Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goodbye Natalie,Goodbye Splendour (Marti Rulli;Dennis Davern)

I found this book at the library on a Saturday and was finished with it by Monday. I had seen it advertised in a magazine and had forgotten to write the title down. I have always been interested in Natalie Wood and a huge fan of her movies. The book is written from the point of view of Marti Rulli; a writer and longtime friend of Dennis Davern, the captain of the Splendour, the yacht owned by Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. I found the beginning of the book to be exceptional. Rulli told of the circumstances in which Davern became affiliated with the Wagners and his memorable time being their boat captain. An intimate friendship resulted from his employment and the close quarters spent on the Splendour. Davern creates vivid images of lovely boat trips and visits to the Wagner home in Beverly Hills. Davern reminisces about the yacht and the love he observed between Natalie and RJ. He tells of her sketching images of her daughters, Courtney and Natasha, and what a wonderful mother she was. Rulli describes the idyllic life the Wagner’s led in 1981 through the eyes of boat captain, Davern.

The final weekend of Natalie's demise is less vivid. Durban recalls events over a period of decades to his old friend, Rulli. He alludes to the fact that Natalie died from a homicide but in the end the facts are elusive. He gives some description and undergoes hypnosis but the hard, cold facts are never fully laid out. The book becomes caught up in Rulli's determination to publish a book but was I left missing a full chronology of the allegations the authors were making. In my impression, without a full disclosure by R.J. Wagner; the real truth may never be known. As a reader, that left me a little lost. Still worth a read.

*(I read this book and wrote this review in 2009 but never posted. This week the LAPD opened an inquiry into the death of Natalie Wood, almost thirty years to the day of the incident.)

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