Welcome To My Book Blog

A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Amazon Review in Canada

Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour: Amazon.ca: Marti Rulli, Dennis Davern: Books

Although I know from Amazon's Author Central sales data that GNGS has a Canadian following, no one there wrote a review until this year. It's one worth waiting for. Also, I was surprised to see today that GNGS is in two bestselling categories in Canada...Entertainment biographies and Actor and Actress biographies: #51 in those two genres today!

Of course, Canada is our neighbor, but people loved Natalie from around the world. This reviewer in the first sentence is referring to the overwhleming American Amazon site reviews GNGS has received (thank you!) Here's the comprehensive, appreciated review from Canada:

5.0 out of 5 stars Justice For Natalie, Mar 11 2011

By Noirdame (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) This review is from: Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (Hardcover)

There's very little I can add to the excellent favorable reviews here, which sum up what this book has accomplished. It answers so many questions that family members, friends and fans of Natalie alike have pondered. I never thought I'd see the day when the mysterious and suspicious circumstances surrounding her death would ever be addressed by anyone who is in a position to know or a person who clearly has done their own research and investigating. Suzanne Finstad did an admirable job with her biography of Ms. Wood, but Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern made the picture complete and vivid. I can only imagine how difficult and frustrating it has been for them all these years to gather up the courage to get to the truth and present it to the public, with so many individuals who have something to hide or just simply don't want to know the truth.

Let me just state up front that I am first and foremost a Natalie Wood fan, and I make no apologies for it. Her talent, warmth, vitality and touching vulnerability to me makes her a Hollywood icon, but her achievements in life were overshadowed by her tragic and early death. It seems so unfair that such a vibrant and loving person's life could be snuffed out so senselessly because of a preventable tragedy. And I say preventable because it was. The man who claimed to love Natalie let her down in the worst way. To add insult to injury, the authorities did not conduct a proper investigation, in fact, witnesses who overheard Natalie's cries for help went ignored, and one of them, Marilyn Wayne, was left anonymous threats in an attempt by someone (or maybe more than one person) to ensure her silence. I don't believe Natalie's death and the circumstances surrounding it were taken seriously, and there was no doubt that many things Robert Wagner told police did not add up or make sense.

Wagner's behavior that night was disgraceful and self-serving. Natalie was afraid of water and couldn't swim, and his story about her being drunk and falling overboard while trying to tie up the dingy was shot down hard and well by Rulli. (I don't mean to exclude Christopher Walken - he must know something). Even after that terrible night, Wagner's actions have spoken louder than words, dating actress Jill St. John publicly two months after Natalie's death, his input in Gavin Lambert's pathetic attempt to glorify him in the book "Natalie Wood: A Life", and worst of all, his refusal to take any kind of responsibility for Natalie's tragic demise. I was never much of a Robert Wagner fan, but early on I did like him and feel sorry for him. It was only when I learned more about Natalie and noticed Wagner's treatment of those who question what happened that night (Lana Wood, Ginger Blymyer), that I became suspicious of him. I've become more and more convinced that Wagner doesn't give a crap about anything other than covering his own behind. The man admitted in his own autobiography that he stood outside Warren Beatty's house with a loaded gun. If that doesn't give you a picture of what he is capable of, I don't know what will.

Dennis Davern has been given a bum rap over the last decade as being unreliable or been portrayed as a drunken fame-seeker, but GNGS opened the eyes of many that he is the opposite. Davern has anguished privately for years over that night in 1981. Dennis to me showed more concern over Natalie than Wagner, the latter whom did not want the Coast Guard notified of Natalie's disappearance. Wagner continued to keep Dennis close to him after Natalie died, and then trashed him (via his mouthpiece Gavin Lambert) years later when it became clear that Davern was not going to keep his secret. Wagner's celebrity status seems to have ensured him protection (although to me he's never been more than a has-been who has made a name for himself for being married to Natalie Wood and mimicking classic actors), but Davern and Natalie's sister Lana don't have that kind of security, making it more difficult for them to get at the truth.

The image that this book has put in my mind is of Natalie's last moments, engulfed in an element that she had feared all her life, and what thoughts and images must have gone through her mind. It's painful and heartbreaking to think about, and Rulli gives us an idea of what it must have been like for her. Another thing we can only imagine is the grief of the ones who genuinely loved her and were close to her. I've heard that Lana Wood wants the case re-opened and I admire her for her courage in doing so. I think Lana and Natalie's daughters deserve to know the truth, but I don't know if Wagner will ever admit to anything or if the authorities will want to address the issue. It's long overdue and Natalie deserves justice.


  1. Marti, thanks for posting my review here (I feel very honored). I make a point of trying to post my reviews on both the Canadian and American Amazon sites. When I went to look for GNGS in stores, I was told that none of the major book outlets in Canada (Chapters/Indigo/Coles), carried it, so I had to order it. Whether that accounts for the lack of Canadian reviews (there tends to be less reviews on Amazon.ca) or not, who knows. But I found it very strange that GNGS wasn't more widely available outside of online shopping.

    I have three of the other major books on Natalie in my collection - "Natasha", Lana's book, and Gavin Lambert's agenda-obvious bore-fest (and I left less than a favorable review for that one) and I have to say as much as I liked and appreciated both Lana and Suzanne Finstad's efforts, GNGS really gives a much more complete picture of Natalie the person, as well as her last years and the events leading up to, surrounding and following her tragic and unnecessary demise.

    Hearing what people had to say about Natalie and the night she died was very much an eye-opener, especially the accounts and experiences of Dennis. I can't imagine how hard it has been for him all this time, and I really could almost feel Lana's pain, and Natalie's during her last moments.

    I'm very happy to be a member of this site and to be aquainted with you. Thanks again!


  2. Just reposted your site to facebook again Marti, so more people can read this awesome review. Thanks for sharing, Pam

  3. Thanks, Roz. I actually wrote the review in May of last year and posted it on the American site, but last month I realized I hadn't posted it on Amazon.ca. But that's okay, it doesn't matter when it was written - my views on the book and the lack of investigation into Natalie's death remains the same. I was quite surprised to see the lack of reviews for GNGS on Amazon.ca despite the lesser amount of activity compared to Amazon.com. This book should be available everywhere for people to read.

  4. Colleen, I didn't connect you with Rose-of-Sharon before! Thank you so much for your review. The reason you couldn't get the book in stores is because the president of our publishing company passed away and they recalled ALL of their authors' books. It was one huge business mess, and unfortunately, we were caught in the middle. The publishing company decided they didn't want to carry on without Michael Viner who took GNGS on. So, we had to regroup and while that was in progress, the book became available only online. Before that, we were in the major book stores. I was so shocked to learn that over 75% of ALL book sales these days goes through Amazon.com. That has really changed the literary industry.

    I appreciate it so much that you saw the truth in GNGS.

  5. Thanks Marti. That explains a lot. When I wrote in the review what a battle it must have been to get the truth out there and the book published, I had no idea just how painstaking and difficult it was. It's too bad that the publishing company didn't want to go on without Mr. Viner, however, it is good that GNGS is available online for purchase. I get quite a few of my books, DVDs, etc through Amazon. It really is a wonderful service.

    I'd been waiting for years to find something that really looked into the circumstances surrounding Natalie's death. I was so disgusted by Gavin Lambert's book and the excerpts I read of Wagner's autobiography, so it was nice to see that some people really did want to look into it (not that Finstad didn't try to, but she had limited information to work with).

    I was watching "The Mystery Of Natalie Wood" last night (I managed to obtain a DVD copy of the full two-part miniseries, which is how it aired in Europe and Austrailia, unlike the edited three-hour ABC TV movie version that aired here in North America), I found myself recalling your post about Wagner playing Michael Weatherly's father on NCIS. How ironic and strange, as you said, considering how the movie had to omit things that were in Finstad's book to avoid lawsuits, and let's face it, Weatherly's portrayal of Wagner was less than flattering. It does seem that even Weatherly himself was full of praise for Wagner which makes you wonder just how much of Wagner's celebrity status has a hand in all the protection and flattery which he does not deserve.

    Having said that, I did enjoy TMONW, especially after seeing the full version. Not that it doesn't have its flaws, but the interviews, footage, recreation of the period and such were quite good. Justine Waddell was very competent in the role, although of course, she's not Natalie, and to be honest she looks more like Natalie's daughter Natasha. Could it have been better? Absolutely. But considering the time constraints with telling Natalie's life story and the fact that they had to look over their shoulder because of Wagner, I think it's better than a lot of TV movie biopics out there.

  6. That's another thing that baffles me. TMONW was never released on the US in Region 1 DVD. It was released in Europe and Australia. Why? I have a Region 3 that was transferred to a universal setting. As Colleen pointed out, there is more to unedited version that was released in Europe and Australia. Lana Wood did not know why TMONW was not released in the USA. They made a longer version so they obviously thought there would be interest in it but why not in the USA where Natalie lived her entire life.

    Good point, Colleen, about the time factor. Corners were cut to accommodate the time factor.

    I recall Wagner saying "No one will make a movie about her in my lifetime." He must have been livid. I'm sure he had his attorneys contact ABC. He's afraid of the truth, always has been, always will be, which is why he so rarely tells the truth.

  7. Hmm, makes you wonder if Wagner managed to put a stop to the distribution of TMONW on DVD in North America.

    Interesting how through his lawyers he threatened to sue if GNGS was published, but since it has been released, not a peep has been heard from him or his representatives.

  8. Not a peep. To be honest, I sometimes wonder if he'll ever wait (or have someone waiting) outside of MY house with a gun. After all, he did take care of the Niven photographer on his own and bragged about it in his book. I'm not the only one who knows now, but I guess Dennis and myself are the reason everyone who cares to know CAN now know what happened. I would hope Wagner would realize it was in his karma and never take any "side action."

  9. Maybe he's too old to sit outside your house with a gun and hold it steady. ;-) Just kidding. I can understand why you would wonder if he'd try to harm you. He must have so much fear about what will come out after he's gone.

  10. That's a very scary thought, and all things considered, I don't blame you (or Dennis, or Lana for that matter) for being afraid, Marti. Just reading about Wagner's irrational jealousy, what happened that night and watching him in "A Kiss Before Dying" is pretty frightening and is about as close as I'd want to get (and sometimes even that seems too close).