Let’s talk about… Kate Mulgrew’s Born With Teeth
I have to admit I am a teensy bit biased when it comes to Kate Mulgrew. Not only is she my favourite Starfleet Captain, but I have a thing for opinionated redheads.
I came into the Star Trek universe barely two years ago, having abhorred anything science-fiction besides Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica (a show which I love with all my heart and soul and will always, always try to get people to watch it or at least let me rant about it, because it really is the best show to ever grace the small screen). I watched all of Voyager in less than three weeks and was absolutely besotted with Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager. It was this show that welcomed me into the Star Trek community, even though most people seem to dislike theit with a burning pasion, mainly because they see inconsistencies with Janeway’s command decisions, because of the weird and sometimes lame aliens or the questionable plots of some episodes (was Threshold really necessary???), but let me ask you a question: what do you think would have happen if Picard, Kirk, or any other man for the matter, was thrown into the Delta Quadrant, lost half of his crew, gained a few Starfleet renegades and made the same choices Janeway had to make? Would these people have their choices questioned by fans? I don’t think so.
Steering away from my very strong feelings toward underestimated shows, let’s dig into my honest review of Mulgrew’s autobiography. If you don’t know me in real life or on social media, or you haven’t picked up on it yet, you should know that I tend to rant about a variety of things and most of the time, I write reviews more as a stream of thoughts than the normal structured essay one prefers. I also won’t be sharing any details about the story itself, as I personally tend to read reviews before I read a book so that I can get a general idea of the public’s assessment of the book. Yeah, I do sometimes judge books by their covers and by how angry angry people are in their reviews. With that out of the way, let’s talk about Kate Mulgrew’s Born With Teeth.
Mulgrew’s autobiography was an absolute pleasure to read. With every single paragraph, I was craving more and more. I simply couldn’t put the book down, just like when I stumble upon one of her interviews or panels on YouTube and suddenly it’s three in the morning and I’m still watching panels from the late nineties. I could listen to her speak for hours and it’s not just her voice (and oh boy, that voice). From the way she speaks and how she handles herself on a convention stage, you can tell that she was classically trained, is well read and that she has spent many a year working in theatre. There is something about actors that have trained in theatre that just makes me go all gooey and happy (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, who could read a menu and I would nominate them for a BAFTA; Mary McDonnell, who, not only makes me pee my pants laughing, is an incredibly gorgeous, clever human and a talented actress, can make me weep like a baby the moment she gets that look on her face). I crumble in front of talent. Kate’s writing reflects the years spent in the theatre. She owns everything that comes out of her mouth and pen, and she effortlessly weighs every single word and its meaning. It is not often that you meet such elegance in writing.
I read Born With Teeth after binging all the Carrie Fisher memoirs, from Wishful Drinking to The Princess Diarist, and if I had loved those books for the self-deprecation and humour, I love Mulgrew’s autobiography for the opposite reason. Just like in Carrie Fisher’s life and books, vulnerability and strength are twined together, but Kate brings an element of pure angst and drama into the life that she depicts in her book. Personally, I thrived on the drama that permeated almost every single page. Maybe it’s wrong of me to say it openly, but I also don’t want to shy away from this, because, after all, this is the one of the reasons why we seek entertainment in books, shows, movies and games. We want a little drama that doesn’t really affect us in our day-to-day lives; we crave something that will distract us from our own troubles, monotony or boredom and will only marginally, if not at all, change anything at all in our so called “real life”.
The way Kate Mulgrew opens us is truly beautiful. So far in my life as a reader, I have encountered two different kinds of autobiographies: you have the really funny ones, where humour and self-deprecation run free, and those who follow the standard birth to present, or death, format. In her book, Mulgrew managed to open this door into her life, where she showed us bits and pieces of her life, from her childhood to Voyager, from her lovers to her work. I have read autobiographies where it feels like the person is oversharing, but in Born With Teeth everything feels organic, it feels necessary to read every single minute detail that Mulgrew includes in the recounting of her life. She doesn’t shy away from the sordid details and the heartbreaks, from everything that makes her human.
Kate Mulgrew is someone who exudes talent, has worked her ass off her entire life and her hard work paid off. She has had and still has a brilliant career and that’s due to the way she throws herself into anything she believes in. She puts 100% of herself in every project, whether it be work or her personal life and it is something that I appreciate so much in a person.
In conclusion, I love Kate Mulgrew and you should read this book. That’s all.