Audrey Hepburn is one of Hollywood’s most revered actresses. During her time on the big screen, she captured the hearts of many with her innocence and likeable personality. She was many things to many people, including the countless children she aided in her work with UNICEF. Sean Hepburn Ferrer tells his mother’s story with the dignity and respect it deserves in his fantastic book Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit.
Audrey witnessed and felt the effects of World War II as a child living in Europe. It was those images that laid the foundation for the person she would become and remain throughout her life. Initially aspiring to be a ballerina, Audrey shifted her focus after her ballet instructor suggested that she would be best suited as a second ballerina. She wanted to be the best at what she did. Written from Ferrer’s perspective, the book is a testament to his strong relationship with his mother, as well as a commentary on her life outside of Hollywood. The comprehensive writing is coupled with an incredible array of photographs, ranging from Audrey’s childhood and home life to promotional film shots.
Audrey was a compassionate woman who carried a great pain for those who lived without love. It was in their faces that she saw reflections of herself. Her work with UNICEF meant a great deal to her, though she never felt like she’d done enough. However, the contributions that she made would change the lives of children all over the world. She became their embodiment of hope. In addition to the photographs, there are also letters from Audrey. One such letter is the speech she delivered in Geneva in 1989 to the members of the United Nations staff. The speech is a heart-wrenching reality check on the conditions by which many are bound. It is perhaps a complete summation of her feelings and thoughts on how poor the world has become, particularly in spirit.
Though commonly regarded as a cinematic icon, Audrey Hepburn was an inspiration to all those who knew her. Her random acts of kindness and genuine concern for the well-being of the human race is rivaled by few. In these 256 pages, we find undeniable proof that the human will is strong enough to overcome any obstacle. We are introduced to Audrey as a mother, a friend, an artist and a humanitarian.