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review 2018-10-15 21:16
The Girl on the Balcony (Hussey)
The Girl on the Balcony: Olivia Hussey Finds Life After Romeo and Juliet - Olivia Hussey

I'm sorry to say that I came to this because, in connection with #metoo discussions, someone mentioned a nasty sexual assault on Olivia Hussey, taking place in the same house as the Manson murders only months afterwards. I'm also sorry to say that incident is indeed in this autobiography.

 

However, I have some very tender memories of the Hussey/Whiting/Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet, a film I saw (like so many of my generation) in my teens while studying the play, so I was very happy to read Olivia Hussey's stories about the making of that film, when she was herself a mere teenager. It seems she got along with Zeffirelli very well indeed, and had a little fling with her gorgeous co-star to boot.

 

For the remainder of her career, Hussey was (at least for me), one of those "I know that face" actresses; she had parts in any number of films and TV miniseries I am sure I have seen, but of which I have no very vivid recollection. It appears she struggled with anxiety and agoraphobia (she mentions it more in her stories about her youth, but she doesn't say she ever completely overcame it); that in itself is adequate explanation for why she never made that last breakthrough to the top echelon of movie stars. She appears, however, to have more or less made a go of it, right up until she was completely impoverished by a crooked manager (this is not libel - he was prosecuted).

 

She appears to have been attracted by highly extroverted and performative men: her 3 husbands were Dean Paul Martin (son of Dean Martin), a Japanese singer, and an American rock singer. The first two marriages fell apart within a few years, but the third has lasted several decades. She had a child from each marriage, and Alex, the son of the first marriage, is credited as co-author on this book. There's also quite a lot about the budding acting career of her daughter, India, from the third marriage, but very little about the middle son.

 

Hussey goes into considerable detail about her discipleship, formed early, of an Indian guru she called "Baba"; I seriously doubt that he was quite so unequivocally virtuous and wise as she portrays him, and I completely doubt all the little anecdotes she delights in of his predicting all the twists and turns of her life before they occurred. However, she does seem to have been a bit of a religious seeker, and he apparently gave her a fair bit of balance and calm, so it isn't kind to be too censorious. Her reliance on "Baba", however, seems symptomatic of another pattern throughout the book - Olivia doesn't seem to have done well, or even desired to do well, without a man to lean on. The organizing principle of the book, such as it is, is not her progression from professional role to professional role (indeed, she leaves some things out altogether, especially towards the end of her career - you would never know she's a voice-over artist, for instance) but from marriage to marriage. And of course it's her prerogative, but one often gets the sense that even her account of that progression leaves out a lot of (probably painful) detail. In her description of her relationship with Dean Paul Martin, for instance, she tells how they separated after only a few years, and divorced a few years later, but she makes it seem as though he might still have been interested in coming back to her when they were both a bit more mature. The name of Dorothy Hamill (the skater, and Dean Paul Martin's wife for a few years in the early 80s) is never mentioned, and neither is that marriage.

 

Hussey satisfies with some grace what she must know would be a major attraction of her account, namely stories about interactions with actors more famous than herself, such as Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Dean Martin (of course) and Bette Davis (apparently an absolute harridan in her late-life appearance in Death on the Nile). Hussey is not a mean-spirited chronicler; she seems quite self-aware about her own failings, and she does not complain over-much about the truly nasty financial ill luck that attended both her early childhood and her later years, though we can read into her stories about moving from place to place the strain that must have placed on her.

 

There is a section of about 3 dozen photographs, some colour, many of them family, but some from her roles; this section was very well hidden (no chapter heading) in the e-version of the book, and so came as a pleasant surprise at the end of the text. From it, we easily gather that the people around her have been the most important thing in Hussey's life, and also that she has remained into later years remarkably good-looking.

 

Recommended if you like anecdotal film memoirs of the 60s/70s.

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review 2018-10-15 05:51
Good Girl's Bad Lessons (Dirty Debts) by Carmen Falcone
Good Girl's Bad Lessons - Carmen Falcone

 

Falcone is a pro when it comes to setting the senses aflame. She heats up the pages as she lights up the heart with Good Girl's Bad Lessons. What began as a temptation becomes the real deal between a sister and the brother's best friend. Emma and Nico are so wrong for each other, they just may be right for their hearts. Funny, heartwarming and naughty.

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review 2018-10-13 05:48
Girl in Disguise
Girl in Disguise - Greer Macallister

I picked this up because it interested me. A book about the first female Pinkerton detective? A woman that not much is known? (Although much more would have been known had the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 not happened).
I loved this book. Yes, it's based on a real life person. And yes, it's a work of fiction. But, I think the author did the real Kate Warne justice. It showed what a woman had to go through to be able to prove herself, support herself. I found this book uplifting, interesting, and fascinating. What kept this from getting a full-on 5, but I thought too much was packed in the pages. Maybe this would have worked out better had it been 2 or 3 books? I found myself wanting more!
And I will say this- this is what I needed in this day and age of Trump, Kavanaugh, and all that bullshit. A book about a strong, intelligent, and unconventional woman. I'm hoping to enjoy my next read as much as I enjoyed this one. Cheers!

Booklikes Bingo: Terrifying Women

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text 2018-10-10 17:38
So Many Books, So Little Time... Early October 2018 Edition

I think I need an intervention.

 

I love books & reading- always have.  Reviewing is a bonus and the advent of ebooks was a mixed blessing.  As of this moment I have about 30gb of ebooks sitting on an external drive...

 

Not a typo: 30 Gigabytes. And I'm always acquiring more.  

 

Between purchases, giveaways, ARCs, freebies, NetGalley, Kindle listings & promos I've got a TBR pile that would make Sisyphus shake his head and wonder what the fuck was wrong with me.  It's only Wednesday and check out what this week's haul already looks like:

 

37792766

38136877

33898873


AlS
42036782

36995589

7066033
37503259

 

Oh, and did I mention I'm getting ready for NaNoWriMo?

 

...send help... or at least a shitload of coffee.

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review 2018-10-10 04:54
A Really Enjoyable Frightening Thriller
The Girl from the Well - Rin Chupeco

4.5 Japanese ancient myths & horror blend vey well in this modern tale. I am so happy to have found tis author and this series. The characters fit their rolls, they had believable reactions, it was easy to care about them and nobody was TSTL. Ding Ding winner. I already ordered box 2 in the series.

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