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Unraveling Anne

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  547 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
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 burned-out West Hollywood building? In searching for answers to the heartbreaking trajec ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by AmazonEncore (first published May 10th 2011)
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E.B. Loan
Jan 22, 2012 E.B. Loan rated it really liked it
If you were a child of alcoholic parents, you really need to read this book. If you are the grown child of a mentally unstable parent, you really need to read this book. If you like to look inside others rough experiences and thank God that you never had to live through such events...yep, you guessed it, you will love this book.
Laurel Saville does an excellent job taking the reader to haunted corners of living with an unstable parent, sparing the reader nothing. She gives you the raw, gritty tr
Jan C
May 25, 2012 Jan C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I'll try this again - my comnputer decided I didn't want to write a review.

I remembered Anne Ford - or at least her name.

In life, stuff happens. And it happened to Anne Ford and to her children, by being part of her circle. Now, part of it is the fact that she was essentially an alcoholic, with problems on the side.

It may be that we also have an unreliable narrator. I had some concern that she was only looking on the dark side - there had to be some good times. My mother, too, was the daughter
Pamela Barrett
Dec 15, 2011 Pamela Barrett rated it it was amazing
Laurel’s memoir reminds me again that non fiction can sometimes be way more intriguing than fiction. In Unraveling Anne she revisits her childhood to understand her mother, Anne Ford, a Southern California beauty who was an artist and fashion designer in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Anne’s spiral down into alcoholism and mental illness ends when she is homeless and brutally murdered in a burnt-out run down home she once owned. Laurel recreates her childhood memories about the chaos and emotional confu ...more
Julie P
Dec 16, 2011 Julie P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most everyone thinks the relationship between Edina Monsoon and her daughter, Saffy, is quite funny. Of course that's television, "Absolutely Fabulous", to be exact. But imagine if you really were Saffy, and your mother was constantly drunk, raising you in spite of ignoring you, and constantly inviting strange people into your home. A life filled with stability and rules might actually seem attractive, and not as perverse and rigid as Edina makes Saffy feel. This, in essence, is the life that La ...more
Nov 20, 2011 Caitlin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Books about surviving crazy mothers are pretty common in the memoir world - crazy fathers are out there in plenty, too. I've read many of these and put many of them down because they were just so very bleak. I half-expected to be unable to get through Unraveling Anne - imagine my surprise when I read through to the end and was glad of it.

For many the sixties has a rosy, fuzzy glow over it - all love-ins and beads and flowers in the hair and dancing the patchouli hippy dance in the park. No one w
Barbara Mitchell
Jan 01, 2012 Barbara Mitchell rated it liked it
My last review of 2011 is not one of my best books of the year. This is a very sad book about a tragic woman and her daughter who has tried valiantly to come to terms with the consequences of being Anne Ford's daughter. In the 1950s Anne Ford was beautiful, a talented fashion designer, and an artist living the Hollywood life. She gave birth to three children by two men and proceeded to neglect them for the rest of her life.

Actually Laurel Saville, the daughter, would have been better off if her
Michelle McCarrick Truett
Dec 05, 2011 Michelle McCarrick Truett rated it it was amazing
I really,really enjoyed this memoir. I have the pleasure of knowing the author personally and have worked professionally with her for the past couple of years. She is strong, eloquent, smart and fabulously interesting. This glimpse into her life - to see how she was raised, what she overcame, the questions, the heartbreak and the healing - was captivating. I'm amazed at the worldliness that she had when she was so young to be able to see that her mother's behaviors and actions weren't "normal". ...more
Diane Lybbert
Nov 01, 2014 Diane Lybbert rated it really liked it
Saville writes a very moving memoir, of a childhood spent with her free-spirit talented alcoholic mother in California during the 1960s and 1970s. She and her brother have learned to fend for themselves, as the mother opens the house to all manner of artists, musicians, and hippies. Their father is an absent figure, who also doesn't want to bear the responsibility of raising his own children. The mother slips farther down into alcoholism and mental illness, alternately living in her old abandone ...more
Apr 16, 2014 Joodith rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was intrigued by the title of this book, and the fact that I had never heard of Anne Ford and her legendary fame back in the early 1950's. Unfortunately the title is the only intriguing thing about the book; it was self-indulgent, far too long, but obviously a cathartic experience for the author.

That Ms Saville's mother ended her days as an alcoholic street person and died, violently, in squalor is no surprise, as it's written on the back cover; the mystery is how and why she became that perso
Feb 01, 2016 Alicia rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Parts of it were so similar to my childhood it was as if the author was telling my story. I did not think I would like this book but it really drew me in. I connected with it.
*received from goodreads giveaway*
Wendy Garrett
Nov 01, 2014 Wendy Garrett rated it it was amazing
I'm always fascinated by the story of other people's lives. I'm amazed at what they have gone through and how they have responded. Laurel's life is so completely different from my " normal" upbringing that I can't imagine that I would have turned out near as well.

But Laurel, thank you for sharing your life. And thank you for showing how often what we think is the real story behind the motives and actions of others, really isn't true. There's more to people than we see or ever imagine. It's a be
Merry Miller moon
Mar 22, 2016 Merry Miller moon rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Goodreads, Brilliance Publishing, Inc. and AmazonEncore, because I won a free copy of this book on Goodreads! In this book the author, Laurel Saville is trying to understand who her mother really was. Her mother, Anne Ford was once a gorgeous model, an actress, a painter, and a talented fashion designer. SPOILERS! Stop reading if you don't want any spoilers! But she is tragically murdered in her burned out former home. She was addicted to booze and men. What would make a mo ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
The relationship between a mother and a daughter can be conflicted and tenuous at best. Sometimes the ties that bind are slippery slopes that, upon closer scrutiny, reveal how much the mother's disappointments are reflected back to her when she gazes at her daughter.

When the author of "Unraveling Anne" begins her story, she jolts the reader with the fact of her mother's tragic end immediately. She describes how others react to the word. She says:

"My mother was murdered.

"It's a shocking word, mur
Jun 11, 2012 Lormac rated it it was ok
This memoir sends the story of Anne Ford's life through the prism of her daughter's eyes, but the resulting vision is a littl out of focus.

On one hand, I found this a fairly typical memoir of the "harrowing childhood" genre (i.e., see "The Glass Castle" and "Running With Scissors"). Anne Ford's talents were fostered by her seemingly loving, albeit ambitous, parents. She was beautiful, energetic, and had a promissing future as a model, clothing designer and artist. Anne also had the advantage of
Feb 03, 2012 DubaiReader rated it liked it
Shelves: vine, 2012
Rather irratic chronology.

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been written more chronologically. The first half, in particular, is a bit jumbled, but events did start to fall into place by the end, giving a more rounded view of Anne Ford's life.
However, the book is not just about Anne, it is also about her daughter, Laurel, the author, and others whose lives were directly affected by Anne's day to day behaviour. Laurel and her brother brought themselves up, learning to cook and
Heidi Gonzalez
Jun 26, 2012 Heidi Gonzalez rated it liked it
I was sucked into this intriguing book right from the beginning but then I started to wonder if it was going to be one big pity party. Laurels life was hard, and watching her mother unravel into a drunken homeless person couldn't have been easy. It seems Laurel wore her screwed up mother around her neck like a weight and writing this book was to help her remove the weight and make peace with her past.

Laurel's mother was a neglectful alcoholic genius who never could finish what she started. After
Kasa Cotugno
Parents' follies have become fodder for their children's best sellers with varying degrees of success (the best being Glass Castle). Because Laurel Saville was sent to live with more responsible relatives while she was still young, she maintained a relationship with her mother that was spotty. Not very much is revealed about Laurel herself, which would have enhanced the narrative. I found the sequence somewhat confusing -- there are three timeframes in which the story is laid out initially, and ...more
Elsie Love
Jan 22, 2012 Elsie Love rated it really liked it
If you were a child of alcoholic parents, you really need to read this book. If you are the grown child of a mentally unstable parent, you really need to read this book. If you like to look inside others rough experiences and thank God that you never had to live through such events...yep, you guessed it, you will love this book.
Laurel Saville does an excellent job taking the reader to haunted corners of living with an unstable parent, sparing the reader nothing. She gives you the raw, gritty tr
Dani Peloquin
May 11, 2012 Dani Peloquin rated it it was ok
Today seems to be the era of the memoir and while I adore reading, I do not also adore memoirs. However, I am always willing to be proven wrong and recently...I have been proven wrong many many times! I was on a memoir high when I decided to take a stab at this one. The synopsis that the published released sounded very appealing to me because it sounded a great deal like mine and my mother’s life with some of our relatives. I found a great deal of closure in this memoir for myself and even lent ...more
Bonnie Morse
Aug 08, 2012 Bonnie Morse rated it really liked it
Shelves: sad-but-true
Laurel Saville's memoir of life with a once-famous and now drunk and abuse mother is both fascinating and hard to read. Her mother, Anne Ford, was a rising force in fashion design in the fifties until, according the majority of the book, she became disillusioned (or possibly downright lazy), and lives out the rest of her life on dead dreams and inheritances stolen from her children. It's a sad picture of a broken woman, written by a critical daughter who was apparently perfect in every way by th ...more
Mar 24, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Linda by: first read good read
I would love to give a review of the book.................I have not received it.........I won in first read good read. Please send!

Thanks to Laurel Savelle for getting me a copy of her book. As she said it is not fun to win a gift and not get it. So With her efforts I got my copy.

This is one of the saddest books I have read in a long time. In fact I read it a couple of months ago and could not put my thoughts into proper order. So confused with my emotions an not sure what to say in a review.
Nancy S
Oct 12, 2012 Nancy S rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book, maybe because the author's background bears some similarity to mine, and we both seem to feel the need to figure ourselves out. Laurel's mother was a beauty queen, a fashion designer, a member of the Hollywood in crowd of the 60's (she dated Marlon Brando), and a drunk. Laurel does not really begin to understand her mother until after her death, when learning about what made her tick becomes almost obsessive.

I identified with Laurel both as a little girl who cleaned up her m
Sharon Cobb
Jul 25, 2016 Sharon Cobb rated it it was amazing
Read it just like that. Good story for anyone trying to unravel their own Mother-Daughter relationship. The story will enlighten anyone interested in the the whole California Beat & Flower Child scene. It's populated with artists & actors. Though the end seemed a little too quick & anticlimactic I keep on hoping there is a sequel.
Jessi Nill
Dec 21, 2015 Jessi Nill rated it really liked it
Interesting read. It's sad that the author didn't discover things about her mother until too late, it seems as if she is still discovering her as the book ended. Her mother led such an amazing life only to fade away. It's funny to think what she might have been and therefore what the author might have become if things had been a little different
Jun 21, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
I found this book hard going to begin with, it felt like a child exorcising their mother and I thought it was going to be repetitive as I seemed to have a grasp on how bad life was by 30%.
However, it got more and more interesting, the writer was not looking to blame or gain sympathy, it was a simple opportunity to share what was a desperate childhood.
What a sad story especially how it shows generational pressure can affect outcomes - the mother comes across as self centred and demanding, then yo
Jane Polzin
Good book

Good book,very sad.What a life this woman led.To have someone to blame for all the bad hands to be delivered
To you is great.Sadly the rest of us don't have that luxury.
Sep 03, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
I found myself feeling sadness for all of the people in this book. All of us are shaped by our past, and some are motivated by it. There were both kinds here, and this was an interesting look.
Apr 02, 2012 Marilyn rated it liked it
I am only midway through, but I do wish that Laurel would give more details of her own psychology. Having survived (as so many have)crazy parents, I would like to hear about her story, instead of her mother.
I finally finished it and am disappointed. There is simply nothing gained/gleaned for her or the reader. At least in other memoirs like The Glass Castle you gain something from the author on the changes she made in her life and how she came to a resolve regarding her parents. Ms. Seville cle
Robin Holloway
Mar 06, 2016 Robin Holloway rated it liked it
Makes me wonder if Laurel Saville and Jeanette Walls are friends! To survive such dysfunction and go on to live a "normal" life is amazing.
Feb 21, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it
Intriguing non-fiction, but also tragic and sad. A thoughtful read about mothers and daughters and how their lives intertwine. I enjoyed it.
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Laurel Saville is the award-winning author of the novels "North of Here" and "Henry and Rachel," the memoir "Unraveling Anne" and several other books, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories, which have appeared in The Bark, The Bennington Review,, House Beautiful, the LA Times Magazine,, Room and many other publications. Laurel has an MFA from the Writing Semi ...more
More about Laurel Saville...

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“I wondered, not for the first time, how it was that bad people came from good people, and good people came from bad people, and why we bother to try to understand the difference.” 0 likes
“I couldn’t just bury the ugly parts of my past without also burying what might be the most important parts of myself.” 0 likes
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