Saturday, August 13, 2011
Book Review: Furious Love
I recently finished one of the best non-fiction books I have read in a very, very long time. The book is called Furious Love and it chronicles the rocky romance of Hollywood royalty, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Diving into the book, I only knew the bare minimum about the famous mega-couple. Growing up, I had often heard references from the media and my parents about "Liz & Dick." I knew their romance and two marriages were considered shockingly scandalous. I knew they fought a lot and drank a lot.
But this book really opened my eyes. I truly had no idea how much their romance rocked the world.
Elizabeth and Richard met and fell in love while filming the epic, financially disastrous Cleopatra in 1960. Both were married to other people at the time.
The scandal created a frenzy that puts Brangelina to shame. The two were bombarded in private and in public by hungry paparazzi and journalists, who were desperate to capture risque photos of the two lovers.
Elizabeth and Richard didn't care about the havoc they caused or the people they hurt. They were completely and utterly in love. They were obsessed with each other. They eventually wed in 1964.
The Vatican condemned the home-wrecking couple, the U.S. Senate tried to pass a law revoking Elizabeth's citizenship, and the Mexican government even tried to prevent the couple from vacationing there because it didn't want the "American trash" to corrupt their beautiful landscape.
But the two remained devoted to each other, despite the bad press. Elizabeth and Richard rearranged their filming schedules so they were never apart. They even filmed numerous movies together, including my personal favorite, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
The luxurious lifestyle these two movie stars shared was absolutely mind-blowing. They jet-setted around the world in private planes and million-dollar yachts. They partied with European royalty and drank champagne like water.
Plus, Richard wouldn't hesitate to spend millions of dollars on sparkling diamonds for his raven-haired bride.
During their decade of marriage, they were the most famous people in the entire world.
Unfortunately, it was a romance between two people who had too much in common. Their alcohol dependency ruined their marriage and almost ruined their lives. Their dramatic, violent fights were also wearing them down.
Although their two marriages didn't last, it was an eternal romance. Furious Love illustrates how underneath the media obsession, Elizabeth and Richard had one of the greatest love stories ever told.
Elizabeth Taylor contributed to this book, before her death, by giving exclusive interviews and also allowing dozens of Richard's love letters to be published. This intimate portrait of two soul mates took my breath away.
Their love was heartbreaking. It was magical. It was real.
I highly recommend Furious Love. In fact, I insist that you pick it up from your local library or bookstore immediately.
You may just fall in love with love.