A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New Yorkby Published 19 Nov 2013
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Writing with an exuberant love of language and detail, Anjelica Huston shares her enchanted childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in New York.
Living with her glamorous and artistic mother, educated by tutors and nuns, intrepid on a horse, Huston was raised on an Irish estate to which—between movies—her father brought his array of extraordinary friends, from Carson McCullers and John Steinbeck to Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando. Every morning, Anjelica and her brother visited their father while he took his breakfast in bed. “What news?” he’d ask. “I’d seen him the night before,” Anjelica recalls. “There wasn’t much to report.” So she became a storyteller.
In London, where she lives with her mother and brother in the early sixties when her parents separate, Huston encounters the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. She understudies Marianne Faithfull in Hamlet. Seventeen, striking, precocious, but still young and vulnerable, she is devastated when her mother dies in a car crash.
Months later she moves to New York, falls in love with the much older, brilliant but disturbed photographer Bob Richardson, and becomes a model. Living in the Chelsea Hotel, working with Richard Avedon and other photographers, she navigates a volatile relationship and the dynamic cultural epicenter of New York in the seventies.
A Story Lately Told ends as Huston launches her Hollywood life. The second part of her story—Watch Me—opens in Los Angeles in 1973 and will be published in Fall 2014. Beguiling and beautifully written, Huston’s memoir is a treasure.
A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York Reviews
Lots of names and events. Nothing of how she felt during any of it.
Anjelica Huston was an American fashion model before she became an actor and director. Huston won a best actress Oscar for 'Prizzi's Honor' and received Academy Award nominations for 'Enemies, A Love Story' and 'The Grifters.'
In this first book of her autobiography Huston tells tales starting with her childhood in Ireland and England.....up to her young womanhood in New York City. Born in 1951, Huston had colorful parents, the former beautiful ballerina Enrica Soma and the larger than life director John Huston - and met large numbers of the rich and famous. In fact Huston mentions so many people - friends, acquaintances, neighbors, nannies, teachers, crushes, models, photographers, actors, actresses, directors, etc. - that they become blended together in a confusing swirl of names.
The book also seems more like a detailed list of activities - fox hunting, partying, skiving off school, moving, modeling - than a comprehensive life story. We do get a feel for the love Huston's mom bestowed on her children and for the fun and hardships that come with having John Huston - a hard-drinking womanizer and gambler who was often away directing films - for a dad.
The story gets more interesting when Anjelica becomes a fashion model in her late teens and hooks up with the mentally ill photographer Bob Richardson for a four year romance. I'm hoping the second volume of the biography, when Huston becomes a famous actress and has a long-term romance with Jack Nicholson, is more of a comprehensive biography.
You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
This memoir is dreadfully boring. I suppose if a reader wanted to read a catalog of furniture, artwork and estates and then a list of artists/actors who frequented your home, they may find this interesting, but I was not impressed. How did this get published?
I have adored Anjelica Huston’s acting since I saw her play the Grand High Witch in the film The Witches. I found her presence to be mesmerizing and I still feel the same way about her. Also, for some reason I have always imagined her to be very cerebral. She just gives off this worldly, learned vibe.
I was both excited and apprehensive when I found out she wrote a memoir. I’m not very good at separating art and artist. Because of how I feel about Anjelica I was worried that her memoir would change my perceptions of her.
The memoir is a mess. It is poorly organized, some might say vaguely chronologically. It jumps from anecdote to anecdote without any link or transition. She just tells you one story after another. Often these stories were just descriptions of all the furniture, art, and other stuff that could be found in a room or which celebrities/important people were at a party and what they were wearing. It was really disappointing when she’d get to a deep, formative moment and immediately end it and move on.
Reading this was a very scatterbrained experience, as if she was just having tea with an old friend and reminiscing. When you reminisce with a friend, you don’t always need to go into detail, explore themes, or get into how these events affected you because the friend generally knows these things. The stories individually were interesting (who doesn’t want to know the kind of things Hollywood Royalty grows up with!?) but without any substantial formative context they felt very flat and disjointed. Unfortunately, what was probably an extremely interesting and unique coming of age experience comes across as superficial and directionless. Basically, Anjelica Huston is a Tenenbaum.
I think the worst part of it all is that this memoir only covers Anjelica’s life into her early twenties. She is working on part two I guess. This memoir is a casualty of Yes People and poor editing. Someone needed to tell Anjelica no (cut this, talk more about this, keep focused…) and encourage her to finish it as a whole, single entity. I have trouble believing the publishers just couldn’t wait for her to publish this half memoir.
That being said, I will definitely read the second half because I want to hear more anecdotes about her life in Hollywood (when stuff gets really interesting). What I learned from this memoir is probably more than Anjelica intended but less than I’d wanted, but that seems the case with most memoirs anyway.
I didn't think I would enjoy this memoir as much as I did. I thought I had nothing in common with a movie star that lead a charmed life in Ireland, London, and New York. My parents weren't famous, but being the same age as the author I knew I had lived this same life only on a different scale.
I highlighted what made me realize girls growing up in the 50's 60's & 70's had so much in common.
Here's what I loved most about this book
Catholic. Holy Communion.Phenobarbital.Veils.Dad lifted me up to his shoulders.Blue Grass.Ankle socks.Penny loafers.Long silver needle.Tortoise shell combs.Catechism.Lily of the Valley.Collect mushrooms.We fell in love with the Beatles.Confirmed alcoholic.Roll our skirts up at the waist. Cracked Max Factor compact.Mary Quant lip gloss.Coca-Cola.Dad criticized the way I dressed.The Rolling Stones,esp Mick & Keith.Pattie Boyd.Jane Fonda.Cila Black.Marianne Faithful.Sandalwood.Patchouli.Anita Pallenberg.Jane Asher.Fresh baked apples.False eyelashes and a Fall.Joint was passed.Hypnotic tuberose.Going to go & live somewhere else.Drug addicts.Crazies.Artists.Poets.Transvestites.Out of body experience.'Lay Lady Lay.'Astronauts landed on the moon.Lancer's Rose.Woodstock.Ritchie Havens.A thousand cockroaches.Hashish.Groovy.John Lennon cap.Falling asleep to the motion of the train.Amphetamine.Ali McGraw.Bottle of Tequila.I got a suntan. And best of all Lying in my father's arms.
I hope you enjoy these memories as much as I have.