"Even though I must confess to loathing criticism, it has often been my catalyst for moving ahead. And it is the sheer effrontery of someone telling me what I cannot do, or never will do, that brings out my most primal defiance."
-Anjelica Huston, Watch Me
I love reading fiction and nonfiction alike, but in the hot and exhausting NYC summer months, I usually want to escape into something juicy that I just won't want to put down. Within just six days of purchasing Watch Me on a whim, I'd devoured it - acknowledgements and all.
Huston's writing is infused with the richness of the remarkable life she's lead, from nostalgic visits to her childhood home in Ireland, to the New Mexico farm she shares with friends, to the behind-the-scenes looks at the sets she's worked on. She invites you through a hidden door into Old Hollywood and you're the best friend she's fillling in on all of the juicy stories - yes, including all of the stuff about Jack.
Most notable throughout the book, though, is Huston's thoughtful reflection of her experiences as she navigates her way through difficult relationships, the loss of her father, acclaimed director John Huston, and finding her craft. In moments she allows herself to be vulnerable, like in her description of her tumultuous relationship with a man whom she recalls being violent with her at a party one night, and whom she still went home to later that evening. The stinging memory is capped off by a visit with her younger sister, to whom she admits that she doesn't know what to do. The pain of the memory for Huston is palpable as her sister responds, "Leave him."
But this vulnerability always serves to teach her an important lesson; She acknowledges her mistakes and her youth but she doesn't wallow, and she's never down for long. Her strength is devilishly clear early on in the book when she is told that she'll never be an actress. Her (inner) response gives the book its title - she thinks, "Watch me."
A fantastic read for anyone who wants a juicy look inside the life and fight of an intelligent A-list actress.