Welcome to a potpourri of fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by A Few More Pages; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.
To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.
Give us the book title and author, so when we’re tempted by your excerpts, we can read it too!
Today I am featuring a book from next week’s stack: an ARC from Amazon Vine called Unraveling Anne, by Laurel Saville. A memoir of a mother, written by her daughter.
Blurb: “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.
Beginning – Prologue:
The word always gets repeated. Sometimes the whole sentence. “Your mother was murdered?” As if I could get something like that wrong. As if I could be mistaken.
Beginning – Chapter One:
This is one of my earliest memories.
It is 1968. Or maybe 1969. My mother and I are on our way home from my half day of kindergarten, walking west down the eight or nine blocks of Sunset Boulevard between Gardner Street Elementary School and our house on the corner of Fairfax Avenue. The midday sun is high, reflecting off the white concrete, the white stucco buildings, the smoggy particles in the air. My mother loves this temperature, this dissipated light, so distinct to Southern California. I find it an affront, a glary, squint-inducing assault.
Yes, that’s a bit lengthier than the typical two sentence opening lines. I had to present the whole description for the “feel” of the opener.
P. 56: From time to time, the gathering would be at a park where hundreds or maybe thousands of people collected for what was called, in the parlance of the time, a “love-in.”
I’m eager to read this one, as I love memoirs…especially about a time in history that feels quite real to me.
What did you choose today? I hope you’ll come on by and share….