Monday, February 13, 2012

Then Again

I have always liked Diane Keaton, and so I was a little curious about this book of hers. It turns out I liked it a lot. She first discovered that  her mother kept journals 30 some years ago, but refused to read them, not wanting to risk learning anything negative about her beloved parents. I could just see her saying, "No, no, don't want to read these." When her mother died in 2008 from Alzheimer's disease, Diane finally started reading the journals her mother had kept--over 80 of them I think--and learned that her mother (an aspiring writer and photographer) had never shared many of her thoughts and feelings. After reading the journals, Keaton decided to write this joint memoir and it is really a tribute to her mother. She weaves fragments of her mother's journals, along with photographs and parts of her mother's scrapbooks,  with her own thoughts looking back at her life.

 The narrative is kind of disjointed, going back and forth in time,  but when I thought about it, it is very much like Diane Keaton--told in that halting, unsure, wacky voice of hers. While there are glimpses into the movies and into her relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino, there is really not a lot about her movie star life. Rather she talks mostly about growing up in a loving and supportive family, her close relationship with her mother, her siblings, and the life she now has with her two children, Dexter and Duke, who she adopted in her 50s. Of course her insecurities and neuroses are there, and she talks about the eating disorder she had early in her movie life.

In one respect, Diane Keaton is just like a lot of us, she misses her mother. In the last chapter of the book she says, "It all comes back to the same old thing, Mom. I wish we could talk." So true.


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