I enjoy reading (auto)biographies of a variety of people, but especially entertainers. If you were a witch in the end of the last century you might remember Ms. Horne as the author of Witch: A Personal Journey and as one member of the (truly awful) reality show Mad Mad House. She sparked a controversy of around being a 'real witch' and provoked a lot of drama. In the end, many people labeled her a 'fluffy bunny witch' and forgot about her.
She doesn't care.
Naked Witch is Horne's gift to the world at her 50th birthday. Naked is a bit of a play on words, referring obviously to her two Playboy spreads, but also to her ability to open up her life to the scrutiny of others. Herein she bares her soul, holding nothing back: her childhood of isolation and the adrenaline-fueled adventures of her rock band Def FX. When they imploded, she moved to Los Angeles, wrote several books about witchcraft, did that show, and then hit rock bottom. These days she teaches yoga and works as a pilot delivering humanitarian relief missions.
It’s painful to read about how much she hated herself, how ugly she thought she was, and how much she had to struggle. The abuse at the hands of her adoptive grandfather is dreadful, and her feelings of isolation were made so much worse because of school bullying that went unchecked and disregarded by the adults. She entered adulthood with a strong sense of self-loathing and self-destructive behaviors even while hanging out with celebrities -- auditioning for gigs with Elle MacPherson, flirting with Paul Stanley, dallying with Tom Jones -- and living what most of us think of as the high life.
I particularly appreciated how Ms. Horne took responsibility for her actions. She never sounds like a victim, even when its just bad luck that something happened to her. Her voice rings true with clear ownership and self-awareness all throughout her reminisces. Done in a writing style of confidence and clarity, I felt drawn in and had a hard time putting the book down.
This is a life of drama and excitement as well as contemplation and change. An inspiration for anyone -- highly recommended!
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Fiona Horne
Rockpool Publishing, 2017
pp. 224; $23