Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dyan Cannon's "Dear Cary" a must-read

If you're a Cary Grant fan and anything like me, you probably think that Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon's relationship, marriage, and ultimate divorce was a weird mismatch of two very different (and differently aged) individuals who never belonged together. How wrong I was. Dyan Cannon's beautifully written account of their love story reveals a couple that was truly in love. Their eventual divorce was one of tragedy, and not a result of lack of love between the two.

Cannon's stories of their early romantic days together reads like a Cary Grant movie. He took an interest in her after seeing her on TV, she started dating him and slowly fell in love with him, and they seemed to be two very individual and well-matched individuals. She fell for his charm, his distinguished personality, and his humour. He fell in love with her young vivacity, her spunk, and vibrancy. And for a while, they were wonderful together. One particular comedic and lovely story involves a sick Cannon, a dressed-up Grant on his way to Frank Sinatra's dinner party, and a spilled glass of coke... read the book to find out the "punchline."

But, eventually, Grant's insecurities about marriage (he had already been married three times) and trust issues took over, and Cannon tried to overcompensate by becoming someone she wasn't, and losing her identity in the process.

Cannon desperately wanted to marry, and Grant resisted, but finally relented. It proved to be a mistake. Grant started treating Cannon differently, keeping her at a distance, instructing her what to wear, and how to act. Cannon responded by losing her identity in a desperate attempt to keep their marriage together. In the process, she became a shell of the woman she once was, and a woman Grant no longer loved. Soon after their divorce, Cannon suffered a nervous breakdown.

One positive thing that emerged out of their marriage though: their daughter Jennifer. She is the only child born to Grant, and they both loved their daughter deeply (who now has a son named Cary Benjamin).

Cannon's story is one of romance, heartbreak, and, ultimately, forgiveness and love. Before I read her book, I would have thought her opinion of Cary Grant would not be a kind one. My assumption couldn't have been further from the truth. One only needs to read Dyan's personal letter to Cary at the close of the book to realize that their relationship really was at one time the true thing, and she has no regrets or ill feeling toward the legendary and eternally loved Cary Grant.

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