather focus on sorting out Kitty’s affairs than deal with the press. But what she discovers in one of Kitty’s journals rocks her world harder than any other brewing scandal could―and between a cheating fiancé and the fallout from a controversial social media post, there are plenty.
The truth behind Kitty’s ascent to stardom from her beginnings in the segregated South threatens to expose a web of unexpected family ties, debts owed, and debatable crimes that could, with one pull, unravel the all-American fabric of the St. John sisters and those closest to them.
As Elise digs deeper into Kitty’s past, she must also turn the lens upon herself, confronting the gifts and burdens of her own choices and the power that the secrets of the dead hold over the living. Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is a sprawling page-turner set against the backdrop of the Hollywood machine, an insightful and nuanced look at the inheritances of family, race, and gender―and the choices some women make to break free of them.
About Crystal Smith Paul
Crystal Smith Paul is a writer in digital marketing and the author of Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?