Loving Mailer, Mallory, Carole, Phoenix Books, Beverly Hills, Cal. 2009, ISBN - 13- 978-1-60747-715-0, 201 pages.
Carole Mallory provides fresh insight into Norman Mailer the writer and lover in her tell-all memoir being released in April, 2010. Most of all, however, Mallory expels any doubt that she can weave a tale that holds the reader spellbound.
A former airline stewardess, supermodel, actress (The Stepford Wives, Looking for Mr. GoodBar) and celebrity journalist, Mallory reveals herself in this confessional book with an honest and often surprising look at her own and Mailer's sexuality and conversation on the art of writing. A love affair that lasted almost a decade, their story is explicit. Mallory - who is happily married today - recounts her life while being Mailer's mistress and credits him, in large part, with the writer she became.
A self-proclaimed (former) alcoholic, Mallory credits writing as her passion and recounts for the reader the time when sex played an addictive role in her life as well. As she told Larry King in a 1988 interview following publication of her novel "Flash," writing is the fourth step to recovery."
She had stopped drinking before meeting Mailer, and she even tried to get him to quit. Although he doesn't, he becomes her writing mentor.In fact, it was Mailer that convinced her to hone her interviewing skills, which later landed her interviews with Isabella Rossellini, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Lieber and Stroller, Joseph Kennedy II, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Erica Jong, Jay McInerney, Chevy Chase, Dudly Moore, Milos Forman, Gore Vidal, James Ivory, Michel Apted, Lord David Puttnam, Julian Lennon, Mrs. Vincent Astor, Jesse Jackson and, of course, Mailer himself, nine times. In addition, her novel "Flash" put her in the limelight around this same time.
"With each interview, my clout as a journalist grew and so was the use Norman Mailer could make of my skills, my connections with garnering publicity, and my place in the journalistic marketplace -- that is the magazine world -- a world unto its own," Mallory writes.
Whether one purchases "Loving Mailer" for the sexual encounters it reveals; or to gain fresh insight into
how writers learn from one another; the book is well worth the read. In this writer's opinion, Mallory is the
more exciting and revealing of the two, which might have been why Harvard University purchased her notes on the love affair for an undisclosed price.
And while sex, and even more so the lovers' interest in writing, are the glue that hold the book together;
it is Mallory herself who steals the show here. Open, tantalizing and refreshingly honest, she's a class act
who holds the reader's attention. Most likely, you'll find you can't put it down and you'll read it in one sitting.
Not only does it give a new perspective to Mailer's writings; but you'll hope Mallory herself comes out soon
with another spellbinding account of her journalistic rise to excellence.