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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2014
I usually avoid celebrity biographies but this looked promising: you'd expect the actress/model daughter of legendary film director John Huston to have some colourful tales to tell, and it's had good reviews.
It's the first book in what looks like a series, and deals with the philandering, self-obsessed lifestyles of her extraordinary parents and their wealthy and arty friends, which resulted in a childhood of benign neglect for Anjelica in a grand house in rural Ireland. When they split up she moved to London, and it ends with her going to L.A. in 1973 after her mother's death.
It's an easy read and she can certainly write, but I was disappointed: it's not one of those tell-all, gossipy memoirs that sets out to entertain, yet it's not particularly thoughtful or revealing, either. She relates all the facts, there's a lot of description of meals eaten, horses ridden, rooms decorated and outfits worn, and there's all the name-dropping you'd expect - by the end of the sixties she was mixing with the likes of Mick Jagger and David Bailey in swinging London.
But it's all too superficial to be very engaging, and I didn't feel I'd got to know her by the end. When it comes to emotion, she seems determined to be nonchalant, and you wonder whether she's afraid to let her guard down. There's very little analysis of why her parents acted as they did and of what she really felt about it. And if she ever wondered whether the modelling career and the famous friends she came by so easily were down to her surname and connections, she never lets on. (Though, to be fair, she was very striking in her day, nothing like the Dame Edna Everage lookalike of the recent tv series Smash).
Two minor quibbles: she must have thousands of photographs, and it's a shame that there aren't more in this book. And doesn't the nursery rhyme go: seven for a story never to be told ...?
But I'll definitely look out for the next volume which is bound to have a starring role for her famous ex Jack Nicholson, my big 1970s crush - that can't fail to be more entertaining, surely?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2015
I really wanted to like this. Who could forget her turn in The Grifters and The Witches - career highs abutting one another, albeit some 25 years ago now? And her contacts (well, her famous director daddy's contacts).

Maybe that's the problem. So many fantastic people passed through the revolving door of Angelica's social diary, right back to her childhood, that she fell into the trap of expecting them. And there are so many, our glimpses are tantalisingly cursory.

Model, actress, money, fame (initially by association) and more heaps up at her door, yet she does have a habit of occasionally making this reader feel it was so tough on a girl that I should down book and share a collective sigh. I guess there are just too many 'who cares?' moments.

On the plus side, she 's picked up that rich, lyrical way with words often associated with Irish writers (she's not, but the family seem to have wholeheartedly embraced the behavioural vagaries of the rural aristocracy during its tenure in County Galway), even if it does on occasion veer toward the fey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2015
For me this book really came to life firstly when she lived in London and secondly when she sees her father John.So much of what she says about London is quite accurate.She uses a lot of English slang words.
when she meets her famous father you never know whether she is going to laugh or cry.
However I have to say I was totally disinterested in her tales of her career as a model or this infuriating habit of describing every room she had ever lived in.Also there was rather too much detail about her dysfunctional lover whom she finally leaves at the end of the book.It is as if she is seeking our pity when all you can think is why she put up with him so long.
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on 4 January 2014
I am not often compelled to write reviews however , this book is marvelous !!
A perfect insight into a bygone era .A terrific mix of rural life and glamour of fashion and film.
It is well written and yes I acknowledge that there might be many names dropped but it gives you a insight as to what it would have been like being brought up in the same house as the most celebrated director of his day John Huston.
A personal perspective and a must for any film fan!! Just cannot wait for the second part of her life story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2014
I was expecting a really interesting read but found this a muddled account of her life. Interesting to a point but not very well written.
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on 18 February 2014
I enjoyed reading this book very much. She is a great writer and her descriptions of places is excellent as is her memory. I found myself saying I will just read one more chapter but that proved impossible so I just kept reading. When she wrote about her mother’s death is was heartbreaking in it’s honesty. I am looking forward to the continuation of her story.
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on 9 January 2014
Angelica has had an amazing life.this is the first half of her story.her amazing memory for places and people she has met on her journey is told in an easy reading fashion..the amazing homes she has been brought up in..along throughout with her father John Huston..not always an easy relationship for her..a great read
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on 19 March 2014
What a life Angelica has led and not all good. There was a bit of behign neglect I would say although her parents sound like real characters. This is a book you pick up and won't put it down until you finish it (and it won't take long).
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on 6 February 2014
I really only picked this up because it had had a good review in my copy of The Week but I have to say it was thoroughly engrossing and I look forward to reading her next biography (this one only covers her earl life).
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