Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Loved Lucy: My Friendship with Lucille Ball

I was really fortunate to acquire this book at a low price- it was a steal!

Lee Tannen meet Lucille Ball during the second last decade of her life and he relates about his friendship with her.

This is an extremely interesting read, and valuable too, because most books focus on Lucille's younger days and end a few years after her painful divorce from Desi Arnaz. They say Lucille wasn't funny when she wasn't Lucy Ricardo, I think that she was funnier than most authors gave credit for! After reading this book, Lucille struck me as an eccentric and adorable grandmother that I would like to have. I would have definitely doted on her, reassured her daily, accompanied her as much as I can, and given her the hugs that would suck the breath right out of her!

 Lee Tannen truly loved Lucy. I'm sure he wrote the book not for financial gains, but he wanted to share another side of Lucy with us. I really thank him, and I am really thankful that Lucy had met such a wonderful guy in her later years to brighten up her life and to give genuine support. God bless you, Lee!

I felt incredibly sad at certain parts, specifically after I read Lee and Lucy's estrangement for a year after Lee threw a terrible tantrum in the limo, Lucy's inability to be intimate with her children and grandchildren, Lucy's career failures after taking some ill-given advice, and Desi's death. My heart kept breaking, and it was, and still is hard to connect her to the Lucille Ball Arnaz. The divorce certainly led her to hiding a part of herself from the rest of the world.

In fact, purely in my opinion, there are 4 segments of Lucille's life that are so different that I cannot seem to connect them together. I mean, people don't change that much abruptly, right? The young and reckless Lucy who used to hang out with the notorious boys before her movie days; the serious dramatic, comedy and film noir actress  days, Desi Arnaz and I Love Lucy days, and after divorce days all add up to explain the complex woman who achieved so much. She remains the only idol and role model I have, and the fact that a big celebrity like her who is only human makes me love her more!

I'm still hesitant to flip to the last chapter of the book because I know what I am going to find will make me cry. In fact, all of Lucy's books leave me a sad, tingling feeling. All except her own biography, Love, Lucy. I suppose it's because Lucille stopped at the part where she and Gary Morton got married and she was on her way to finding happiness once more.

I would greatly recommend this book, not only because any information about Lucy is a treasure to me, but because Lee brought a touch of humanity into even the most horrible stories. Many readers found the author a little creepy, but I have to say that based purely on experience (not stereotyping homosexuals but I get this feeling from Lee too), I have a lot of gay friends who are affectionate, flamboyant and expressive. I think that there's nothing wrong about his deep admiration for her and the only way he could have fawned about this wonderful woman was to be affectionate, flamboyant and expressive. Some readers also pointed out that Lee loved Lucy only because she was Lucille Ball. Who wouldn't? I mean, he probably really did, but I gathered that he truly cared for her as a person and not as a star after their friendship became stronger.

Whatever it is, the book should be a collection for any Lucy fans! Of course, don't take all the stories to heart because after all, they are not related to us from the horse's mouth! Don't judge Gary Morton too negatively, because I've read so many different stories about him that I don't think the stories presented to us make us fit to judge him.

Ratings: 4.5/5

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