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The Price of Illusion: A Memoir

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  371 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
From Joan Juliet Buck, former editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue comes her dazzling, compulsively readable memoir: a fabulous account of four decades spent in the creative heart of London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, chronicling her quest to discover the difference between glitter and gold, illusion and reality, and what looks like happiness from the thing itself.

Born in
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Atria Books
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Jill Meyer
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What does a reader do when an author puts her entire life on the page? Well, the reader can follow the author as she weaves the past into the present and, if possible, into the future. In her memoir, "The Price of Illusion", Joan Juliet Buck writes her life and the reader can try to catch on as the years pass, the relationships - both personal and professional - come and go, and Joan Juliet makes peace with the divergent forces in her life.

Joan Juliet Buck was born Joan Buck (she added the "Juli
...more
James Grissom
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will be writing more extensively about Joan Juliet Buck and this fascinating memoir, but I wanted to let readers know about this unique book as soon as possible. Appearances--like substances--are addictive, and Buck lets us know that she has struggled with the addiction to magical places and people and sensations. Her lineage alone is worth the time and price of the memoir, but Buck lets us know about the life that was lived within the brightly colored lines of this lineage, and there isn't an ...more
Shari
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
I had so many expectations for this memoir- but it really disappointed! I stopped halfway through ! It is so tedious and does not flow. The author definitely has an attention focus disorder. Some chapters made no sense at all. I thought the book would reveal what goes on in the fashion world, but I had no idea what she was talking about most of the time.
Claire
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
A self-indulgent poor little rich girl story that manages to name drop fantastically and still be boring. People want the fantasy and the escape of hilarious stories and inside scoop on famous people. This was drudgery that didn't even tie back to the metaphor of the title until the epilogue.
Allegra
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book - far, far more than just a memoir of the fashion world. (Although it is that, too: you see behind the glass and the gloss of Vogue, and learn how all that glamour is made.) It's an intensely moving self-portrait of a woman who never quite knew where she belonged, and found her security in beautiful things, glamorous people - and eventually discovers, as she writes and as we read, what is truly important. It's a story of the love between a daughter and a father, as he liv ...more
Marion Olharan
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Do not expect a book about what working at Vogue means. "The price of illusion" is a book about what being your dad's creature mean. It is poetic, fun, never bitter which considering some of the stories being told is quite admirable.
Between the US, The UK and France, Joan Juliet Buck weaves a tale with a myriad of characters that take a completely fictional dimension. I almost forgot those existed to focus on the story. You want a happy ending for Joan and what you get is a beautiful "Temps ret
...more
Faith McLellan
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
A few bright spots amidst a lot of tiresome name-dropping: some insights into the creative process, a love of color and textiles, a lot of courageous creativity to reimagine a magazine. Otherwise, for me there wasn't much there there. The world of fashion seems even more hollow than I suspected.
Jorge
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
It zips along at a good pace, but Joan Juliet Buck must be the most fatuous woman on the planet. While she often gives the appearance of caring for deeper things (other people, thoughts, ideas), she always reverts to appearances themselves, labels, names, attention. I think she is an addict for attention, praise, and very little talent to warrant either.

Her stylish victimization is amusing in a surreal way.
Joyce
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yes, another memoir for my enjoyment.

For the first, maybe half, of the book, I thought Ms. Buck was name-dropping to excess. But I came to realize that the Name People were very much part of her life. And that life was constrained, to a degree, by "the price of illusion". The price is being a public person. Clothes, friends, activities... all are scrutinized. All in all, a sad way to live - in my opinion. For those who can do it... very exciting and powerful. I know that I'd never want to be a V
...more
Lori
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I had a difficult time with this book. First, the book is written as if you already know of Joan Juliet Buck and her life. Second, there was a lot of name dropping that I felt was for the sake of name dropping (perhaps the actual premise of this book).

At times there was real emotion, but I failed to connect to her and only rarely felt anything more than fleeting sadness with her story.
LAPL Reads
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Over many years Joan Juliet Buck contributed excellent reviews and criticism on a variety of subjects (fashion, media, the arts, film and music) to Vogue Magazine. After an ill-fated assignment in 2011 she and her work evaporated from the printed media. It was an interview with the first lady of Syria printed a few weeks before Bashar al-Assad ordered violent attacks against masses of protesters. Buck is not a stupid woman, perhaps guileless in trusting those who had given her the interview assi ...more
Pamela
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I began reading TPOI, I was reminded of what an engaging storyteller JJB has always been. I’ve been reading her WWD, Vogue, Bazaar and VF essays for decades and although our paths have not converged, she’s a woman that I’ve felt was a close associate since the 1980s.
The delight of reading her memoir is that so many of her escapades overlap with my own, working within the entertainment, publishing and fashion industries she’s spent her life with many people of whom I’ve been curious.
...more
Meredith
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow.
I didn't want to let her go. I didn't want to let go of this tremendous, moving, extraordinary gift Joan Juliet Buck gives to us, the gift of herself. All of herself, the beauty and the warts, the snobishness and the generosity, she lays it out directly, brutally, beautifully page after page.
It is an exceptional story, full of excitement and glamour and delight and heartbreak and stupidity. And I loved it and related to it in intimate and astonishing ways.
A book that will stay with me.
Arezoo
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book dies not deserve even one star. I did not know the writer at all and came away thinking she is a shallow women with not much to offer.
I gave it one star because I liked the picturesque quality of writing when she talks about her childhood.
Siobhan Burns
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Two stars is a bit harsh, but the fashion world myopia is so off-putting -- her description of Princess Di as having big arms was the turning point for me, where she kind of lost my trust. I stuck with it but ultimately found her trapped by the fashion world's narrowness of perspective, even as she derides it.
Naomi Kelsey
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Joan, dear, you should have gotten a collaborator.

The author is clearly a gifted writer and has a very clear style. However! If you're going to cobble together your memoirs from over 50 years, you need a steady hand and brain, not a fragile, wispy, gauzy, "impressionistic" style with key phrases floating to the top of a pile of words in a sentence.
Characters popped up and then disappeared. We hopped around in time. People disappeared or even died (!!) without me really understanding who they w
...more
Emily
Jun 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I usually finish a book in about two days. After reading this book for three weeks I was only on page 100 and so I finally returned it to the library unfinished. I found it incredibly dull. I found a lack of emotion in the story, it was just names on pages.
Tammy
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, couldn-t-finish
Couldn't finish this one. There were lots of stories about apparently famous people, but I knew very little about any of them and didn't really care. It all seemed rather pointless to me.
Elizabeth
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Worth the time - at first I almost gave up half-way through - as I am wont to do - partly due to details I found tedious. My complaint, often, with non-fiction is lack of editing - so many books are padded.

But - Buck's fascinating life story in terms of all the mega-stars of film and fashion that were always in her personal and professional life - privileged from the get-go - are compelling for folks like me who love tales of the back-channels/back-stories - what redeems all the name-dropping a
...more
Marie
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is definitely one of my favorite memoirs in a long time. On the surface, it’s glamorous and unbelievable (how can one person live such a fascinating and whirlwind life?) but dig deeper, as the author does, and it’s the story of family and finding one’s self under some truly incredible trappings. It’s funny, delightful, poignant, critical—Joan Juliet Buck has always been one of my favorite Vogue contributors, and here, she turns her fantastic writing towards herself and her remarkable life. ...more
False
Jul 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
I took the time to read previous reviews of this book. Tedious showed up a lot with the occasional ADD. Name dropper was frequent. For as much insight as she allegedly gained during this fall, you wonder what she has really learned from the experience. One reviewer said, "It zips along at a good pace, but Joan Juliet Buck must be the most fatuous woman on the planet. While she often gives the appearance of caring for deeper things (other people, thoughts, ideas), she always reverts to appearance ...more
Jobe
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I gave up on this book today. Being something random that I picked up off of the "new" shelf at the library, I was excited to read a memoir about a random person that I had no idea who they were but who had an interesting enough story that I was pulled in quickly. Unfortunately, about 100 pages in or so, I gave up because I got so tired of the author's laissez faire lifestyle. When it became all about her life breaking into the weirdness of the fashion industry, so to speak, and all the men she ...more
Melanie Simon
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.

As the daughter of a film producer, goddaughter to John Huston and a three decades-long journalist for Condé Nast publications Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, Joan Juliet Buck delivers a serious dose of glitz and glam in her memoir.

She also deftly chronicles her fall from the Condé Nast family, following a not-quite-seven-year stint as the only American to ever helm Paris Vogue--- and later, the violent backlash from a 2011 assignment on Syria’s First Lady that nearly
...more
Mary
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The high life, the good life, the Vogue life. The writer chronicles her early life among the Hustons -- John and friend Angelica -- as well as her crushes on Tom Wolfe, Peter O'Toole, and Donald Sutherland, and her rapid ascent and precipitous demise from the world of haute fashion. If that world, of mad-dog editors, cutthroat fashion competition, and unlikely but intriguing affairs, is your jam, then this book is the place to visit.

I would wish that the writer had traded breadth for a bit more
...more
Cyndie
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and wanted to continue reading more. Ms. Buck's life has been so fascinating and interesting - so full of colorful people and places. It was fun to imagine it all while reading her story. Her childhood is something I don’t even think just any child would be able to handle. So mentally independent at such a young age or at least it seemed that way. I was in awe of her tireless dedication to her parents and handling all that while working in the fashion industry and as editor in ...more
Susan
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book! She writes in the same dreamlike quality as Anjelica Huston's autobiography. Interestingly enough, they grew up together and are still quite close. I always heard of Joan Juliet Buck but since I have never been a Vogue reader (take that, Anna Wintour!) didn't realize she was the editor of French Vogue. She knew everyone before they were anyone - Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, etc. I couldn't put it down.
Robin DeLisle
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, not because it had fashion and glamour, but because the author was not afraid to be honest about her feelings, in most cases, anyway. As I have said before, this memoir is like a roller coaster ride, and pulling into the platform, you just don't want the ride to be over yet. I intend to listen to the audio book now, as well. Treat yourself!
Roben
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is not to enjoy...old Hollywood, luxury, top of the fashion game - JJ Buck is a wonderful writer with a set of experiences that could rival any. Her personal insight into behaviors including hers is a gift. The Price of Illusion is an example of why I love a good memoir.
Terri
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this look into a world so different from my own. A world of high fashion, movie stars, starmakers, stripped back to reveal the humanity - and inhumanity residing within. Buck does not flinch and her writing sustains us as we follow the convoluted journey of a life.
Sara
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing look at what's behind the glitzy curtain of fashion and film.

Fans of Vogue and film will enjoy this memoir. Well-written, and from a unique perspective. It made me want to read her older pieces and dig out my old Vogues.
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