This book was amazing. It is one of the best autobiographies I've read. It had me crying and laughing at the amazing and complicated life led by this woman. There is so much here it's really hard to write a coherent review. Anneke is a very interesting person whose led a very unusual life. She chronicles it here with openness and honesty. From her life as an actress, mother and wife in the 60s the second volume of her autobiography finds her living in the country in Norfolk. She travels alone to India and learns about meditation and becomes a disciple of Bhagwan. She travels around the world living in communities and communes, making a living for herself through her art, interior design, gardening and house cleaning. She presents such a huge measure of contradictions, anger, peace, tragedy and happiness. It is one of the most touching and real books that I've read.
If like me you were left on tenterhooks at the end of Self Portrait - the first volume of Anneke Wills' biography - then the publication of Naked was long-awaited.
Picking up when the first volume left off with the whole family upping sticks and moving to Norfolk, the conversational style which made the original so hard to put down continues. Country life though is just as unpredictable and as complex even far removed from the Swinging Sixties London, which was one of the draws of Self Portrait.
Trying to find her way through her marriage and find some peace in her life Anneke leads you through her quite invigorating journey of self-discovery. I felt quite astonished at the bravery of this woman who never gives up. Keeps on moving forward, whether she's alone, living as a hermit on the other side of the planet from her friends and children. Or in various communities of similar-minded individuals.
Like the first volume she shares with you her frustration with some of the people in her life. How can they treat someone like that? But she doesn't overly dwell on these experiences and just tells her stories and carries on. Even through some horrendus heartbreaks she now conveys a sense of calm acceptance which quite moved me. Devestating though they are. She's come to terms with them and let them shape her life in a positive way.
Anneke's vitality, wit and determination continue to shine through and I had much the same conundrum as reading Self Portrait. I stopped reading for a while because I didn't want there to be nothing more to read. Of course eventually I had to accept that sitting experiencing her discoveries, tragedies and comedies should end in her own way.
For the Who fans, the familiar names return near the end of the book. Whether they be actors or some of the "fan glitterati". Bemused at first, Anneke of course takes it all in her stride.
Tom Baker said of the first volume and its author "A brave person and a brave book." The second book is just as brave.
The sixties pop-culture is replaced with a journey of self-discovery that is making me look at my own life in a new light.
I suspect shortly this will be as difficult to get hold of as Self-Portrait. So grab it while you can folks, because if you've read volume one,(and if not why not?) you won't want to miss this.
As her journey continues, her children grow up, she moves on in her ever changing life. Many imagine taking off and following their dreams, Anneke was brave enough to do it. Not all may agree with what she did and how she did it. Going of to an Ashram, marriages of convenience, picking up sticks and moving on when the mood takes her but you will find it hard not to want to find out what happened when she did!
Throughout you find yourself admiring her courage and strength of conviction, her honesty with herself and those around her.
Filled with wonderful photographs, this book takes you on a journey of person looking for and I think ultimately, finding herself.
Even if you have not heard of Anneke Wills, this is a beautiful and at times heartbreaking story of one woman's life. You find yourself hoping there will be a part three.
Having read and enjoyed "Self Portrait" I was eagerly waiting this, the second volume of Anneke Wills autobiography. I wasn't disappointed. She has led an extraordinary life and has developed an equally extraordinary attitude.
As in the first volume, there are quite a few famous names mentioned but this is no celebrity "Look who I've met" story. The famous people Miss Wills mentions all have a reason to be mentioned. She seems to collect people as she travels the world and somehow retains friendships across oceans and continents.
A minor quibble is that the text was obviously checked using a spell checker as there are a few instances of wrong words appearing which I only mention as the writing is so excellent that these stand out more than they would in a lesser work. I would have liked a few more date checks, as when dates are mentioned it gives a reference point. I found myself comparing and contrasting what I was doing at the dates that are mentioned.
Like another reviewer I did struggle a bit with the section covering her years in the Ashram. But it says something for Anneke's style and personality that I was never tempted to simply skip ahead at any point.
Towards the end there is a jaw dropping revelation picking up an unfinished story from "Self Portrait".
As the story comes more up to date there is a strong feeling of reaching the end of a long journey with a remarkable travel guide. When I reached the last few pages I felt a genuine sadness that the journey was soon to finish. If you want to read an autobiography that has something new, interesting and ultimately uplifting to say - choose these two volumes.
Its hard to pin down WHY I did not enjoy this, Anneke's second volume of autobiography, as much as the first ("Self Portrait"). It may be the emphasis on her "seeking herself" with eastern religions, or a slight feeling of "tiredness" by the author herself. Still, it IS worth reading for a view of the sixties, seventies and eighties, but I will add that, as a straight guy, I STILL think that her first husband needed a couple of hefty thumps with a heavy frying-pan!!