I’ve been fascinated by Anais Nin for years. I’ve always meant to read her diaries, but for some reason that’s never happened. When I saw Apprenticed To Venus as an option to review the ARC for I couldn’t help myself. This memoir is about the author Tristine whose godmother was a friend of Anais and asked Tristine to bring Anais something. This errand is what sprouted a friendship between Tristine and Anais. Tristine’s memoir is about her friendship with Anais and what it was like to be mentored by her.
I was in awe of Anais. I thought she was sophisticated, pretty, elegant, sensual and quite the muse for a number of people. Once I read this book my opinion of Anais changed. She comes across as a manipulative opportunist. Then I got to thinking aren’t we all that way to some extent? Some of us are more obvious about it than others. Anais just peppered hers with flattery and support through offering her friendship.
Tristine is enamored by Anais and yearns to be like her, to gain her approval. This brought to mind that we all have one person in our lives who we admire and want approval from. We spend our lives cowtowing to said individual and in the process we loose who we are. We are so caught up in wanting to be like this particular person our own sense of self goes right out the window. I, myself have had such a friend I was enamored with. I was so focused on getting her to like me, shower me with her praise that I ceased being me. Not until I backed away from this deep friendship did I start to rebuild who I was apart from her. It’s too, easy and convenient to fall back into the groupie mentality and not develop who are, so we can compliment the other person. This memoir explores this topic in depth and shows how much of our life can be so wrapped up in another we loose who we are as an individual for years. Lost years we can’t get back.
This book also, discussed that no matter how a close friend may wound you, you can still love them fiercely and not give up on their friendship. Tristine’s account is raw, moving and honest. Her account of Anais’ life is spellbounding. I know my thoughts about Anais fluctuated through out the book. Just when you want to throw in the towel Anais pulls you back in to insist you still love her.
If you are interested in Anais Nin I do recommend this book. It goes on sale this month on the 11th. I was provided the ARC care of NetGalley in exchange for my review.