Furious Love: Chapters 12.5 through the end

It should be noted that there are several more chapters of the book. I have decided not to post in detail about the chapters remaining for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that I think that they are not well done. I am both relieved and sad to end the book (as I am sure some readers of the blog are relieved that I am ending this series of posts...but these people will just have to deal with it...this is my blog). :)

I found the ending of the book rushed, incomplete, and lacking the depth and dignity that I found in other moments. If anything, the end of a relationship needs more analysis than the beginning--and there is so much more to say here. Who knows...maybe Taylor will say it one day...or maybe she already has something written. Or maybe, as perhaps she would want, she will take it to the grave. It is her decision. And she doesn't owe anyone anything. I was horrible about marking quotes in preparation for this post, but the authors printed something she said about owing explanations to the public when it came to her career, but, as for private matters, her only responsibility was to those directly involved with her. And that is absolutely right--for all of us. More celebrities and politicians and, well, just people in general should take note of that belief.

The rest of Chapter 12 was just as painful as the beginning of Chapter 12. Along with an especially well-captured moment in chapter fifteen, this was the most meaningful chapter to me, but it was the most painful to read. And that is all I will say.

Chapters 13 through the end reveal the almost constant drunkenness, cheating, and pain each tried to inflict upon the other (and those who they took along with them). Both married other people, as we all know, but Elizabeth and Richard obsessively kept in touch in long phone calls, reuniting for plays and parties (makeups, breakups, second marriages, etc). When married to other people, Richard would talk about Elizabeth and long for her (obviously making his wives uncomfortable). Elizabeth would say something to the effect of: "After Richard, all of the men were just company." (Sorry, too tired to find the citation page.) Revealed in the "Epilogue" is the content (not the text, thank God) of his last letter to Elizabeth, mailed a couple of days before he died at age fifty-eight. Supposedly, this letter has been "by her bedside ever since" (as it was delivered after his death) and is a request to come "home" because "[h]ome was where Elizabeth was" (438).

There are many incredible letters included in these chapters, letters sent by Richard even though he was married to other women, divorced from Elizabeth at the time. They are beautiful and painful--and they deserved better treatment, in my opinion, than they received in these final chapters.

So, my final assessment of all of this is that the book is worth the read. It is filled with amazing passion and words--when they are expressed by those who were directly involved. The editing is not so great. The prose is repetitive (as am I...because I have already said this in other posts). Still, I am glad that the book has been written. To have Richard Burton's own voice being heard through these very private letters is a hopeful and a painful thing--but it is gorgeous.

In a letter written shortly after their first divorce, Richard said:

"It may very well be that this is [the] last time that your last name be, in my presence I mean, the same as mine, but I bet you the impossible bet that when I am on my last bed and nearing the eternal shore that the words Elizabeth Elizabeth Elizabeth BURTON will be on my lips." (378)

The death of Richard Burton is yet another example of a life shut down by alcoholism. Taylor didn't escape unscathed, of course, but at least she did receive treatment. She was denied the right to attend Burton's funeral and memorial service (though was re-invited to another in a round about way, but could not make it in time as the invite was overseas by Burton's wife and came only 24 hours before the service), though she did go to the grave site.

It is obvious that their relationship was both excruciatingly passionate and devastatingly horrific. The title of this book is the most perfect thing about it. Yet I end this posting as I began it: at least they had the bravery to go through with it.

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