Monday, December 2, 2013

A Story Best Left Untold

A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New YorkA Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York by Anjelica Huston
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

(This is an ARC that I won in a giveaway. Yes, I asked for this.)

I am so mad at Anjelica Huston. I was a sideline fan of hers all these years. With this book she killed that. I was a fan of her father's and she killed that too.

Well before Anjelica, I was a John Huston fan. As a kid, for me he was Gandalf, having done the voice for the Rankin Bass adaptations of Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Return of the King. I love that man's voice and his imposing figure inspired awe when I saw him in "Chinatown." But then his daughter took that away from me with her autobiography.

…her horrible, horrible autobiography.

To an extent, I knew she was Hollywood royalty, but I didn't realize that in her youth (this book covers from her birth to early adulthood) Anjelica Huston was the Paris Hilton of her day: a vapid, directionless princess.

A Story Lately Told is country estates, servants and nurse maids, "mummy!" and "daddy!" (and later "daddy doesn't love me!"), horseback riding, fox hunts, party frocks and taking tea with the O'Tooles and/or getting sloshy with countless other celebrities. So very little of significance happens that if it wasn't for the few outstanding films her father directed, this whole family could've ceased to exist and the real world would've carried on quite well without them.

Once Huston hit her teens, schooling essentially ended for her. Considering that she skipped out day after day, it's no wonder the writing herein is so bad, with its disjointed paragraphs where each sentence is its own disparate idea. Her dubious understanding of natural science has the reader scratching their head. (A quote or two here would be great, but apparently I'm not allowed to quote from this, it being an ARC, I guess.) To say the least, it needs editing, even more than it's already had, as noted by Huston in the acknowledgments.

It's not that this book is the worst thing ever written. It's not. Huston can string a few beautiful phrases together. In fact I liken this read to walking through an art gallery, one in which the pictures are gorgeous, but there ends their worth. It is filled with a tarnished Rockwell or two and an overwhelming number of Thomas Kinkades. Pretty, all too colorful, and completely void of a deeper meaning.

And apparently there's more to come! Another book is due out soon, which will delve into her acting career. I wish I'd held off and read that one, and never seen this. I hope for Huston's sake, the next book has more substance, that she found there is more to life than modeling and standing in front of cameras. Because there are just too many meaningless, ineffectual stories in A Story…. Edit some out, those many that start promising and go nowhere. Build up the anecdotes of the good ones. If it's not too late, shorten this book up to half its size and combine it with the one on her movie career. We all like a good story, but if you're going to demand everyone's attention, make sure its a good story.

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