Most helpful positive review
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Vanquish The Dragons
on 22 November 2013
Anjelica Huston gives us the first half of her life in this book. The title comes from a nursery tale about magpies.
'One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a wedding
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a story lately told'
It seems her life contains all seven. She was born in Los Angeles, and her father,the actor/director John Huston was across the world in Africa making a film 'The African Queen'. Her mother, Enrica Soma, 23 years younger than her husband, gave up her life as a ballerina for the love of John. However, Enrica was John's fourth wife, and he was known as a womanizer. The love of women, drink, adventure and his profession kept him separated from his family most of their lives.
Anjelica tells us of her homes, St. Cleans in Ireland, where her father lived in the big house when he was home, and the family lived in the little house, all the time. She and her brother, Tony, had many wonderful times most of them lonely. They lived in the country, had a nanny or a tutor, and depended upon visits from friends of the family. They did have glorious times with their father when he returned, but he was a stickler for good behavior and manners. He believed in taking chances and competition. Many stories of horse racing and chances taken. Much was expected of Tony and Anjelica, and to live up to their father's needs and wants took a great deal of strength. At some point, Enrica and John separated, but no one told the children. Anjelica and Tony moved to London with Enrica. They entered private school where Anjelica was very unhappy. Soon, Enrica was pregnant with another man's child. He did not want the child, and when Allegra was born she became part of the Huston family. At another time, Anjelica and Tony were introduced to a new brother. John, their father had a son with a woman named Zoe. Danny Huston became a very dear brother to Anjelica, but they did not live together.
The family was disjointed and issues were never discussed, it was thought the children would just accept things as they were. Anjelica's story becomes more alive after the move to London. There were parties, make-up, music, the Beatles, the clothes, and the 60's were part of Anjelica's life. Her teen years are rather muddled and glossed over. She appeared in one of her father's films and received horrible reviews. A tragedy comes upon the family which changed Anjelica's life. She moves to New York, enters life in the fast lane and makes unfortunate love choices.
This book started out with a bang, but became plodding. A young life told by a child. Descriptions of homes, clothes and food are interesting but not telling. The teen years and Abbey Road pick up the story, but there is something missing. To live in a home with a father who comes and goes, with many mistresses, a mother who did the same, must have rendered some form of need, other than picking older lovers, we are left wondering.
This is the first part of Angelica's life, let's hope she opens up in the second half of her life. The writing is at times exquisite and full of life, but like the cool grey that covers the Irish countryside, it fails at times and becomes without much life. All in all, a fascinating look at half a life.
Recommended. prisrob 11-21-13