This book is a novelistic description of Chaplin's tortured relations with women, starting with his insane mother. Rebuffed by his first love, a fifteen year old girl, he spends his whole life seeking someone who resembles his teenage sweetheart. Like Nabokov's antihero Humbert in "Lolita," (Nabakov had Chaplin in mind when he wrote his novel) he lusts after young girls. He pursues Mildred Harris, an actress, when she was but sixteen, and marries her only when she tells him that she is pregnant. He divorces her after she gives birth to a malformed baby who doesn't survive. His next willing inamorata is Lita Grey, age sixteen, whom he reluctantly marries when her family threatens him with a charge of statutory rape. During his marriages to Mildred Harris and others, and also between marriages, he provides the country's newspaper reporters with ample oportunities to write about his escapades with stars such as Marion Davies, the mistress of the famous publisher William Randolph Hearst, Pola Negri, Louise Brooks and Paulette Goddard, all known stars of the 1920's and 1930's. They are but a few of the women linked to his name in the daily headlines of the nation's newspapers. In the 1940's he becomes involved in an internationally publicized paternity suit brought on by an ostensibly disturbed and alcoholic girl named Jane Barry. He finally takes up with Oona O'Neil then age seventeen (he was fifty four), and marries her against the advice of saner heads.
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