23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century (Hardcover)
This is an entertaining read but somewhat flawed on several levels.
Firstly, the book relies heavily on letters sent by Burton to Taylor as well as the former's diary entries. You get little or nothing of the Taylor perspective as we see the relationship through Burtons eyes. We get to learn little of Taylor other than she drank a lot, rowed with Burton and was late on set.
Secondly, there are errors of fact. We're told on several occassions that the crew of the couples boat numbered eight. The picture caption says it had nine.
Taylor is said to have learned to ride at three, then we're told it was five.
The writers tell us that someone tried to tell Burtons wife, Sybil, of the affair with Taylor in May/June of the year of the Cleopatra shoot but that she refused to believe it. We're then told a couple of pages later that Sybil tried to commit suicide in the previous February over the affair. It doesn't add up.
We're also told that Ringo Starr attended Taylors 40th Birthday party in February 1972 with his wife Barbara Bach. That's pretty good going considering that he didn't marry Bach until 1981. In fact, he wasn't even with Bach in 1972.
Thirdly, the book is frustrating at times in it's repetition of facts almost as if it believes the reader isn't smart enough to recall things. For instance, the authors tell us that after the divorce that Burton promised he would go to Taylors side whenever needed. When he does indeed go to Taylors side we're told it's because he promised he would go to Taylors side whenever needed. Err, we know. You told us that two pages ago.
You also have to question some of the research, especially around Burtons death. The book infers that a fight in a Swiss bar in the days before Burtons death may have been a contributory factor in Burtons demise but that John Hurt, who was with Burton, refused to talk about it. What about the Bar owner, what did he see? Was any effort made to track other people who were there in the bar? That's just lazy.
The book is a good read but I wouldn't take it too seriously. It's quite good in its portrayal of the oppulant lifestyle the couple had and to be fair to Burton he comes across as likeable, the drinking not withstanding. Taylor comes across as fairly enigmatic. You'll probably enjoy the book but I suspect its not one to be returned to and the numerous errors suggets that to a certain extent it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The real deal on Taylor Burton is yet to be written but I suspect that until Taylor tells her side, if she ever does, we'll never get the balanced picture.
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Initial post: 6 Jun 2012 19:34:51 BDT
Fm Oshea says:
I have just read this book and I do agree with this reviewer.The love story of our age? Yes I suppose it was, although I had always thought Richard so selfish with the drink when he had taken on Not only Elizabeth but the children also adopted a little girl, you know when I had finished the book I thought it strange that when he was on the wagon and really seemed to be trying desperately to kick the drink she seemed to drag him back to it, still not my affair !?. They were a fascinating pair I felt such a sadness they didn't manage to stay together the book does manage to convey the feeling of love and closeness, I wonder what their kids would say about their life with such a pair was the love obviously felt for them enough.
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