Unraveling Anne

Unraveling Anne

by Laurel Saville

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After all, this is my mother we’re talking about. As her daughter, I belonged to her; as my mother, she also belongs to me. I don’t have her anymore, but I still have her story.

In 1950s Los Angeles, Anne Ford was the epitome of the California golden girl, a former beauty queen and model-turned-fashion designer whose success and charm were legendary. So how is it possible that such a woman could die in squalor, an alcoholic street person brutally murdered in a burnt-out West Hollywood building?

In searching for answers to the heartbreaking trajectory of her mother’s life, writer Laurel Saville plumbed the depths of Anne’s troubled past and her own eccentric childhood to untangle the truth of an exceptional, yet tragic, existence. What she discovered was a woman who was beautiful, well-educated, and talented—yet tormented by internal demons and no match for the hedonistic culture of Southern California in the 1960s and 70s.

With unflinching honesty and stirring compassion, Saville struggles to reconcile the two faces her mother presented the world: the glamour-girl-about-town the public saw and the unpredictable, bitter alcoholic her children knew. Most importantly, Saville explores how what we bring forward from previous generations can shape our own lives, and how compassion and love for a difficult parent can be a person’s bridge to a better life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612180854
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

In addition to Unraveling Anne, Laurel Saville is the author of four books, numerous feature articles, and many short stories and essays. She earned an MFA in creative writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has taught a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. She lives and works in the Mohawk River Valley of upstate New York. To learn more about Laurel and her newest book, visit www.LaurelSaville.com and www.unravelinganne.com.

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Unraveling Anne 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laurel Saville was raised by an alcoholic mother, one whose hands-off parenting style left Laurel largely to herself. In this book Lauren looks back at her life and the life of her mother in an attempt to come to terms with her childhood. I found this book extremely hard to read. It seems more like a therapy session than a story. There was no cohesive time-line in the book and the author ranted on and on about her horrible childhood. Overall, I thought it was self-indulgent and unreadable.
PamelaBarrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laurel¿s memoir reminds me again that non fiction can sometimes be way more intriguing than fiction. In Unraveling Anne she revisits her childhood to understand her mother, Anne Ford, a Southern California beauty who was an artist and fashion designer in the 1960¿s and 1970¿s. Anne¿s spiral down into alcoholism and mental illness ends when she is homeless and brutally murdered in a burnt-out run down home she once owned. Laurel recreates her childhood memories about the chaos and emotional confusion of living with a parent losing touch with reality. The constant moving, the endless parties, and the dangerous situations her and her brothers found themselves in. So in the beginning, tentatively, she wonders how much to tell, and then realizes that her path to wholeness is part of the telling. In order to do that she disassembles parts of her mothers life, trying to find out if the stories she told her of her younger days were true: did she really date Marlon Brando? As she started writing this book, the family that could have helped her has mostly died, and the few that remain are dealing with their own issues, so she searches with the fragments she has: her mother¿s artwork and art collection by then unknown artists, historical documents about her family, and her own memories of the people who traipsed through her childhood. Be cautioned: there are many parts that are gritty, and coarse language is used in some parts. Even with that, I think this is an important book for those of us who had parents that were alcoholic, drug addicted or mentally unstable. Good insight into the process of understanding, and making peace with your past. Also an interesting book for artists and those involved with art history. This is an AmazonEncore published book, and I read it through the Vine program.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Books about surviving crazy mothers are pretty common in the memoir world - crazy fathers are out there in plenty, too. I've read many of these and put many of them down because they were just so very bleak. I half-expected to be unable to get through Unraveling Anne - imagine my surprise when I read through to the end and was glad of it.For many the sixties has a rosy, fuzzy glow over it - all love-ins and beads and flowers in the hair and dancing the patchouli hippy dance in the park. No one wants to remember the many casualties of the time - people who really really needed the structure they rejected.Laurel Saville tells an honest and very sad story about growing up with one of the casualties. Anne Ford, former beauty queen, model, and fashion designer, transformed herself from a success with many friends in the art world to a swollen alcoholic corpse lying in the remains of her burnt out house. The story is awful, but familiar and compelling. Ms. Saville is very methodical in her approach and it is this step-by-step dissection that compels. I found the lives of both women interesting and sad and I was left wanting to know more. In some ways I'm realizing that I want all books like this to be less The Liar's Club by Mary Karr and more James Ellroy's My Dark Places. Ms. Saville is somewhere in the middle, but that's okay. She tells her own story and her mother's story in her own way and it touched me. Not a comfortable read, but a good one.
lahochstetler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laurel Saville survived a tumultuous childhood, trying to manage her mother's abuse, neglect, and addictions. Anne Ford, Saville's mother, was a model, artist, and fashion designer. She spent her time socializing and partying with avant garde artists in the family's Hollywood home. Saville and her brother were left to find their own way and to fend for themselves. Laurel, in particular, feels the brunt of her mother's abuse and temper tantrums. After her mother's death, with the security of adulthood to support her, Saville is able to learn more about her family, and about her mother's past. She learns that her grandparents were not necessarily the people she believed them to be. She learns about some of the pressures her mother faced growing up. Despite all this, I found it hard to have sympathy for Anne. Her treatment of her children was inexcusable. This was not an easy book to read. It is hard to watch Saville constantly subjected to her mother's tirades. Anne is decidedly an unfit parent. I wish that there was some sort of greater good that came out of this story, but in the end it is the tale of a decidedly unacceptable parent and the children who suffered.
DubaiReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rather irratic chronology.I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been written more chronologically. The first half, in particular, is a bit jumbled, but events did start to fall into place by the end, giving a more rounded view of Anne Ford's life.However, the book is not just about Anne, it is also about her daughter, Laurel, the author, and others whose lives were directly affected by Anne's day to day behaviour. Laurel and her brother brought themselves up, learning to cook and clean the house at a very early age. As young as 9 and 10 they were clearing up after their mother's drunken parties while she recovered from the previous night's hangover.Anne Ford also squandered Laurel's inheritance from her father, a considerable sum.I felt for Laurel, trying to understand her own background, and I could see why she had shut herself off from it for so many years. She had made a go of her life, while her mother had squandered all her benefits. Sadly this seems to have been a common problem amongst the youth that Anne Ford mixed with, although some did go on to become famous actors and artists.The veiwpoint of Anne's cousin, Alice, was a good balance to Laurel's understanding of her mother. Alice had known Anne when she was young, beautiful and vivacious and still had a good word to say for her, which was refreshing.There isn't any clarity about what actually happened in Anne's final days, probably because no-one really knows, but I was left feeling that the story wasn't quite complete.The subject matter reminded me of Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters, which was a fascinating read. Unfortunately Unraveling Anne didn't grab me in quite the same way and I didn't really end up with a clear picture of how a wealthy, intelligent, beautiful young woman could end up dying in squalor.A sad tale, that could have been more readable if it hadn't jumped about in time so much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago