Review: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century

Long title. Longer book. But worth it.

I’m 30. When I was a kid, the Elizabeth Taylor I knew sold that White Diamonds perfume and was good friends with Michael Jackson. I saw her and Burton in the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe and, like most Hollywood icons, thought she was gorgeous, but that’s about it.

When she died, I asked both my boss and my father who they thought would meet her at the pearly white gates. “Richard Burton,” they both said.

On a Facebook recommendation, I picked up Furious Love to get a better understanding of what everyone talked about between these two.

Goodness. Talk about a love hate/relationship. I don’t know if I hoped that Burton met her at the gates of heaven, or if they should still stay in their separate quarters. If Taylor were one of my friends, I’d have told her a zillion times to just stop talking to him, knowing that she couldn’t stay away. It’s a sad book, too. What if they hadn’t been so public? Or had such problems with drinking?

The book’s very sensational, and reads sometimes like an issue of a supermarket tabloid, but I guess that fits with the theme of who these people were, watched constantly, wrapped in a scandal that never quite went away. I imagine if I was an adult at the time this all happened, I’d be fascinated too.

It took me a long time to finish this book, but I’m glad I slogged through. I feel I have a better grasp on what was a fixture of pop culture for a very long time.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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