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A Bittersweet Look Back...And Ahead
on April 25, 2014
Diane Keaton follows up her book, "Then Again," which was a look back at her own life, but especially viewed through the eyes of her parents' marriage and family life in southern California. She returns with "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty," a book ostensibly about the difficulties of aging, compounded by her career (actress). This book doesn't stop at surface observations or pity one-liners, it is a complex and deep book about the life we think we should have versus the life we actually have, and is a celebration and examination of beauty in all its definitions and the struggles girls face beginning with the understanding of "beautiful" versus "pretty." From stories about Diana Vreeland to a philosophical jaunt to Victoria's Secret with her teenage daughter who has a $200 gift certificate burning in her pocket, this book is full of thought-provoking inspiration and humor.
What I also find the book to be is a free-form, artistic offering of reminiscences and realizations, regrets and observations of a life filled with challenges, disappointments, and some joy (thankfully). This is a melancholy book, of a woman with loss (her parents, lovers) but also a steely determination to Be Herself, an extraordinary accomplishment in itself, but particularly in the milieu of Hollywood. What I love best about this book is Keaton's bravery at showing her vulnerability from youth to today, which can be viewed in the world as a liability but at its essence is the secret to her enduring success and connection with audiences the world over. A thoughtfully wrought, creative, and illuminating view of an artist and a woman.