More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood

Scribner. May 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781982111182. $28. FILM
Actress Natalie Wood drowned 39 years ago off of California’s Catalina Island while on a boating trip with her husband, Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken. Her death was ruled an accident, but there have been rumors about foul play over the years. In 2011, the investigation into her death was reopened and Wagner was named a person of interest. However, the mystery has never been solved. If readers are hoping this book will clear that up, they will be disappointed. Though Gregson Wagner, who was Wood’s daughter from a previous marriage and who has an HBO special about Wood coming out this year, touches on the speculation about her stepfather, she wants readers to know that he could not possibly have been involved. She considers him a second dad and writes glowingly of him. In fact, the entire book is a puff piece, extolling the virtues of Wood as a mother and debunking any ideas that Wood was a doomed actress. Gregson Wagner, who was only 11 when Wood died, shares her devastation at losing her mother and wonders what might have happened had she lived.
VERDICT Nothing new here about Wood. Not an essential purchase.

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