on September 5, 2009
I love Dud Avocado and the Old man and Me and Ms. Dundy's life was purely amazing based on the famous people she knew and befriended alone. There are many anecdotes that I want to remember and lessons too. Stay sober for one, keep working on art, don't give up and love well. There is an enormous, enormous sadness that she does not hesitate to share, she survived to share it with us and if we happen to have similar habits we understand a bit more about what is the right thing to do, in a sense this is a self-help book besides a phenomenal celebrity read. She was befriended by many brilliant artists from the mid-century. I am grateful I made the effort to acquire this book and read it.
on July 29, 2002
I came to this soon after reading "Breaking Clean" so it suffered by comparison. What makes an autobiography into a compelling story is very often the struggle against adversity. It's not Dundy's fault that she was born to inherited wealth but it takes away a vital ingredient. (She never tells us exactly how much money she had, which would have been interesting, although giving uncensored details of her sex life).
She did manage to create some adversity for herself to struggle against, by drinking and drugging and by marrying Kenneth Tynan. The story of the Tynan marriage is the centerpiece of the book. Of course Tynan's writing was a a theater critic and the work of even the greatest theater critic is necessarily ephemeral. He also achieved fame by his personality and was in that category of well-known for being well-known. Her own artistic achievements were three novels, one of which was a brilliant best-seller "The Dud Avocado" and two celebrity biographies (Peter Finch and Elvis Presley).
Aside from the Tynan marriage most of the rest is life-style-of-the-rich-and-famous stuff, with many anecdotes about celebrities she has known that are interesting (and some were very interesting to me) if you are already curious about some of these people. For example she was close to Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and was present at a meeting of Hemmingway and Tenessee Williams.