"Furious Love" -- My impressions of the first two chapters

I have been allowing myself to wallow in the newly released Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century. Now, I have a sick fascination with this couple...not because I think that they had a healthy relationship or anything (which they certainly did not), but because they were so unapologetic, so outrageous...and so amazingly talented both on their own and together. Much of their desire for one another was dangerous...and, by some, could even be viewed as humiliating or demeaning. I am not going to make a judgment on those issues because what attracts two people together is often unconventional or dangerous or demeaning. (Again, I am not endorsing such things...I am merely stating that it is a fact that is much more complex than how Freud or some modern psychologists may wish to classify it.)

My first impressions of this book: Well, I have heard that there are some inexcusable fact-checking errors. I don't know about this, as I am horrible with memorizing facts. However, I will say that on the level of composition, there is some poor editing. I am only through the first two chapters and there are so many instances of repetition.

That being said: the book is important because Taylor cooperated with the writers, and the letters and some of the stories included are from her collection. I remember my mother loving an interview (perhaps with Barbara Walters?) where Taylor, when asked to reveal memories of her relationship with Burton, replied something to the effect of: "They were good memories, but they are MY memories."* The possession of Taylor over Burton (even in death) is obvious in this book as well. They fed off of one another, sometimes unhealthily, sometimes unwillingly. But they did give each other a type of confidence and purpose. (An example of that unflinching confidence that took place: Eddie Fisher called home only to have Richard answer the phone. When Eddie asked Richard what he was doing there, Richard replied: "What do you think I am doing? I am fucking your wife." (27).) The first two chapters of the new book show the beginnings of an intense relationship based on attraction, need, and addiction. Neither was completely stable, both were alcoholics before meeting one another, and they meshed addiction to alcohol with addiction to each other.

Like I said, lots about this relationship is screwed up. However, I do think that it is too simplistic to write off their relationship as completely related to addiction. Anyway, will be updating as I go along.

*Note: The interview is from Larry King...it is actually cited in the book.


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