by Sara Gay Forden
Ok. For those of you who saw my last review – you’ll know I recently joined a book club. Doing my best to expand out into the many different genres of literature, instead of holed up obsessively reading Stephen King. House of Gucci was definitely different. And I’ll start this review off by saying that I turned it off 4-5 times in the beginning before I finally committed on the grounds that I didn’t want to be the only person who didn’t read it… but keep reading because my own ignorance is really to blame.
Admittedly, I was disappointed at the start. Mainly because the cover says murder! madness! glamour and greed! I got murder right away & it seemed like it would be a story of who-dun-it. I was ready… and then… I got lost. Suddenly I was listening to painstakingly detailed accounts, and conversations of every member of the Gucci family & others! I was so disappointed & I kept waiting for the madness to follow the murder but it just seemed to go on and on and on.
Though at this point I should admit, I had no prior knowledge of Gucci, or the history behind the story I was listening to so my ignorance on the subject & having done zero prior investigating into the book (I simply started listening blindly) makes my initial thoughts unfair. Had I even read a description I would have immediately understood this was historical nonfiction & would have braced myself.
So far it sounds like I hated it, which is not true. Once I realized I was in for about 15 hours of a historical documentation of the Gucci brand, family & those surrounding both, I began to really listen and I was actually really impressed. The writing was very well done, it was obvious a lot of research and care went into the book & that alone had me interested. I’m not sure I wanted to know more about Gucci as much as I wanted to know more about the people involved, if that makes sense. So much drama between family & spanning across generations, I felt sad at the end for a legacy that had such humble & honest beginnings could so quickly (it felt) be mismanaged and turned into something else entirely.
As I listened to the story on audiobook, it wasn’t until our Book Club meeting that I saw the physical copy & realized there were a dozen or so images that I never got to see. I was glad to put faces with names though I don’t think I could’ve actually read the hard copy. I still dont think I would have picked this book, but I’m not unhappy that I read it. It’s like having unnecessary data in my brain for if I ever go on jeopardy!I mean… there was a whole chapter about Tom Ford… interesting but did nothing for the murder & madness that I was promised when I saw the cover. After Book Club I looked into the actual murder of Maurizio Gucci & felt like the author really missed the mark on telling this story. This was a historical documentation of the brand & family and much less about his murder. Maybe I missed the point?
This story is being made into a movie set for release November 2021 in the US. Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Gucci.
I listed to this as an audiobook, find it on Audible. The narrator (Fajer Al-Kaisi) did a great job capturing the different characters, I never felt confused about who was speaking. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fashion, historical nonfiction, or similar.