Anna Fields was born to be a deb. But when she’s kicked out of her Cotillion class, she becomes a “Rebel Deb,” the antithesis of the good Southern girl she was bred to be. Confessions of a Rebel Debutante chronicles Fields’ days as a deb from high school through college and follows her work in Hollywood, until she finally ends up in New York City.
Just from the title, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante sounds like an amusing read, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. First of all, there’s no real story behind the memoir. It starts with Fields’ days being prepped to become a debutante, glosses over her subsequent dismissal from Cotillion and speedily zips through her life, focusing on the strangest spots. Though some of the anecdotes definitely could have been amusing in a nonfiction essay collection, putting them together in a book just doesn’t work. The book doesn’t tell a coherent story or have an overarching message, or even reveal a lot about Fields. It’s just there.
The last half of the book consists of Fields’ experiences in Hollywood and basically turns into a tell-all about various celebrities she met. I picked up the book to read about Fields’ experiences being a debutante (which, it turns out, she wasn’t) and Southern culture. I wasn’t really interested in Julia Roberts and Kirstin Dunst not eating lunch with the rest of the cast of Mona Lisa Smile or Chris Pine’s womanizing. The gossipy turn it takes is unexpected and unpalatable.
When Fields finally moves to New York City, she goes on a diatribe about the culture and people in the city. She expresses disappointment that all the people she meet seem to automatically think she is a Christian fundamentalist who only watches Fox News and flies the Confederate flag, just because she’s from the South. That frustration is understandable, but then she goes on to make vast generalizations about all New Yorkers without realizing she is doing the same thing to them that they had done to her. For example, she mentions how all of the women want to have the class of the great Southern dames but never would. While this can certainly be said of some women, is it really fair to peg all the wealthy women of New York City that way, especially considering Fields’ complaints about their judgmental treatment of her?
All in all, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante is quite a disappointment. In essay form, with more focused writing and a coherent theme, it could have been an interesting book. If you are a fan of celebrity tell-alls, perhaps you will find this book amusing. If you’re looking for a funny Southern girl memoir, though, look elsewhere.