Friday, March 13, 2009

My Life at Grey Gardens by Lois Wright

I believe I'm beginning to get an unhealthy obsession with the Beales. My friend got me the documentary, Grey Gardens, for Christmas along with this book. I feel something familiar in the Beales.

Lois Wright spent 13 months at Grey Gardens with Big Edie and Little Edie, after having known them for quite a while. This book is basically her journal that she kept while she was there. For background, Big Edie and Little Edie are aunt and cousin, respectively, to Jackie O. They are part of the Bouvier family. Grey Gardens, the Beales house in East Hampton, became famous when the Maysles' did a documentary in 1976 (which is well worth viewing).

Grey Gardens is a run down home and Big Edie and Little Edie are the eccentric recluses that reside within. The home is run down enough that Wright is forced to wear a hat while walking in the house so she won't be hurt when rats or raccoons fall from the walls or ceilings. When, not if. The Beales do not have access to a lot of money so Jackie helps them out whenever possible.

I consider Wright a bit of a twit, myself, but then you would have to be somewhat twittish to live for over a year in Grey Gardens. This book does give you a little more background info than you get from the documentary and includes time surrounding Big Edie's death at age 81.

Read the book and see the movie. Both are pretty much worth the effort.
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