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Journey: A Personal Odyssey Hardcover – October 4, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684815249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684815244
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There are two journeys in Mason's emotionally raw and revealing autobiography. Framing the actress's life story is her physical move away from Los Angeles and from her stalled Hollywood career to Santa Fe, where she goes to make peace with herself in 1993, with the help of the "Two Garys" (her first husband and his longtime lover). During the move, she sifts through her life with nonlinear flashbacks in what amounts to a second, inner journey. Disconnected from her violent and alcoholic parents, Mason moved to New York City at an early age to act on stage. Her first marriage, to Gary, at 23, lasted five years. Her second marriage proved somewhat more lasting. In 1973, 22 days after auditioning for Neil Simon's The Good Doctor, she and the playwright married. Simon had lost his first wife of 20 years to cancer only three months before; his unresolved grief would haunt the marriage. Shortly after their wedding, Simon told Mason he didn't want to be married to an actress, so, with a rising career and one Oscar nomination (Cinderella Liberty) under her belt, Mason gave notice on the opening night of Richard III and didn't work until Simon wrote 1977's The Goodbye Girl for her. Her complicated, loving but hurtful and frustrating eight-year marriage to Simon is the most fascinating part of her memoir. However, Mason's piecemeal recollections can be exasperating, forcing readers to wait for more details before a complete picture forms. With years of therapy behind her, Mason demonstrates a keen sense of her own conflicting inner voices, but the pace is slowed by the extensive dialogue she attributes to each of these 12 selves (e.g., Anna, her inner child; G.A., her guardian angel). This is a heartfelt and self-effacing biography of dysfunction and recovery, not a movie star memoirAbut fans will find Mason's soul-searching fascinating and her hard-earned happy ending a just reward. Agent, Esther Newberg, ICM. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Four-time Academy Award-nominated actress Mason, who has recently had a comeback with her recurring role on television's Frasier, is well known for her early movies (The Goodbye Girl; Only When I Laugh) and her marriage to, and divorce from, Neil Simon. Mason has spent a lot of time in Hollywood, yet the frame of her first book is her move from California to her current home in Santa Fe, NM. During the drive, she weaves together stories of her life with the help of 12 "interior friends," or inner voices, which the actress has named and converses with. Mason is candid in her search for wholeness, dabbling with Indian gurus, racecar driving, and meditation. Fans of Shirley Maclaine's writings (most recently The Camino, LJ 5/15/00) may enjoy this journey, but general readers may find Mason's insistence on using imaginary selves and her habit of hopping from story to story, back and forth in time, a bit confusing. Purchase where demand warrants.AKelli Perkins, Herrick P.L., Holland, MI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Andersen on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Typical readers of theatrical autobiographies will not find what they are looking for in Marsha Mason's JOURNEY. They will not find the exposes, the invasions of privacy, the "lurid" details that spice most works of this genre. Marsha's most outstanding atribute continues to be "kindness" and here she treats everyone she writes about with that virtue, plus the love and understanding that have inwardly grown with her on her odyssey through life. The dark sides of her childhood and adolescence and of her marriage to Neil Simon and subsequent divorce are not avoided but she chooses not to address the cruelty, selfishness and just plain meanness with which she was treated after that marriage ended. The false glitter of the inner world of Hollywood and what happens when it turn against one of its own is a story she has wisely chosen not to write - one that Gary Dale says needs to be told, "but by someone else." Marsha knows about bad karma.
Framed within the physical journey of her move from Hollywood to her new digs in New Mexico, these series of flashbacks are just that - brief glimpses of parts of a life that have touched many people. Almost thirty years after her star first began to rise and twenty years after it set, she is still not only remembered but deeply loved by everyone who saw in her performances a beauty, an emotional honesty and a courage that few actresses have revealed. She was and is equally adept in comedy and drama, in period and in contemporary pieces. She is an artist first and foremost. She also has never stopped working. We continue to see her in television roles and in theatrical offerings, which she interweaves with her work on the medicinal herb farm she runs with Gary Dale.
The key words in this work are courage and honesty.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By RALPH PETERS on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marsha Mason has long been one of Hollywood's most underappreciated talents. When people begin listing the best/most influential American actresses of the last quarter-century, the usual suspects arrive: Streep, Field, Keaton, Fonda. But, criminally, few mention Mason. Despite four Oscar nominations, 2 Golden Globe wins, and as fine a body of work as any of the others, Mason's recent scanty film appearances do serve as adequate reminder that she is still a force to be reckoned with.
Her book does lose a bit from the use of the alter-ego personalities that are part of her emotional make-up; though the initial use of them is charming, after a while they just seem to get in the way of the narrative. But then one wouldn't expect Ms Mason to produce a typical, trashy, self-serving bio. In fact, she is as hard on herself as any of us can be, but as with her greatest film creations (Maggie in "Cinderella Liberty" and Georgia in "Only When I Laugh"), her self-deprecation makes her even more endearing. The sections on Neil Simon and her beloved stepdaughters are honest and touching, adding even more resonance to her stunning performance in "Chapter Two"; and her relationships with the 'Garys' is frank and poignant.
Marsha Mason's body of work as an actress means a great deal to me. Her work in "Chapter Two" and "Only When I Laugh" helped me work through a very trying period in my own life and I owe her a debt of profound gratitude for this. Her book now takes its place beside them on my shelf of very special contributions from a very special actress and profoundly important human being.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on September 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Marsha Mason has always been one of my favorite actresses, mostly because she's a very likable and earnest person and it shows in her work. "Journey: A Personal Odyssey" is no exception. This is more a memoir about recovery after growing up in a dysfunctional family rather than a Hollywood autobiography. The dynamics of her relationship with ex-husband Neil Simon are particulary interesting. Mason is very forthright about herself and I can recommend this book. The only drawback is that her use of her "other personalities" gets to be a little annoying and confusing but overall this was a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John K. Crane on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew Marsha when we were teenagers and have followed her career as best I could. I can honestly say that, while we suspected she would go far as an actress, we did not know how far or, particularly, why. We never knew, but defintely suspected, that she was playing a character in her life, not a person who was dealt a bad hand. That's where her talent comes from, trying to be someone other than she really was. None of us knew in those years that she could write so well, so poetically. I now live in the same town, far from our modest neighborhood in St. Louis County. I have tried to contact her but have failed. I wanted to praise her for her courage and talent, particulary the former. We both knew Mary Frann of "Newhart," who died tragically in her sleep, before her time, in 1998. I especially was inspired by Mary, and I suspect Marsha was also. Jack Crane, Santa Fe
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jill sorce on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Poor Marsha. She won't let the director direct, she won't let the other actors act, and she doesn't understand how she came to be labeled as "difficult"?

I love actor biographies like "Shelley" or "My Side-Ruth Gordon", and this one was no exception, it was a fun, quick read and very interesting. But it is also a bit exasperating to read about someone going through life in constant "therapy". There seems to be a lot of "blame" in her psyche, she's just looking EVERYWHERE for help, but doesn't seem to offer much help to anyone in return. How can she not even remember the name of a cutie like Kirk Calloway, her co-star in "Cinderella Liberty"? Too busy whining to even do a little research for the book? Geesh, talk about misguided emotion!

Poor Marsha. She barely speaks of her sister, too busy working on herself I guess. She spends a lot of time telling us what was wrong with her parents, while she herself just seems to be longing for that "something" that her parents shared together that she hasn't been able to find in her own lifetime. Marsha has had such a blessed life in so many ways, it's too bad that she can't enjoy it all more. She's spending too much time looking for something else.
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