MIA AND WOODY by Kristi Groteke


Love and Betrayal
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 The nanny's-eye view of the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow meltdown. Groteke was a college student when hired in the summer of 1991 to help care for the younger of Farrow's children (there were nine at the time--two more were adopted during her tenure). She worked for the family during the turbulent two years that followed, when Farrow discovered Allen's affair with her daughter Soon-Yi and later accused him of molesting their seven-year-old, Dylan. Groteke is a member of Farrow's camp, but she doesn't mince words: Her depiction of the actress is not flattering. More compelling than her rehashings of the by-now familiar accusations and counteraccusations are her cannily framed snapshots of daily life in the Farrow household. Allen was often icy (he ignored most of the children) but could turn on practically irresistible charm. Farrow was part child-saving saint, part ``doormat.'' After the Soon-Yi discovery, she continued to talk on the phone to Allen as often as ten times a day, made her older children her confidants as she publicly nursed her ``broken heart,'' and contemplated taking in more children. While Groteke says she hasn't ``the foggiest idea'' of whether the molestation occurred, she highlights changes in Dylan's behavior (i.e., heightened physical modesty) that took place at the time. Farrow meanwhile vacillated between obsessive crusading and a state of depression and fear verging on paranoia (she was convinced, for instance, that her apartment was bugged). But as time passed, she regained strength and equanimity. Groteke (assisted by People magazine writer Rosen) delivers the goods: loads of telling details of a family at once genuinely loving and severely troubled. Followers of this most lurid of family feuds will find Groteke a rare source: a spankingly sensible insider whose allegiances don't seem to circumscribe what she reports.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1994
ISBN: 0-7867-0066-1
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994