on September 24, 2011
I am probably not the target demographic for this book, and in fact grabbed it only because I was rushed and it was the first thing I saw that looked halfway interesting. I'm a middle-aged guy and usually read "serious" fiction but I'm also a movie buff, and who doesn't like Cary Grant? For that matter, what guy doesn't want to BE Cary Grant? For that matter, there's not a guy my age who didnt have a thing for Dyan Cannon back in the day. Well, what a nice surprise that "Dear Cary" is a damn fine read. It got me from Seattle to Miami, and halfway back, and I was sorry when I reached the end, with nothing but crappy in-flight magazines to carry me through the rest of the trip. It reads like good fiction, really well-written, but it also struck me as really as completely sincere. Grant was a pretty complex dude, really brilliant, and Madame Cannon who's one smart chick herself really probes into his mind and his dark side. She really took some emotionally rough treatment but what sets this book apart from most of its ilk is that she never falls into self-pity or whines about being a victim. And even many of the darker parts are funny. This book is very charming, but underneath it all is a quite serious point about the nature of romantic relationships. Good goin, Dyan.
The title of this book refers to a letter written by Dyan Cannon to Cary Grant. The letter appears at the end of the book,summing up Cannon's take on her turbulent relationship and marriage to Grant...as well as her journey to self- realization.
This memoir is an easy read and gives a basic chronology of Grant's life with Cannon. For me, the most interesting sections described Grant's early and often painful life - as he related it to Dyan, along with her own recollections of meeting Grant's mother.
I'd hoped for detailed descriptions of conversations between Cannon and Grant. What did they discuss? But such details are lacking, a point Dyan herself acknowledges when she writes that she simply can't have perfect recall of their conversations.
Instead she attempts to remain faithful, as she puts it, to "the way we talked". Her honesty is appreciated. Just don't expect to find much depth in the sections focusing on the couple's conversations.
On the Kindle edition of this book,there is a disclaimer that the book is a "work of fiction." This sentence appears under the word "copyright" which is printed in blue. From other reader comments, it seems that the disclaimer may be in another part of the book - or perhaps not at all. I can only vouch for the Kindle edition.
There are some solid reasons to recommend this book to fans of Cary Grant and/or Dyan Cannon. Grant's fascination with LSD
as a path to spiritual growth is not glossed over. He pushes Dyan to take the drug and I'll leave it to potential readers to learn about her experiences with acid. No spoilers about that.
Cannon's analysis of Grant's flaws seemed very credible to me and can be supported by other biographies of the actor. Readers
do need to get through initial chapters in the book which describe Cannon's persistent refusal to go out with Grant. As a result,the first sections focus mostly on Dyan and there are entire chapters which focus on her experiences without bringing Grant into the mix.
When Grant pursues Dyan, she resists. Not surprisingly, her reluctance to date Grant only fuels his passion. When she finally agrees to go out with him their romance proceeds in fits and starts,perhaps making it more enticing for Grant, a man described as wary of marriage and intimacy.
There is a lovely photo section included in the book. All in all, a light but enjoyable read.
on September 28, 2011
I simply could not put this book down while reading about Cary and Dyan's courtship. Imagine a 20-something aspiring starlet catching the eye of Cary Grant one of the most distinguished, sophisticated and drop dead handsome men to have ever graced the silver screen. He pursued her and she ran the other way. Riveting reading and the stuff of movies. Details of their travels, the famous people she met etc etc enhanced the story even further. I was amazed that after nearly 40 years she could recall so much detail. Then, they get married and the party's over. That's where I began to ask myself questions: how could this ardent lover suddenly and completely lose interest in Dyan! It just didn't completely add up and she didn't provide very satisfying explanations. Yes he'd come from a dysfunctional family and yes he took LSD regularly which was terrifying for Dyan who indulged a few times to keep him happy but I finished the book wishing I could have gotten his side of the story. And I understand it was a very nasty divorce though that is not in the memoir. I feel much has been left out and that's where the memoir fails to satisfy. Otherwise I liked it and enjoyed the photos and Cary's love notes written on stationery from some of the ritziest hotels in the world.
on September 21, 2011
I couldn't put this book down. It's funny, captivating and breezy and poignant all at the same time. I don't know if she had a ghost writer help her, but the writing is really good. It's really from the heart. I'm a big Cary Grant fan, and this is definitely the most intimate thing ever written about him. I felt like I really got to know him, and anyone can see how Dyan Cannon loved him so much, flaws and all. This is a really first rate, classy book. Now my husband's reading it and he can't put it down either.
on September 21, 2011
What a pleasure to read a celebrity's book that isn't a tell-all and ego booster! In a gripping page turner, Dyan Cannon gives us the unvarnished truth of her experience of disappointment and forgiveness, acting out and healing that all can relate to while learning from her emotional journey where to turn for our own healing. Though our experiences may not have been on such an exotic level - we can't all have been married to Cary Grant and flown to London to watch a tennis match - Miss Cannon lets us see that we are all human and face the same challenges in this schoolhouse of our souls that is this earthly life. A unique book that will help so many.
on October 14, 2011
Cary Grant was the greatest movie star of all time!! He was the very best at what he did and nobody has ever come close to being as good.
If you are looking for a book about Cary Grant then this effort will be something of a disappointment. This book was written by Dyan Cannon, for Dyan Cannon and about Dyan Cannon. If you are looking for a partial autobiography of Dyan Cannon; then this book will be interesting and worthwhile. The title is partly a marketing subterfuge as books about Cary Grant sell better than books about Dyan Cannon. (There is a new letter Dyan just wrote to Cary, at the very end of this book, that ties in with the title as well).
The book mainly struck me as an effort by Dyan to dredge through her past as a catharsis of sorts. As such, it tends to be somewhat self-centered as one might certainly expect a catharsis to be. From the time she split with Cary Grant both Cary and Jennifer basically disappear from the story and it degenerates into yet another Hollywood rehab journey. Yada, Yada!! After their split there is nothing much about how the split effected Jennifer or Cary as it focuses on Dyan to the virtual exclusion of all else. There is no follow-up during the later years, after the divorce, when reportedly Dyan and Cary were much friendlier toward each other. The story abruptly stops so it does not cover his death or anything else beyond a few years after their divorce. Earlier in the book there are numerous flashbacks that take us to the pre-Cary days in Dyan's life and these do nothing much to enlighten or interest a Cary Grant fan as they naturally focus on Dyan exclusively.
If you want a book about Dyan Cannon this is really a fine book as it is unrestrained, unvarnished and very revealing about her life. If you are a Cary Grant fan then you may want to turn away as soon as possible as it does not paint him in a flattering light.
As a Cary Grant fan, the main thing I was able to take away from this book was that it confirmed some of what has been written by other people. This is especially true of the excellent book by Maureen Donaldson "An Affair to Remember" and the very fine book "Good Stuff" by Jennifer Grant. Allowing for their differing points of perspective; the picture of both Cary Grant and "Cary Grant" is somewhat similar according to all three women.
I guess we would all like to believe that "Cary Grant" really existed in the flesh. After reading nine biographies/memoirs about Cary Grant I have come to the conclusion that "Cary Grant" was basically just an illusion. The real person was vastly different and more complicated than his screen persona. In my judgment, after reading several books each about John Wayne, James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn and Gary Cooper; those people were all just about exactly what you would expect them to be, based on how they appeared in their movies....for the most part. Nobody is completely what they look to be on the silver screen but these people came fairly close.
Cary Grant was the ultimate illusion and the perfect creation of Archie Leach.
Apparently Cary Grant could put on the `Cary Grant" persona at will and become the charming, witty, dapper, sophisticated marvelous person we would have liked him to actually be. There was also a darker and less glamorous side to his personality that sounds unflattering and unbecoming. All of us have issues and I guess our heroes are no different. It is disenchanting to find that the icon who was the ultimate example of what a romantic leading man should be was mainly just a glorious invention. Cary himself seems to have known this. The books I have read contain numerous stories relating to Cary saying "I'll do the Cary Grant thing" before he got people to do things for him. When he did the "Cary Grant thing" he could charm the socks off anyone. One story that illustrates this is of the time a friend of his was late for a flight. Cary said don't worry because he would just do the "Cary Grant thing" and upon entering the airport he actually charmed the airline into holding the flight for his friend!! Another story told of a person who said to Cary "you do not look like Cary Grant". To which he replied "Well nobody does". I guess he knew that the persona was not reality and that the image he created was impossible for anyone to live up to in real life. Cary is even reported as having said "Everybody wants to be Cary Grant...Even I want to be Cary Grant".
Having said all of that; I still enjoy reading about Cary Grant! Dreams or illusions die hard and "Cary Grant" is a most beautiful and powerful illusion. This is why Maureen Donaldson's book was so very interesting. It painted both sides of Cary Grant effectively and evenly and was thus a delight to read. The mesmerizing stuff vastly outweighed the unflattering stuff.
Dyan's book was less about Cary than I had hoped. Overall it had less of the elegant stuff and seemed much more morose, unflattering and sad in the darker aspects of his life than other books I've read. (With the exception of the Higham book...total trash). Dyan's book is just one dark episode after another from the very day they got married. This book was not a pick-me-up with many "happy thoughts".
The long and short of it is this; you can do much better by reading other books about Cary Grant. This book does not spend much time on Cary and where it does it will not enhance him in anyone's eyes. However, as a book about Dyan Cannon it succeeds and is pretty interesting even while managing to be an overall downer.
on January 21, 2013
This was a sad book. All the bad in a marriage where the couple was two generations apart in age, with all the blame pointed at Grant. She waited until he died to write this, which is a chicken way to throw mud, when he can't defend himself. How tragic, too, for their daughter to see the breakdown of her parent's marriage in black and white. This book was a waste of time., imho.
And even so, I was overcharged.
Grant's last wife undertakes to tell us all about her brief fling and briefer wedded bliss with the acting icon. Let's simplify. She was about 25 years younger and vapid; He was older, sophisticated and just not that interested. Not that he had other women, he was just was kind of lukewarm about the whole relationship. Maybe even women. Whatever, it's mostly an on off-again/off again courtship. Grant doesn't seem exactly hot for this ingenue. He is unemotional. They date, nothing much happens. He disappears, he reappears. They date some more, they break up, reunite, break up, reunite, and then they get married. The marriage is rocky. Go figure.
Ms. Cannon spares us not a moment of ennui, dragging us along through the entire lackluster romance. And when I say 'spares us nothing,' I'm not whistling Dixie. At the end of the story, we find her tormented, wondering where she went wrong, who failed whom, and could things have been different. So she asks God for the answer. And God responds by inspiring her to write a poem that explains it all. And she shares that poem with us. All of it.
No, God did not smite her. We have a benevolent diety. And a patient one. The reader, on the other hand, wouldn't have hesitated.
To sum up, there is nothing here.. Nothing to learn, no romance, no emotion, nothing to enjoy, no good gossip to savor. This book is so bad, it makes me regret my one good eye.
on June 29, 2012
I just finished reading Dear Cary, after it had been sitting on my shelf for months. What was I waiting for?? Cary Grant is hands down my favorite actor to ever grace the silver screen, and this book showed a very interesting side to a very troubled man. The first half of the book was so enjoyable, with Dyan going into detail about her and Cary's courtship. He had a very fun-loving side. The second half of the book was a bit depressing, though (but that's real life and real life isn't always sunshine and rainbows, so I commend her for telling the truth!). After they married, he seemed to change drastically. I do commend her for not doing any Cary-bashing whatsoever. She just told her side of the story. One thing I came away with from the book is that Dyan loved Cary very much - and to me, seems to still be a bit in love with him. The book did show a darker side to Cary that I never knew about - his controlling ways and LSD use.
If you are even remotely a fan of Cary or Dyan, you will enjoy this book. My only complaint is that towards the end, she didn't mention anything else about her relationship or encounters with Cary after the divorce (even though they had a daughter together). I find that very strange. Oh well, guess we can't have everything!
Four out of 5 stars, highly recommended!
on March 2, 2013
I was fascinated as a 'fan', but was unaware and stunned about Cary's drug abuse and was disgusted by his narcissistic idea that he could take a young, lovely woman and abuse her too. Dyan may have written this from her own perspective, but there is NO denying the huge age difference. He was essentially an old man and she was a young woman. Cary had no wisdom and showed no kindness by pursuing such a young woman and thinking there would be anything healthy about that. It was frustrating to read such a sad story. I am thankful to Dyan for her honesty. Perhaps if more women were honest about what happens with these May/September romances, smart young girls would stay away from trips like this one. Read this only if you want to read a long sad story of abuse.