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Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307719308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307719300
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Letter from Author Meredith Baxter
For about fifty of my 63 years, (that’s 79.365079365079% of my life) I was miserable. I thought I’d been a victim for most of it and, consequently, was pretty sure I was not to blame. I could save the blame for all the others who had conspired (so it seemed) to keep me down. I was the saddest girl you’d ever met and probably would have lived out my days in that sadness had I not experienced the miracle of a change in my thinking.

I thought that was worth writing about--the lessons I’ve learned--because they’ve been so many and so profound. I had to learn that, although I was indeed the center of my own life, I wasn’t necessarily the center of the lives of others. Most of you know that within your first decade, but I just took my time.

My book is about the price I paid for being so self-centered, where it all took me and how I broke the cycle of thinking that was so disastrous for me. Of course, along the way, I talk about my family, my career, my marriages and children, Family Ties and many movies. I talk about infidelity, domestic abuse, divorce, devastation and drinking my way through a few movies.

Once I get sober, all sorts of fun things start to happen. I get some great movie roles. I get married yet again. I get breast cancer and another divorce. Then, I realize I like girls. Finally, all’s well in my world and because all of these changes are so surprising and happening so fast and I don’t want to forget any of them, I decide I better write it all down.

A Look Inside Untied


Meredith in Hollywood, 1956

Bridget Loves Bernie publicity shot

Family Ties publicity shot

The twins and Meredith reading on the beach

About the Author

Meredith Baxter has been an actor for 40 years and has five children.  She achieved early success in the comedy Bridget Loves Bernie; the acclaimed ABC drama Family and the popular NBC sitcom Family Ties. Baxter makes appearances speaking on breast cancer, domestic violence, alcoholism and general life experiences.  She lives in Santa Monica, California with her partner, Nancy Locke. 

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

I completed this book in under two days, I just couldn't put it down!!
AJ
She exposes herself to us by telling us how she is or was feeling in those moments in time so we can either learn from them or relate to them.
demeter1957
So happy for you Meredith, thank you for sharing your life story with us.
cathy brouillet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Marian A. Floyd on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Untied Ms. Baxter reaches out to all the women who suffer silently in lives that they feel they are trapped in. She writes of hope and love. She readily admits to her mistakes and her short-comings. It is a wonderful read and I enjoyed it in hardback and bought the audio copy because I have always loved her voice. The people who don't like this book are just not clued into what life is like for a woman who is trapped by a marriage or a life that is suffocating them. It takes a great deal of confidence to leave the security of what you know for the uncertainty of what you don't know. When self-esteem is not denegrated and smashed under the weight of the words of someone who is supposed to love you, it is difficult to realize that you really are valid. Thank You for making many abused women feel validated.
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Format: Hardcover
Most potential buyers of this book are likely to remember Meredith Baxter as the mother in Family Ties. But I also recall her from Family and Bridget Loves Birney (she married Birney). For awhile she seemed to be a staple for various tv movies. She did have some big screen appearances (including All the Presidents Men) but she is probably far better known as a television actress, particularly in roles centered around families.

In this memoir, Baxter opens up and reveals the person behind the persona. I'm drawn to memoirs and found this one totally engaging. It isn't a prettified or glossy overview but an open take on Baxter's childhood (rough), marriage (also rough) and her drinking problem (it took its toll).

When I watched her on television, I thought Baxter seemed to have a hard, no nonsense edge as well as a slight underlying vulnerability. She didn't come across as an ultra feminine sex symbol but definitely a reliable character actress, particularly in family dramas or comedies.

After reading Untied, I can't help wondering if her edginess was bolstered by her alcoholism. At one point she was drinking so often that she was sometimes bluntly told that she couldn't have wine on the set. She engaged in reckless behavior, although I'll leave it to readers to learn those details.

While Baxter could be rock solid in her acting career, her personal life was far more turbulent, starting from childhood. The bumpiest moments in her marriage to Birney included some revelations that I won't put in here or they would be major spoilers. She had a deep health scare at one point. She felt inferior to her college educated husband.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By B. Billerbeck on March 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought the reviews of this book were unfair. I think it's hard to feel for Meredith for her choices, but easier when you understand she didn't know she had any. She wasn't raised to have them and so she married someone who gave her none. Whether or not you like her choices, you have to give her credit for being honest about the mistakes she's made.

The kind of abuse she alleges with David Birney is very hard to see from the outside. It's insidious and gets at the core of a woman's being, so the fact that she had five kids and became paralyzed by fear in the marriage makes sense to me. I watched a relative go through this same thing. The man always came out smelling like a rose while she looked crazy, but it's the snide little comments that wound a woman's soul.

She told this story for others who won't recognize their being abused and I commend her for it. I wasn't as interested in her career highlights or her conversion to a lesbian, but I found her childhood, marriage and battle with alcoholism (especially the fact that she didn't recognize it in herself) fascinating.

This book will help other women, and so even if you can't see her struggle and identify with it, I think it was good she wrote it for herself.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By caught inside on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read the reviews for this book before I got it from my library yesterday. I almost did not pick it up due to the 1 star reviews....I prejudged and decided not to bother.... I am very glad I changed my mind.
I read this book in about 12 hours.... it struck a deep cord with me reading about her self-esteem, intimacy, communication and relationship issues, and devastating interactions with the men in her life... Too much of what she told was too familiar personally for me... painfully so. I don't believe she overstated any abuse issue with Birney or the problems being married to him. I thought she as extremely fair and balanced discussing the problems she encountered with him and the other men and women in her life.
Why anyone would say she lied or blamed others for her troubles is truly beyond me....she took responsibility for everything. Knowing your self is one of life's most difficult challenges. She achieved this. I commend her for it. I recommend this book to any women looking for insight.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amy Carpenter on March 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Meredith Baxter's, as well as someone who has had experience with many of the topics that she touches upon in the book, I've looked forward to reading her memoir ever since I heard she was writing one. I found the book well-written, thought-provoking, and engaging.

Contrary to the picture painted by the media, as well as some of these reviews, I did not come away from this thinking that the book is an assault on Birney; he is just one part that the media ran with because it made good headlines. Baxter discusses the psychological and physical abuse, but she also lays claim to her responsibility---that she took on the role of the victim and was, therefore, victimized further, time and time again in her life. Many of us who have endured troubled relationships understand this, which is why the book resonates with so many women. The dominant impression I am left with at the end of the book is a positive one for Baxter, a woman who has learned from her mistakes and is now reaping the benefits of becoming self-aware, rather than a negative one for Birney.

At any rate, I found Untied to be a great read. Baxter's conversational writing style is difficult to put down; it's like having tea and talking with a friend, and I was sad that it had to end. Her voice---insightful, yet witty and down-to-earth---is so clear from the beginning. She doesn't take herself too seriously, but the confidence she's gained to be where she is now in her life shines through.
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