Biting the Big Apple


One of the enduring themes of literature is the rags-to-riches (and back again) story, the protagonist living many very separate lives throughout before moving on to the next adventure. In everything from Great Expectations and Ben Hur to Tipping the Velvet, there’s no journey like the slave boy who ends up a prince or the rich courtesan who ends up a homeless streetwalker.

Sydney actress Vendramini spins just such a tale as she moves to New York to join a prestigious acting academy and falls for a rich businessman and lives like a queen before breaking up to live in the dishevelled cool of the East Village, a struggling but talented performer finding her muse.

Is it well written? Not at all — it reads like a roughly scratched memoir instead of a polished tome and the ‘as spoken’ homilies grate rather than charm. But Vendramini’s enthusiasm and determination is its own animal. She doesn’t seem to realise it’s not New York that’s seducing her with its serendipity, cruelty and beauty but her own determination and fearlessness.


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