From Publishers Weekly
Raised by her wise and loving immigrant mom and uncle, Lauren Bacall (b. 1924) knew, even in high school, that she wanted to be an actress. She took acting classes, modeled clothes, sold industry papers in the theater district, ushered at shows, danced at the USO—anything to get a break. Barely 18 when director Howard Hawks brought her to Hollywood for a screen test, she soon fell in love with Bogart, married and started a family. After Bogart's death a decade later, she rebounded with Sinatra, but tied the knot with Jason Robards before finding her way as a single woman, with friends and work as her passion. Bacall's intimates—from Katharine Hepburn to Adlai Stevenson—weren't the standard air-kissing, gossip-column regulars, but people who loved and respected each other for their work and their values. Sadly, like Bogart, they're also of a generation older than Bacall, so there's a lot of dying in these pages. Indeed, this sequel to 1978's By Myself is mostly a discussion of the deaths of some great friends: Roddy McDowall, John Gielgud, Gregory Peck and many more. Bacall does discuss the roles she's played as an older actress, but this work's real theme is the experience of surviving the death of so many wonderful friends. Readers looking for basic Hollywood romance and drama can stick to the first 400 pages; those seeking a more mature portrait can brave the final 100. Either way, Bacall's a class act. Color, b&w photos. (Mar. 1)
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Expanding on her best-selling 1979 autobiography, By Myself, Bacall entertains with her signature breathy prose, straightforward manner, and unmatchable style. The past is more elaborately drawn out, and the intervening 25 years add maturity and worldliness to this most respected of Hollywood icons. Much of what's discussed anecdotally in her 1994 book, Now, is delved into in more detail here. While readers will find Bacall's recollections of her days of hobnobbing with Bogart, Hepburn, and other stars of Hollywood's Golden Age as captivating as always, even more appealing are her personal stories--stories of family and single motherhood, of hope and tragedy. As a celebrity and as a woman, Bacall was always a bit more independent than the times usually allowed, but what shines through is her generosity and giving nature. She shares how her love for FDR and her travels to many foreign lands helped shape the bittersweet relationship she now has with the U.S., which, she feels, while making so many great strides toward inclusion and human rights, has also taken many steps backward in these and other areas. Certainly more intelligently written than your average celebrity autobiography, this memoir tells a fascinating story of one woman's journey through life with an intimacy that's sure to engage legions of readers. Mary Frances Wilkens
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