Friday, February 17, 2012

Then Again by Diane Keaton

Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.

So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always-thinking Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. In a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother. Over the course of her life, Dorothy kept eighty-five journals—literally thousands of pages—in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself. Dorothy also recorded memorable stories about Diane’s grandparents. Diane has sorted through these pages to paint an unflinching portrait of her mother—a woman restless with intellectual and creative energy, struggling to find an outlet for her talents—as well as her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.

More than the autobiography of a legendary actress, Then Again is a book about a very American family with very American dreams. Diane will remind you of yourself, and her bonds with her family will remind you of your own relationships with those you love the most.

My thoughts:
I listened to this audio book from the library and I love how it was read by the author.  It really catches the nuances of her feelings, especially as her mother succumbed to Alzheimer's and her children entered her life.  I don't think it would have been as powerful or as moving if it had been read by someone else.

I love hearing and reading about real people and to see someone look back on his or her life and illuminate the highs and lows and a lot of the in between humanizes people who might seem like just stars.  Even stars have the problems we do, aging parents, children and their issues, weight concerns and relationships that go both right and wrong, and it can be easy to forget that when we see them onscreen and think that they must have it all.

I picked up a copy of this book to look at while browsing at a store and I loved the pictures of the journals that both Dorthy and Diane kept and I loved the descriptions of the pages and collages included in the journals.  In this time of so much more being kept electronically I sometimes miss the feel of paper and pens and pencils, of gluing in images and creating with my hands.  I used to do a lot of scrap booking, but lately I haven't and I find that I am really missing my creative outlet. 

This was a nice celebration of life and the differences from then and now, from Diane's grandparents, to her parents to how she is now a parent of young children in her 50's and 60's.  I definitely recommend the audio format!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400068784
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 304

1 comment:

  1. I will have to remember this one since I love Diane Keaton.