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Saturday, no fairytale here…

A Black Cat Book Review


Dear Cary by Dyan Cannon

Cary Grant saw Dyan Cannon on TV, liked what he saw and arranged to meet her.  She thought the meeting was about a possible role in one of his projects but it was purely personal for Cary.  Thus, the beginning of a romance and marriage destined to be anything but a fairytale.

Dyan and Cary had a whirlwind and world-wide romance. He did not want to get married and cautioned her about her desire to be married to him.  He was older than her father and had been married and divorced three times; and he admitted the failure of the marriages was his fault.  But the thought of having a family won him over; they married and had a daughter, Jennifer. 

Not long after Jennifer’s birth Cary’s need to control every aspect of their lives became compulsive and overbearing.  The fairytale life Dyan thought she would have with Cary Grant was not happily ever after.  Dyan filed for the divorce Cary wanted and plotted and shortly after she had a breakdown.

The journey back to reality and life without Cary was not an easy one.  It is evident from the book that she never stopped loving Cary–but Cary never really loved her.

There were, for me, surprises in the book.  The biggest being Cary’s use of LSD in his search for the ultimate peace and that he did not believe it was a dangerous drug but a chemical used to enhance understanding.  Also, not as surprising but maybe disappointing, is  that Cary Grant was not at all what he seemed.  Yes, he was a handsome, witty, charming Hollywood star but he was also manipulative, controlling, cruel, and shallow in his relationships.

Dyan was/is a beautiful, funny, intelligent, talented woman. I was surprised by her lack of confidence and willingness to give up thinking for herself, wanting the fairytale so badly that she would/could not see life’s realities, all for the love of Cary.

Dyan Cannon has written an interesting memoir and it is not a shocking exposé with all the details spelled out.  But it is a sad story.  The last chapter is a letter Dyan has written to Cary forgiving him all the bad and thanking him for all the good they had together– and obviously still loving him.

12 thoughts on “Saturday, no fairytale here…

  1. Thank you for another interesting review. I always liked movies with Cary Grant.

    I just finished reading Praying for Strangers by River Jordan. I really enjoyed every page. I believe I learned about this book from your review of it. Blessings to you, Patricia…

  2. Thanks for that review. It is not a book I had heard of. Cary Grant will always be one of my favorite movie star. But I have never been attached to the idea that he was the same in real life. He struck me as a very good actor, who could pull off a lot of different characters and styles, and he did. Also, except for a rare one or two, all the characters he played were very likable! It was and still is hard not to fall in love with his characters.

    Interestingly enough a book has just recently come out and in it are some revelations of Cary’s life – primarily that he was bisexual – along with a lot of Hollywood “stars.” A non-monogamous life always seems to me, probably paradoxically, the most lonely sort of life. Having more people in your life is not what keeps you from getting lonely. Having the one person who loves you as much as him/herself , and that you love in the same way brings the sort of happiness and fulfillment that can never be found in more superficial relationships.

    That book is a “tell-all” sort of autobiography by Scotty Bowers, called “Full Service.” I would never in a million years read it. The review was enough for me. It was too much, actually. When did someone or anyone decide that the private lies of famous people was everybody’s business? I personally think everyone has a right to their private lives. I certainly want it for mine!

    In the same magazine was a review for Mimi Alford’s new book, “Once Upon a Secret.” In it she recounts the numerous times she was taken sexual advantage of and raped by President Kennedy. Actually, the reviewer says that the word “rape,” is never used, but through Mimi’s description, it could be called nothing less. I had always heard vague rumors of this sort of behavior from JFK, but discounted it even then as none of my business. I still don’t think it is. What I wonder is why does Mimi Alford feel she had to tell everybody about a very traumatic part of her life – a part which evidently has scarred her for life. While being brave in telling her story, and she evidently is, it still seems odd to me to open your life up so much to anybody with the money to buy a read. I always thought that was what psychiatry and psychology are for. Except you pay them. So, maybe sometimes it is a money thing. I don’t necessarily think that about Mimi Alford, but Scotty Bowers is another tale altogether. Now THAT has the smell of money all over it, and the money smells pretty grimy and slimy too! Oh well. To each their own. . .

    BTW, I had heard years ago about CG and his use of LSD. There are some sort of funny stories about it – especially from Carrie Fisher. She was into drugs for some time, and her mother – Debbie Reynolds – called Cary Grant and asked him to call Carrie and tell her about the evils of drugs, because he ended up having very bad experiences with LS. Also – he took LSD under a Dr.’s supervision – it was prescribed for him! Good Grief!

    Thanks again for the great review – I’ll consider reading the book, but it will have to wait in line!

    If I don’t quit this now, I won’t ever write for my blog today. In fact, I think I’ve just written all am going to for today. You’ll have to read this extended comment, and pretend you are reading RFACM. That way, I’ve posted every day this week! 😆

    1. There are lots of stories about Cary Grant and I guess they all have to be taken with a grain of salt. As for taking LSD under a doctor’s supervision, there were two mentioned in the book and both sounded like charlatans including a psychiatrist Cary had Dyan see.

      The book was just sad to me–I can’t really say I would recommend it.

  3. Lack of confidence sometimes comes because the other party is overbearing. Also, the age difference, whether you accept it or not, can play a part in losing confidence. If Gary was as manipulative as it sounds, I don’t wonder she couldn’t stand up for herself as she was “paralyzed” with trying to please but never pleasing etc.

    I’ll have to read this one. I recently heard it was out. Thanks for the great review.

    1. I agree with you about the confidence thing–I think part of my surprise was because she was so close to her parents and they were so supportive of her that she would have been stronger in this regard. But love can do strange things to us–good and not so good.

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