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My Life At Grey Gardens:13 Months and Beyond by Lois Wright- SPOILERS

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Bettyboy72
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*********SPOILERS FOR ANYONE WHO HASNT READ THE BOOK!!!**********

Has anyone else read this?

I am almost done with the book and although it is very poorly written (I guess this was before spell check) it sheds a lot of insight onto what happened behind the walls of Grey Gardens that the documentary never touched on. Some of Lois' observations are fascinating, while others just banal. It definitely took some of the mystique away from Little Edie (to be taken with a grain of salt).

I took everything Lois wrote with a grain of salt, but the portrait she paints is one that shows Little Edie as more on the mentally ill side than just being eccentric. Lois and Little Edie clearly have a small rivalry and Little Edie makes it clear who is in charge.
Lois writes of Brooks being a mentally ill alcoholic with poor boundaries, paints the Maysles as con-men who promised the Edies money and fame, but never really delivered, and who also were constantly frustrated with Edie for not doing publicity and didnt always reimburse her for trips to the city for promotion of Grey Gardens.

The most interesting facet of the book is how Lois describes the hierarchy in the home. Big Edie was seen by many people (both in and outside of the home) as a resourceful, intelligent woman who got things done and had all the answers. People were drawn to her as though she was a clairvoyant. Also Big Edie was locked in her room most of the time and her visitors were carefully screened by Little Edie before access was given. Big Edie always answered the house phone and had most of her relationships transpire over the phone. She came across so much more independant than in the documentary. Also fascinating was that the house was always locked up and it appears that Little Edie almost never went out (she is pictured outdoors quite a bit in the documentary, but I think she viewed the porch as a stage she was performing on).

I think what Lois also emphasizes is the abject poverty the women were living in which the documentary didnt touch on. The Edies oftentimes had NO money and were begging and bartering for food or services. They were always waiting for the next check or handout and were often brought food from neighbors.They also called the Maysles often for money with no avail.

The other thing that was interesting to realize was that Lois was on the same wavelength as Little Edie. I got the idea from the documentary that Lois was just a friendly visitor, but she lived there and was almost as paranoid and delusional as the divine Little Edie.

Lois also goes in to more detail about the condition of the house as the Maysles show so very little of the house.

All in all, it's a fascinating read for hardcore GG fans. If you've read the book feel free to add your thoughts.
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SNAFU
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I have read the book. Some of it is a diary, some of it is rememberances of the events. The two seem to get confused. I believe it was self published a few years ago, probably in anticipation of the renewed interest in the Beals. To be fair, the Maysle's did originally film the house in it's full squalor but Lee and the rest of the family confiscated the footage and told them they could not use it. What we see in the documentary is a cleaned up Grey Gardens. A family sanctioned view inside if you will.
It seemed to me that Big Edie enjoyed the rivalry between Lois and Little Edie and actually played on it!
For me it didn't take any of the Mystique of Little Edie, It just added new layers of understanding. I question Lois' reporting when she describes the mystical powers of Big Edie and the dead kitten.
I did find her first hand reporting on the fleas, cold, leaking ceilings and "ghosts" of Grey Gardens interesting.
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I read this a while ago in it's pre-published online version. I assume it's the same in its book form. I'd have to reread it to refresh my memory enough to really comment intelligently on it. But I can give a few impression that I was left with.

The most interesting aspect of the book, for me, was its wealth of nitty gritty detail that, as you say, is missing from the documentary. Lois' detailed descriptions of her sleeping situation and the day to day realities of living in the filth and poverty were very compelling.

I agree that Lois comes across as being similar in mental disposition to Little Edie. I guess water really does seek its own level, as they say. They both seem to be of the same paranoid/deluded nature. So the book left me with more questions than it did answers. I never took Edie at her word in the documentary and I felt the same way about Lois in this book. Who knows where the truth really lies.

Lois apparently was a contemporary and close friend of Edie's in their youth. I find it fascinating that the two of them would follow such similar paths from riches to rags. I was sorry that Lois' book wasn't more revealing about her own youth. I would be really interested to know her Pre-GG story.

Incidentaly, there are some who claim that Lois never lived there and that this book is mostly false and based on information she gathered in visits, as well as imagination. (My memory could be faulty here, but I think Jerry is one of the ones that claims this) Again, hard to tell what the truth is, but I tend to believe she was there.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
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Part of the fun was hearing the voices of Little Edie, Big Edie and Lois while reading the book as Lois included a lot of dialogue. I love Lois' flat, nasal accent. She cracks me up. Lois came across as rather self-conscious in the films which was sweet. It reminded me of Super 8 family movies where someone was being filmed and they were aware of it and trying to act like nothing was going on.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
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artscallion
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Lois provides one of my favorite moments in the sequel to the documentary. She gets quite taken aback that Edie has suggested she is a gypsy.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
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SNAFU
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I just watched the sequel again for the second time last weekend. The one really haunting shot was the church at East Hampton with everyone leaving a service and out of the crowd emerges Little Edie. It really showed how strange and out of place she was in the world. Within the walls of Grey Gardens she seems natural and her lifestyle seems almost "normal".
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Yes Snafu, that always struck me as such a haunting shot because you see Little Edie with other people. She quickly emerges from the pack and is on her way back to Grey Gardens.

Lois is cute when she corrects Little Edie who is shrieking, "the psalmist of the Hamptons is here" and Lois says, quite nonchalantly, "it's palmist, Edie."

Gotta love cousin Lois.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello