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What If . . .: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure Hardcover – November 12, 2013


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What If . . .: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure + I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions + The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476728607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476728605
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Almost 80, MacLaine has earned the right to do this book in a bit of shorthand. The title question leads off every topic and sometimes is just one line on a page for the reader to answer: What if we were as aware of our spiritual condition as our physical nutrition? These shorter questions run the gamut from thoughts about the Constitution to wondering if dogs reincarnate. But there are much longer answers to queries, too. What if getting a Lifetime Achievement Award turned out to be like going to your own funeral? That gives MacLaine 20 pages to riff about her American Film Institute award, who was there, what was said, and whether it was smart to wear a wig. Her take on Downton Abbey is also lots of fun. And does she mention her favorite topics—karma, reincarnation, and spacemen? Why, yes, she does! She’s heard every joke and endured the scoffing for decades now, but she hasn’t budged on her firmly held New Age beliefs. Fun and thoughtful by turns and told in MacLaine’s feisty, funny voice, this should appeal to fans and doubters alike. --Ilene Cooper

Review

“Fun and thoughtful by turns and told in MacLaine’s fiesty, funny voice, this should appeal to fans and doubters alike.” (Booklist)

“The legendary MacLaine will leave you laughing out loud while scratching your head with questions." (BeliefNet)

More About the Author

Shirley MacLaine, Oscar winner, three-time Emmy winner, and ten-time Golden Globe winner, has appeared in more than fifty films, has been nominated for an Academy Award six times, and received the Oscar for Best Actress in 1984. A longtime outspoken advocate for civil rights and liberties, women¹s rights, and spiritual understanding, Shirley MacLaine has sold more than 20,000,000 copies of her nine international bestsellers, which include her acclaimed work The Camino.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I've always enjoyed reading books by Shirley Maclaine.
Abby Kass
A good book and worth reading, I just liked some of her other books a little bit more.
Susan Moye
All in all a very clever, entertaining, and thought-provoking read.
Nancy Narma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By G G on December 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What if...we always stayed the same? I've come to expect the unexpected from her and I wasn't disappointed. As JimmyRae said, there are "tidbits" here one can miss if reading too fast. MacLaine has always savored life and shot straight. "What If" is no different. This is a treat to read, with laughs tucked into unexpected places. Can you imagine her using a Porta Potti?! The information on this country's Founding Fathers was super intriguing. Even Shirley MacLaine has problems with picky airline rules for companion dogs. While "What If" is not "Camino" or "Out on a Limb," it is still very much Shirley MacLaine. She's still dancing in the light.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By JimmyRae on November 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I got this book a few days after it debuted and was thoroughly pleased and enchanted with the wonderful questions and humorous stories she brings to share with us here. It's not a HEAVY read at all and some may miss the meat and potatoes of some other works by La MacLaine, Sadly though, these are the same folks who shall pass up this delicious dessert that she shares in this sweet and delightful read as well. I was ver pleased and have read it several times already and always find some extra tid-bit that makes me say "Hmmmm..." with a delightful grin. Thank you dear Shirley MacLaine for everything that you write and I read in such a spirit of gratitude... Its simply sublime.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zoeeagleeye VINE VOICE on January 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
People who do not like to think deeply, or use their imaginations, or stray from the 'norm,' or think outside the box will probably not appreciate Shirley's new book, "What If . . . " But if you're the type of person who loves to explore new ideas, put intellectual puzzle pieces side by side and compare them, try to figure out the larger picture, speculate on meanings and causes, then you will have a good time with "What If . . ."

MacLaine's new book is almost a compendium of what many free thinking advanced souls are ruminating about within themselves and with their friends. She runs the gamut from politics to alien DNA, carries on regarding the Founding Fathers and Downton Abbey, references an overview of past lives and life being "show business,", dwells on the spirituality of animals and the purpose of UFO's. In fact, this book could be the newest entry in adult party games for the intellectually brave and curious. You'd all gather around and then choose a page at random and read the "What if . . ." that's on it. Discussion ensues! Fun! Also involving -- and everyone would learn something and feel exhilarated. Laughter would abound except for those who would take it all so seriously. But isn't that always the way with life and party games?

One of my favorite parts was where she gave 140 definitions of "love." Some were hilarious; others profound. A few made you cry. But a brilliant chapter. Her comments on "hope" are illuminating -- and poignant in their way. And who knew the Dalai Lama had a dirty mouth?
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By shirley fan on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love all of her books but not so much this latest one. Definitely not on par with her usual in-depth writing on everything from politics to UFOs. I would say read an older book if you are a new fan. This one only scratches the surface in my opinion. An early favorite is "It's All In The Playing" and later "The Camino" if you want more interesting reading for you money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Zuri on January 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shirley, I love you. I've read all your books (I think). About two-thirds of this book did not come up to par. There was too much rehashing of your movie life, which you've already told us about in previous books (such as the studio system and your friendship with Dean and Frankie plus the Mob). The bit about your Lifetime Achievement Award was too long, although you fully deserve that award.

The best part was where you got to the more spiritual questions. It's the same questions I have ... I do not for a moment believe that a band of hairy apelike men walked out of Africa many thousands of years ago, and turned into blond, blue-eyed Nordic types, and I don't believe the anthropologists on that one. Let's say the jury is out -- but I liked your "what-if's" about the probable origins of humankind.

I expected this book, like your others, to grab me right from the start, which it didn't. But I'd say to readers who believe in reincarnation (I do) and other spiritual matters that there really are questions to ponder here. I'm just not too sure of any shift in human consciousness -- humankind seems to be getting more barbaric and stupid in many way, rather than morphing slowly to a fifth dimension ... if I understood that "what if ..." correctly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Audra Lofrano White on March 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the books I have read of Shirley Maclaine's. Except this one. Lots of questions - most I've asked myself in some manner. Lots of BLANK PAGES! The question is posed and then....NOTHING! Just a damn question. I can do that. I don't need a book for that! I would say only about 1/3 of the questions are expounded upon. I didn't expect to buy a mostly empty book. Apparently with enough time and books under your belt, you are allowed to publish something like this. Lots of Hollywood talk - if you are into that. Not enough spiritual etc. talk. If I were you, I would rent it, borrow it, bookmooch it, take your pick. I sincerely regret buying it.
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