Mostly, tho, the story of her instant attraction to Claude Picasso, Pablo's illegitimate son, and her hope to at last marry a man she loved, serves as the centerpiece of the story. Picasso, she writes, "had a problem with humility, and he was insecure. He was always trying to overcompensate." Living in the shadow of the great artist, haunted by the "ghost" that was his father, Claude's insecurities also bordered on the cruel and narcissistic. With barely a backward glance, he abandons Mallory and breaks their engagement. Mallory explains that she tried to rescue men; maybe because she had always wanted to "rescue" her own father from illness and unhappiness. There seems no other explanation as to why a beautiful woman with the world of glamour and glitz at her feet could not find true love.
Woven throughout this memoir, is Mallory's admission she is an alcoholic, something she eventually conquers and overcomes in 1980 . . . her memories of comedic legend, Peter Sellers . . . her touching love for Tutu, the little French poodle that had once belonged to Claude . . . "the baby I always wanted but was afraid to have." She blames herself for Tutu's death. "I had been a negligent mother," she writes. "I was useless, irresponsible."
In the final pages, Mallory credits writing as a way to "embrace" the past and her own eccentricities and failings, as well as come to terms with the "ghosts" of her own amazing life story. Picasso's Ghost serves as an honest primer for memoir writers; not just celebrities and "beautiful people," as Carole Mallory was, but writers of the genre who desire to write a compelling story as best as they can, no holds barred, just telling it the way it was.