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A Love Affair To Remember,
This review is from: Love Affair: The memoir of a forbidden father-daughter relationship: A True Story of Love, Loss and Obsession (Paperback)
As much as anything, this is s story of a journey from darkness to light - of how an intelligent, lonely, sensitive, vulnerable child - beautiful and full of feeling - endured the extremes of pain and grief (as well as ecstasy) to arrive a a kind of transcendence - a resolution of the traumatic past into and affirmation of love and faith in life.
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.