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Lauren Bacall: By Myself Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1985

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"In a word, LAUREN BACALL BY MYSELF is of the real-life heroines of our time...and she wrote this book as she lived it."
"She's a real Joe. You'll fall in love with her like everybody else."
-Humphrey Bogart

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345333217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345333216
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
She was the husky-voiced rising star, and he was the grizzled veteran. While "Laurel Bacall: By Myself" covers much of Bacall's life, the centerpiece of it is her marriage to Humphrey Bogart. Here Bacall reflects back on her eventful life, relationship and how things are for her since.
Teenage Betty Bacall first saw Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca," and decidedly did not think he was sexy. But she started to think otherwise when she became a rising model-turned-starlet in Hollywood, a nervous budding It-girl. She met and befriended Bogart, then trapped in an alcoholic, abusive marriage with a woman he didn't love.
Their friendship quickly become a hidden love affair, despite their age difference. After his divorce from third wife Mayo, the two of them married and had two children, until Bogart's untimely death of cancer. Bacall chronicles her sorrow at his loss, and her life "by herself."
Bacall does a good job with this biography. She writes her own life story as a smart but insecure woman who isn't afraid to reveal her embarrassments and flaws. She comes across as a lot stronger than she believes herself to be, though she falters quite a bit in middle-age. At times Bacall may frustrate readers by being somewhat clueless about her own relationships and marriages (drinking and marital discord).
"By Myself" is not exceptionally written, however; the style is quite plain and lacks quite a few details. Bacall compensates somewhat with her dry, self-deprecating wit and forthrightness. There's a bit of lingering displeasure with some people like her ex-husband and Bogart's ex-wife Mayo, but Bacall keeps any negative feelings strictly reined in, and her discreet.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A. Eby on June 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Neither judgmental nor defensive, "Lauren Bacall, By Myself" is the best autobiography I have ever read. Extensive and quite well-written, it covers so much ground that fans of the old Hollywood and Broadway days will doubtless love this book whether they particularly like Bacall herself or not. I liked the fact that she did not divide the book into chapters; life is not that way and reading this bio is just like stepping into Bacall's life and seeing it with your own eyes. Cleverly titled (am I the only one who senses a double meaning) and full of life, "Lauren Bacall, By Myself" is a literary achievement for Bacall and a great pleasure for any reader.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Davidson on July 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was interesting view into Lauren Bacall's life - it seemed very candid. A peek into the world of Humphrey Bogart's life, his love for drinking, sailing, acting and Lauren. Her love affair with Bogart starting at such an early age, she grew up depending either on her mother or Bogie, never really experiencing life on her own until Bogie died.

She recounts many aspects of her life such as how Bette Davis played a role in her beginning and how being Jewish had an impact on her life at that time. All through her highs and lows she had an inner strength that kept her going, a remarkable woman.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The biggest reason to read this autobiography is to learn about one of the greatest showbiz romances, between film stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren (Betty) Bacall. It culminated in marriage, movies and children together, lasted 11 years, and only ended because of Bogart's death in his late 50s due to cancer. In and of itself, that is a wonderful story that any woman especially will adore. There are many other pleasures in this book though. Bacall recalls her growing up years with an extraordinary mother and close knit Jewish extended family that saw her through every milestone of her life, including her mother's showing up at a college campus to find Bacall's son when needed. She was a great beauty from the start and got her career going with modeling that ultimately branched off into acting. She also recounts her successes on the stage and her romances with Frank Sinatra (very odd) and Jason Robards, who she married and later divorced. She has two children by Bogart and one by Robards and touches on them as well.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on November 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never considered myself a Lauren Bacall fan but having recently rewatched To Have And Have Not, her film debut, I became intrigued about her and Bogart so I picked up this book after reading such positive reviews here at Amazon.

Well, was I surprised. First this is a very well written autobiography that demonstrates a keen intelligence and a reflectiveness on the past that is truly admirable. It is also incredibly honest and not just a recitation of a Hollywood star's accomplishments.

From Bacall's youth in New York where she tried desperately to find a place in the theater to her ultimate return to the stage as a star after spending years in California as Mrs. Bogart and raising a family, every stage of her life is well examined.

Bogart emerges as a truly good guy, not perfect but clearly they were a great match despite the obvious age difference.

Some of the episodes in her life with Bogart have the added quality of capturing a period in Hollywood and the film industry that is long gone. Bacall isn't and doesn't need to be a name dropper but so many famous characters pop in and out of her story that it is a virtual who's who of 1940's Hollywood.

What I initally picked up as a casual read turned into something much deeper. Lauren Bacall , who I knew little about before reading this is a woman who I came to really like as a result of this book.

Well written and well worth checking out for filmfans, fans of Bogart or anyone interested in acting and theater and the celebrity life of the 40's and 50's.
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