25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Touching - But Convenient "Revisionist History",
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This review is from: Both of Us: My Life with Farrah (Hardcover)
After watching the moving video of Fawcett's battle with cancer, I was eagerly anticipating O'Neal's book.
I read it in only 1.5 sittings, despite the book (particularly the first half +) containing clearly beneficial (to the writer) "revisionist history", although the author does outright say at one point that his dates and events are his and he gives leeway for countering versions of the events. I found the opening page alone to not have the ring of truth to it and it takes perhaps 100 pages to come from behind after such a saccharine opening. I would absolutely LOVE to hear from friends and family if this event is a newly offered recollection - or had it been something both O'Neal and Fawcett had previously openly shared, as he said, with a laugh?
However, despite the attempt to bolster the self image, and an effort to minimize personal responsibility in many "watered down" recounts, it's clear that this was a beautiful although troubled union. The love for Fawcett is abundantly clear as are his efforts to portray his parenting as more responsible. I feel that his written words are often, during a tale, are more of a reflection of what he WISHED to be true rather than what may have been more accurate.
He struggles to take responsibility for his participation in often dramatic, chaotic and violent events but his hindsight is "spot on". I found the portions of writing where he ponders if the struggle of the dynamics and incidents with his previous children left her without the "energy reserves" she needed to rely on to win the fight over cancer.
Fawcett comes across as incredibly kind, intelligent and passionate, loving and having incredible intentions. What's true is only known to her immediate friends and family. However, I was spell bound by this amazing "Angel" and over the years have enjoyed reading about her personal life, which sounds pretty balanced in some ways despite the uncontrollable life around her. The passion and love she had for her only son was enormously clear and I respect that. It also feels that had the O'Neal children been less damaged, they too would have been offered this abundant love.
Tragic all around. I suspect that the book will open up further hurts with his children, particularly Tatum, who while trying to get her life together, still struggles with letting the past go. Felt like Ryan O did attempt to reach out at various times, though in his book, you root for him to try harder to to "own" more of this role.
The last 1/3 of the book seems to be more articulately written, could be he became more comfortable with his writing, or perhaps he felt he had unleashed his excuses - or possibly the co-authors had stepped in to wrap up the story. I found myself thinking that his "journals" may have been written more recently than their entry dates. I loved the parallel stories of fellow Hollywood personalities to be interesting and while inserted somewhat at random, they still were fascinating.
I suspect some is not completely dead on correct - but the feelings/emotions of a parent who's children are on a dangerous path are intact, raw and you can sympathize/empathize with him. True also in evaluating their complicated love story.
I'm about to upgrade my stars to 4, as the story really is good, despite some rather interesting portions that seem to have been written to convince himself, and not us as the reader of the validity of circumstances. Someone really should have taken out the corny 1 page "preface" if you will - it undermined the sense of truth from the beginning.
Ok, well, like him or don't like him - it's worth your $ and your time just to read what is important and what is ok to leave behind and move on. His reflections, call them Monday AM quarterbacking are moving and worth taking into consideration when you face something in your own life - parallel or not. We can all walk away with something he's written to make us more receptive to openly working through "stuff" and not deflecting/ignoring it.
It's a wonderful read, even if some of it is wishful/wistful. Enjoy
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 3, 2012 11:59:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2012 11:59:47 AM PDT
I can see you struggled with trying to reconcile various elements of the book with your positive opinion of the writing (which was a ghostwriter, not Ryan's) and the love story he has carefully crafted and this is not meant to denigrate your own rating, which is your opinion. However, I cannot imagine reading this book after having read Tatum's heartbreaking book of an abusive childhood at his hands, watched Farrah's documentary, heard what impartial observers had to say about Ryan's obvious playing to the media during her decline, watching the entire Ryan/Tatum series on OWN and various interviews Ryan has given while he promotes his book. He is an almost unbelievably selfish, neglectful, abusive narcissistic monster who has only "written" this book to benefit from Farrah's death and to try to project himself into the spotlight again. His sick mind may have convinced himself that this fantasy of their love life is real, perhaps to justify how badly he has screwed up everything in his life, most especially his precious children.
In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 10:14:06 AM PDT
I totally agree with you Deborah, i won't wast my money buying this crap! R.I.P Farrah xox
Posted on May 6, 2012 2:10:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2012 4:47:59 PM PDT
James Cannon says:
Take it from someone who knows: this is the perfect review of the book. The book skims the surface and could have been so much more but there is a lot of truth here and self-examination. Nonetheless, ultimately it is Love Story as seen through the eyes of someone who probably wishes things were as he remembers them to have been.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 1:11:06 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 3, 2012 1:11:38 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 1:17:04 AM PDT
At one point do you think His kids should quit blaming him and do something positive with their own life? They sure have not minded taking his money, and yet they continue to bash him! Have you forgotten that Tatum and Griffen did have a depressed, drug addicted mother? Hmmmmm!!! Think about that. I feel if they dont like their Dad then MOVE ON. Their adults and need to quit bashing him in the press. We have all heard their negative bs. Its time to move on. They were very spoiled kids and I think Ryan has owned that.
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