Tag Archive: drug abuse


As the news came out this week regarding Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow’s accusation towards her father, I wondered if this affects how I feel about Woody Allen the artist. Can I support a man, artistically, who has this terrible accusation rolling about?

Poster Image

Poster Image

Currently, Midnight in Paris sits waiting to be viewed at my house. I really do love this Woody Allen movie in which Owen Wilson is magically transported to the Roaring Twenties and the ex-pats era. He meets the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Giants. Gods, really, in the literary world. To have Gertrude Stein edit your manuscript is a dream come true.

My head hurts as I think about this because I feel the same way about Roman Polanski. He is a brilliant film director, The Pianist was/is a masterpiece that made us understand the suffering of the Holocaust even more deeply. And yet, Polanski has not been in this country for over 30 years because he is accused of drugging and molesting a 13-year-old girl.  Other girls/women have made similar claims against him. PianistEven being a Holocaust survivor cannot gild that fact over.

Pedophiles. We scorn them, hate them and never want to believe their victims. Who could do such a thing to a young child?

Who wants to believe that a priest, a coach, a trusted friend, a parent could ever do such a wrong to a child?

We don’t so we give that person a pass. They move on to a different job, a different family, a different child.

Philip Seymour HoffmanWhat about Philip Seymour Hoffman? Does our image of him as an actor/artist change because now we know about his heroin addiction? We know on the morning he was supposed to be picking up his kids for a day of fun, he started it off with getting high. We can laugh about parents who need wine to deal with their kids. But really, did Phil need that high so badly? Was he a bad person because the fix was sooooo important to him – beyond kids, beyond personal relationships, beyond work?

Heath LedgerIt gives me flashbacks to Heath Ledger – so talented, so young, so driven. His were legal prescription drugs but still, too many are too many. Like Hoffman, Ledger and his companion, Michelle Williams, were on the outs because of his addictions. Knowing these people cannot function without their drugs, does that change my mind about their work, their artistry?

The same goes for Hemingway. I know his reputation – the boozing, the women, the multiple wives. But as I read A Movable Feast in which Hemingway examines his Paris years, I find myself liking him and enjoying his writing. I want to get to know him better, I want to know his opinion about other writers. While I dislike Hemingway personally, I see what draws people to him. He has style, he Movable Feastlikes fun, and he is not afraid to get into a fight. When Hemingway writes about why a young boy should always carry a knife, it makes me realize his homophobia might have had some real basis to it.

Back to the original question – Does an artist’s personal life affect how we view their art?

As much as I want to say ‘yes,’ the truth may be more of a ‘no.’ I enjoy the work of Allen and Polanski, of Hoffman and Ledger. Their abilities have a certain pull, a certain truth about them. I would have never said I feel the same about Hemingway till I started reading this memoir.

When it comes to the person, I cannot say the same. Allen and Polanski have such allegations that are reprehensible. Hoffman, Ledger, and Hemingway fought against a different demon – one of addiction that most will tell you is a battle royale with addiction being the victor most of the time. The latter three I can excuse or make exceptions. But of the first two, I cannot.

I probably will watch movies by Allen or Polanski again but I will always think about their predatory behavior as well and wonder how this has affected the movie I am watching.

If that is the case, then the answer will always be yes. I might be able to make excuses for some. But knowing what I know, I will always look for clues of those unearthed secrets in their works. I will wonder if there weren’t signs of it before the accusation.

I will always wonder.

Welcome to those on the CLP blog tour of Unexpecting by Lori Verni-Fogarsi.

After the review stay a while and find a great easy recipe for supper or walk through my garden to see what is blooming this month. As for the regulars who come all of the time, you know where the tea cups are stored. Find your favorite and let’s get into this book.

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Image from Chick Lit Plus

So, some of us knows what it feels like to finally have kids out of the house or just about out of the house. You plan a great vacation for just you and the spouse. You buy a white couch. And you count down the days until that moment of peace with kids out of the house.

That is until a child shows up with no place to go, claiming to belong to your spouse. She comes along with a big drooling dog and a pregnant belly a month away from delivery.

Holy mid-life crisis not of your making.

Well, that is exactly what happens to Shelley and David who are both on their second marriage. They have been married about 10 years, raising their combined family of 4 children, the last of whom is a senior in high school.

But with Alexandra’s arrival, the finish line suddenly disappears. While she is a senior in high school, she is no where near being ready to handle the huge responsibilities that await her. Worse yet, she will drag the family through trauma they never expected.

The situation feels very real as this family goes through highs and lows from dealing with Alexandra’s issues as well as other family members who are trying to find their way. In that way, I appreciated the book for being real and honest, for not just focusing on Alexandra and what her inclusion does to the family.

Image from CLP

Image from CLP

The other part I like was how the parents dealt – or didn’t – with the problems brought on by Alexandra. A marriage gets rocked and both sides have to figure out what is most important to them.

So here is the long of the short – would I read it again? I think the answer is yes because I like Shelley to certain extent and I feel for her in a problem that was not her making.

Shelley did not ask for Alexandra’s mother to die, she did not expect David to do some of the things he did. Nor did she expect to have to be the tough guy.  She and David have a great marriage but when the going gets rough, suddenly he is acting like a dofus, forgetting how she has been there for him through the years.

Perhaps that is what bothered me the most, characters getting a little out of character. Some of the characters went in directions that seemed totally out of their normal routines. And yet, does that not happen to all of us when life throws a curve ball? We act a little crazy and reject those around us? That I can understand while not liking it one bit.

What perplexed me the most was the emotional buffer in this book that I or the characters could never break through. I could see their pain but never touch it. Alexandra – with all of her teenage drama and justifiable but unnerving angst – may have been the truest character.

In the end, the journey was worth the ride. We watched a couple make the next steps towards redefining their lives as well as slowly accepting a new person into their lives. Life, as it turns out, is never really all that boring.

Lori Verni-Fogarsi has been an author, speaker, and small business consultant since 1995. She has been featured in major media including Lifetime Women’s Network, the My Carolina Today Show, and Boston Globe Forums Live.

 Her public speaking has occurred at many prestigious venues including North Carolina State University, Nassau Community College, and many more.

She has received two awards for her novel, Momnesia, and her nonfiction, Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogscontinues to be one of the most highly recommended in its genre since 2005.

 Lori is a happy married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Originally a native New Yorker, she now divides her time between Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA.

She is very excited about the release of  Unexpecting, and looks forward to her book tour, interviews, launch parties, and other festivities!