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Love Affair: The memoir of a forbidden father-daughter relationship: A True Story of Love, Loss and Obsession Paperback – 18 Feb 2010
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Love Affair Leslie Kenton was the only child of Violet, a stunning Hitchcock blonde, and Stanley - the legendary jazz giant Stan Kenton. This memoir presents their story that takes place on the road in 1950s America and in the mania of Hollywood - a world of jazz clubs, dance halls and one-nighters, where lives were lived on a razor's edge. Full description
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Yes, it is an infinitely touching account of the vulnerabilities of a child. But this was an exceptionally attractive and vital child whose vulnerabilities also were extreme - a child assailed by a toxic mix of draconian control and emotional bewilderment, who grew up in an atmosphere of family and personal chaos.
The irony is that she was also a child apparently inheriting the cultural and financial riches of an America newly mobilized for war and the prosperity brought by war. Her father and mother lived out the kind of life that would, to the rest of us, brought up on Hollywood films,a life of enviable glamour and of familiarity with the glamorous and famous.
The child Leslie was embedded for years in this life. Not the least touching element in Leslie's life is her account of the prodigious journeys by car with her parents, as her father drove them from engagement to engagement across the breadth of America while he was establishing himself as a leading musical force.
The weirdness as well as the familiarity (to her) of this existence for a virtually unschooled but exceptionally bright and aware girl is unobtrusively but memorably conveyed.
This, by itself, is an epic story. Much more epic, of course, is the core of the memoir - Leslie's account of her exceptionally intense and then intensely exceptional relationship with her talented, needy, erratic, and addicted father and the consequences of what happened when he responded to her startlingly attractive and luminous beauty. It was a fatal attraction in its way - with profoundly traumatic and almost fatal results. The memoir accounts - with complete understanding and utterly without rancor - how much their relationship was one of love as well as need, of joy as well as grief and despair. It was however a source of such intensity of emotion that the lonely growing child was forced to dissociate from it and repress all conscious memory of it. However it continued unconsciously to disrupt and sabotage her life until she recovered and dealt with the memories of it.
The book is a unique memoir of a unique life yet it is of universal importance. It plumbs the fears, vulnerability, and need for fulfillment which we all live with and offers a glimpse of the possibility of transformation.
It is also about generational family dysfunction and understanding role shifts in our interactions with others.
By writing without a glimmer of bitterness or self-pity, and being at pains never to apportion blame, Leslie challenges us to recognise and embrace the shadow side present in ALL of us.
Only in this way, can true healing finally take place.
This is the uplifting story of how the wounded, suffering human soul can begin to make sense of, and overcome, the horrors of the past. How it can be liberated to soar pure and free, Phoenix-like, from the Ashes of despair.
Love is indeed the `affair' in hand...for only with love can we forgive and forget, break the spell, and lift the family curse.
Meeting the famous from an early age, incest, drugging and abuse by a mad grandmother (possible involvement in MKultra? satanism?), commital and ECT, world travel, involvement in experimental LSD therapy, 4 children by 4 men, Tibetan Buddhism, writing, health broadcasting and fame!
The main theme is Leslie's unbreakable bond with her father and their unique relationship, which despite its very dark side seems to have a great purity about it.
I gave it 4 stars rather than 5 only because Leslie's psychological and philosophical musings get a bit high falutin for me at times, they are very personal to her but might not necessarily speak to the reader as much as they do to her.
A book I looked forward to reading every evening though and I'd recommend it!
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