I had to give this a specific MIND FOCK tag because… It was just that (And I mean that in a really good way.)
For those who know me, they know that when it comes to books I only do non fiction. I am a biography/ autobiography/memoir kind of girl.
It was about 6 years ago that I read Ava Gardner’s first book… “AVA My Story.” When I read it, it became one of my favorite books. Reading her words was like…. hmm let me paint the picture. You know that one relative who gets drunk and winds up cussin and telling you stories, and your mom keeps telling you to go to bed because you shouldn’t be listening to that sort of stuff, but you sneak downstairs, and listen? Well… that was Ava’s book. My god. I loved it. Never did I read a book that I was so connected to (even Lena’s) The stories we so down to earth, and funny and heart breaking… they were just so REAL.
When I heard a new book was being released on Ava, I was like SIGN ME UP! I waited with baited breath. When it was released it took me 2 days to complete it. I could not put it down. I wasn’t sure how this book could beat the other one but it did. Ava Garnder (The Secret Conversation) was exactly the scenario I painted earlier, except this time you are shoveling your drunk relative with more drinks and begging them to tell you more.
The book which was the beginnings of a memoir/ autobiography was a collaboration between Ava Gardner and writer Peter Evans. From the beginning Ava makes it known that she only wanted to write the book because she needed money. It was 1988 when they began their collaboration, and it was 2 years after Ava suffered a massive stroke. Ava Gardner once called (and rightfully so) The most beautiful woman in the world, had reached a delicate point in her life. Many of her friends had passed away, and long gone were her Hollywood hay days, and men breaking their backs to get to her. She had become a sort of recluse in an apartment in London… and so the book begins. When I say…. never have I experienced something so authentic… I mean it. God, I would have loved to know that lady… how could you not want to hang out with Ava Gardner? She uses the word fuck more than Tarantino, cusses like a sailor and speaks with a such an liberated ease, you cannot help but love her. Without giving away too much of the book, I just want to share some of highlights… aside from all the fucks, fucking, bitches, son of a bitches, bullshits, bastards, honeys and baby’s.
1. “Life is what happens when the crows feet are fucking up your looks. That’s what Lana Turner said..And Lana has a story and a name for every god damned wrinkle in her face.”
2. “Loosing your looks hurts god damnit, it hurts like a son of a bitch. Pretty soon there’s not going to be any corn in Egypt.”
3. “For Christs sake honey” (she says this at the end of almost every sentence.)
4. “I used to run every morning to get rid of a hangover. “
5. “I was a sassy little bitch.”
6. “I know I can be a bitch sometimes… fucking most of the time.”
7. Peter: “Are you trying to pick a fight with me?
Ava: ” Of course I am, fighting’s fun.”
8.” It’s my life, I’ll remember it the way I want to.”
9. (After reading drafts of Peters chapters, and referring to herself in the 3rd person.) “Why does she have to swear all the fucking time, it makes her sound like a god damned tramp.”
10. “Not drinking fucks up my head worse than a hangover honey. I can feel my mortality.”
11. (her reaction to a boring party) “It was like watching a drunk count his change.” (I’M USING THAT)
The book which began in 1988 wound up never happening. After Ava and Peters constant working on the book, it turns out Frank Sinatra had a lawsuit against BBC and Peter Evans in the 1970’s. When Ava told Frank, Peter was writing the book he was furious. It is rumored that Frank offered to give Ava whatever money the publishers were offering to put Ava and Peters working relationship to an end. All work on the book ceased. Instead Ava began working with another writer and with that “AVA: My Story” was released.
Peter contacted Ava shortly after their working relationship ended to check in on her to make sure she was still alive, she told Peter when she died… or in Ava’s words “pushing clouds around” she would send a sign. And on January 25th 1990 she did just that… an oak tree crashed through Peters writing room. Ava passed away at 67 years old. She also joked that once she was gone the book could be published.
In 2009 Peter decided to revisit his conversations with Ava. Then in 2012 he sat down to finish the last chapters, yet he passed away. This book is the result of Ava and Peters working relationship and over 40,000 words of Ava’s recorded audio.
I recommend if you want a treat… READ THIS BOOK! I know it will definitely be a reread for me.