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Unraveling Anne

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  59 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, 196 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by AmazonEncore (first published May 10th 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 875)
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Jan C
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wendy Price
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
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
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
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
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
E.B. Loan
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
Elsie Love
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
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
Intriguing non-fiction, but also tragic and sad. A thoughtful read about mothers and daughters and how their lives intertwine. I enjoyed it.
Carolyn D'argenio
It hurts my soul to know how some children are treated.
On the heels of reading Henry and Rachel, this book is a memoir by H & R's great granddaughter. Growing up in LA with a usually single, always talented, but alcoholic mother, Laurel Saville looks back on her own and her mother's life trying to figure out how it played out as it did. I enjoyed reading about the area and the times, as I was raised in the same atmosphere, as were many of my friends, but by more responsible and more sober, people. 60's and 70's LA/Hollywood life. 3 and a half st ...more
Zoe Jussel
An excellent chronicle of a girl's and woman's journey to find the real soul and pith of her mother. Such a great story and sense of her and her brother's disconnect from this Bohemian mother who, at one time, was a beauty queen, clothing designer, hobnobbed with such as Marlon Brando and now famous painters, but ended up living on the streets with a bottle in her hand. I really felt the emotion reading this book and highly recommend it.
When I read these types of books; I think wow my life was worse than this I should write a book. I had an issue with this book because she seemed to bounce around in her stories and it was hard to keep straight. One minute she was talking about her life at 7 and then she starts into a story that happened when she was older in the same chapter I would have found this a better read if it was written in chronological order.
Kathy Barton
I normally do not rate my books so low, but I really did not like the way this was written. It was very disjointed and hard to follow. The best part was the last chapter where Laurel talked to her mother's Cousin, Alice, and found out what her mom had to dealt with growing up. I felt very sad for Laurel growing up in this terrible situation, but I really did not like her in the story.
A very strong memoir. It's amazing what comes of the children who write these -- how can they have turned out so well. This, unlike other memoirs I've read, really communicated the pain and the love and the fear the author had for her mother. I was impressed with the depth of research Saville did after her mother's death to learn about her mother.
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Laurel Saville is the author of the novel "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 Seminars at Bennington College.

More about Laurel Saville...
Henry and Rachel Postmortem 100 Habits of Successful Publication Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart and Staying Creative 365 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers: Insider Secrets from Top Designers on Working Smart and Staying Creative Design Secrets: Furniture: 50 Real-life Projects Uncovered

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