Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfectly Amanda

Perfectly Amanda by Beckey Burgoyne

About The Book:
Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond is the biography of Amanda Blake, who portrayed Kitty Russell on television's Gunsmoke for nearly 20 years, as told by Beckey Burgoyne, an Illinois elementary school teacher and an avid Miss Kitty fan. As a farmer's daughter, Burgoyne can certainly appreciate the value of hard work and self-reliance, characteristics that came to life in Amanda Blake's portrayal of Miss Kitty. In Perfectly Amanda, Burgoyne celebrates everything the character of Kitty Russell stood for: strength, grace, intelligence, independence and so much more. The book provides readers with a chronological look into Amanda Blake's life both on- and off-screen. Readers will also enjoy many wonderful anecdotes and personal reflections as told by Blake's friends and colleagues, as well an extensive collection of photographs, both formal and candid. Full of tales of travel and adventure, as well as heartwarming stories of Blake's devotion to a wide variety of charities, there is something in Perfectly Amanda for everyone - young or old, male or female. More than just a typical biography, this is a tale of strength, courage and compassion. It's the story of a legendary character that sparked a generation of women to challenge conventional views on the traditional roles they were expected to play in society. 

My Thoughts:
I did not grow up in the age of "Gunsmoke", but I have watched many, many, many re-runs and I know who Miss Kitty is. So I was thrilled to be able to read this book, plus I love a good biography. And this one is lovely, and lovingly done. I am passing this book along to my own mother who is a huge Miss Kitty fan, and Ruby from Red Skelton's shows! I am betting she will enjoy this book as much as I did.

About The Author:
Beckey Burgoyne, an elementary school teacher from Illinois and daughter of a farmer, has penned her first book - Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond. Burgoyne was driven to write this biography of Amanda Blake based on her deep admiration of the actress and the strong woman she portrayed on television's Gunsmoke. Born in Danville, Ill., Beckey Burgoyne has lived in Illinois and Indiana all of her life. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill., Burgoyne has always had a passion for the theater and English. Putting her two loves together, it only made sense that her first book would be about the famous actress who inspired her in so many ways. As an elementary school teacher since 1992, Burgoyne has taught math, science and physical education classes. Outside of teaching and spending time with her family, she also loves flowers and the theater. The self-proclaimed "Flower Lady" has been designing, planting and caring for 15 flowerbeds at her local bank for the last 10 summers. She is also involved in the choir/drama department at her church and has taken part in their Christmas and Easter dramatic musical productions for the past 15 years. She also works with the Danville Light Opera, a local community theater group, whenever she can. As a wife, mother, full-time teacher and now a published author, however, Burgoyne doesn't find a lot of free time. Perfectly Amanda, Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty: To Dodge and Beyond was the result of Burgoyne's lifelong love for and admiration of the great actress Amanda Blake and her Gunsmoke character, Kitty Russell, the owner of the Long Branch Saloon and love interest of Marshal Matt Dillon on the legendary Western series. As a young girl, Burgoyne was greatly influenced by Miss Kitty. She admired her independent nature and contentment with choosing a career over homesteading. As television didn't often portray women with such strength and strong will, Miss Kitty was truly an inspiration and an excellent role model for a new generation of women. To honor all that she stood for, Burgoyne put pen to paper for this biography.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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