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The Beauty in the Details
on February 15, 2017
Apart from being a fascinating look into American politics via Patricia Boswell's beloved father, Bartley Crum, a lawyer and political insider active from Roosevelt to the Kennedys, this book illuminates the beautiful and tragic history of a fascinating family. A sensitive, compassionate man who undertook the plight of the underdog in both his high profile and pro bono cases, Mr. Crum was largely unknown, and Ms. Boswell does a magnificent job bringing him to life. But the book is not just about her father.
I am not sure how I missed this one as I try to read everything Patricia Boswell writes. A well-known author of celebrity biographies -- I consider her book on Montgomery Clift to be the gold standard -- I could not take my eyes off the page for one minute when I realized she had written a family memoir of sorts with "Anything Your Little Heart Desires."
Ms. Bosworth has always had an elegant, incisive style and she applies her keen eye here as she describes in loving detail the man who called her "My Masterpiece." I had no idea of the author's other career as an actress and now I will have to rent "The Nun's Story" which I've never seen. I also had no idea of the tragedy of losing the two men in her family to suicide. At points in her story, Ms. Bosworth flails herself for her reaction to these tragedies, saying it is something she will regret to the end of her life. But I believe things work out exactly the way they are supposed to and that her loved ones would not want her to feel any sense of guilt at all.
The cast of characters in this book is impressive and absolutely fascinating to read about, in particular Ms. Bosworth's father and "The Drifter." Her description of this odd man and his involvement in the family was one of my favorite parts. The way he transforms their garden while transforming her mother as well vividly displays Ms. Bosworth's talent for storytelling. Using her mother's notes of the time, the author discovers a whole new side to her mother, surprised at her affection for this usurper of her absent father's chair at the head of the table. The sudden conflagration in their garden when he leaves after realizing her mother has cut him out, put the best of Ms. Bosworth's abilities on display -- combining a reporter's eye with an unerring ability to take common events and give them life and an almost fable-like quality. This makes it easier to see the sometimes humorous irony that goes along with it all.
Congrats to Ms. Bosworth. She paints her subjects so well. The reader feels he really knows them. l, especially liked her mother, a stylish, articulate woman. Nothing is forgotten in this book. Neither the chaos of the big things nor the beauty in the details.
Five Stars. Great Read!