By Diane Keaton (read by Diane Keaton)
(Random House Audio, Compact Disc, 9780307934017, November 2011)
The Short of It:
Warm, witty and touching. Absolutely loved it.
The Rest of It:
I am a huge Diane Keaton fan. Years ago when I was in film school, I took a series of classes on Woody Allen. I adored Woody Allen and I couldn’t help but get to know Keaton’s work as well since she appeared in so many of his films. What I didn’t know, is that they sort of had a “thing” for each other. Yes, I know…it seems so obvious but it wasn’t until I listened to her memoir that I actually believed it. Of course, her years with Woody were extremely interesting to me, but what I found most interesting was her childhood. Then Again is Keaton’s memoir, but it also functions a tribute to Keaton’s mother Dorothy Hall, who suffered from, and later died of Alzheimer’s disease.
Listening to this on audio was such a treat! It’s read by Diane herself and every time I plugged into my iPod I was taken to another time and place. She talks of her childhood and the wonderful relationship she had with her mother. She also mentions her other siblings and her father, but the real focus here is her mother, Dorothy Hall who pretty much taught Diane everything she needed to know about life and more. Here was a bright, educated woman who gave up her career to raise a family. Did she regret it? According to her journal entries which are shared by Diane, not really. She loved her family and her family was everything to her. Did she make a sacrifice? Of course, but she was a positive woman who tried to make the best of things. A trait that Diane appreciated and modeled with her own children.
As wonderful as walking down Memory Lane can be, there is a darkness that emerges as well. Dorothy Hall was a woman of many talents, but constantly struggling to find her niche. All in all, the Halls appeared to be a happy family and that was mostly due to her mother making it so. Something that Diane appreciates now, but also regrets when she realizes how lonely her mother must have been, trying to constantly re-invent herself at every turn. Diane shares in this self-doubt. Always wondering if she is good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough for anyone to want her.
In between these thoughtful moments, Diane shares stories from her career. How she met Woody, how she came to know Warren Beatty and her first impression of Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino. She talks of that famous outfit from Annie Hall and how she originally turned down the part of Erica Barry in Something’s Gotta Give. Can you imagine?
This was a wonderful memoir to listen to. I loved hearing Diane tell her own story but the parts where she discusses her mom, well… those parts brought a tear to my eye. The only downside to listening to this on audio is that I probably missed out on some great family photos. That’s okay, because it was wonderfully done and anyone who enjoys her work, loves hearing about mother/daughter relationships or anyone who has lost someone to Alzheimer’s, will enjoy and find comfort in this book.
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