From Publishers Weekly
Life outdoes movie melodrama in this raucous, intimate, dual biography of Hollywood's ultimate It Couple. As told by journalist Kashner (Sinatraland
) and biographer Schoenberger (Dangerous Muse: The Life of Caroline Blackwood
), the romance between the glittering Tinseltown diva and the sonorous, self-loathing Shakespearean reprises their co-starring movie roles: it has the passion of Cleopatra
(the Vatican condemned their on-set adultery as erotic vagrancy), the riotous merriment of The Taming of the Shrew
, the poisonous marital fights of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
and a cast of thousands of paparazzi and shrieking fans. The well-researched narrative—the authors make good use of Burton's engaging love letters and diary entries—offers juicy details of his epic alcoholism and her towering tantrums, and is fascinated with the jewelry pieces, like the Taj Mahal diamond that Taylor famously extracted from Burton as tribute or penance. But from the binges and bling emerges a revealing portrait of the magnetic qualities—her vulgar warmth, his soulful virility—that glued the couple together. Here is that rare love story that holds one's interest beyond the wedding—and a reminder, after the thin gruel of Brangelina, of what a feast celebrity can be. Photos. (June 1)
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Offering up "Brangelina" as the 21st century's lackluster answer to "Liz and Dick," critics likened the contemporary pair to I Love Lucy
's Fred and Ethel Mertz. Those unfamiliar with "the brawling Burtons" will find juicy anecdotes in abundance here, but Furious Love
rises above mere celebrity gossip by humanizing the mythic couple, taking readers deep into their A-list world of conspicuous consumption and private pain. Despite some repetitive, cliché-ridden prose, reviewers were still captivated by this powerful portrait of doomed love. Less successful, they noted, were the authors' attempts to connect Hollywood's emerging celebrity culture to the relationship, ceaselessly scrutinized by the tabloids. An "addictive page-turner" (Providence Journal
), Furious Love
is a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the most tempestuous romances of the 20th century.