By Myself and Then Some

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3 thoughts on “By Myself and Then Some

  1. 27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    An Extraordinary Autobiography, February 23, 2006
    D. A Wend (Arlington Heights, IL USA) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

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    I grew up with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and one of the books I enjoyed as a teenager was the short biography of Mr. Bogart by Joe Hyams. One of my great pleasures was seeing Lauren Bacall in Applause when the show was touring in Chicago. I have not read Ms. Bacall’s book about Humphrey Bogart but when I saw her being interviewed about her current book – By Myself and Then Some – I got a copy immediately,

    The book is written in a conversational style that works very well. It is as if Betty Bacall were speaking to you, relating the story of her life. At first, I did not find quite as absorbing as I thought but as I began the story of her relationship and marriage to Humphrey Bogart, I could not put the book down. The story of Mr. Bogart’s illness and death made me feel as if I had been a witness to his pain and suffering. I learned quite a bit more than I had even thought about “Betty and Bogie’s” relationship and certainly much more about life with Jason Robards. I was very impressed on how Ms. Bacall was able to convey her emotions in her book. One comes away from the devastating deaths of Bogie and her mother with a real sense of the loss and the pain of her divorce from Jason Robards becomes your own. But there are also the triumphs, like Betty’s winning her Tony award for Applause that are joyously written. I also enjoyed reading about her close relationships with her children and her devotion to them and the times that she wanted to do more. The stories Ms. Bacall relates about friends, like Roddy McDowell, are interesting and poignant, and in the latter case especially an introduction to someone I would like to have known.

    It is disappointing to see that some reviewers gave this book one start because of Ms. Bacall’s critical remarks about George W. Bush, which amount to a paragraph. Yet, again, we have an example of dissent being treated as disloyalty and someone’s opinion being dismissed out of hand.

    This is an honest autobiography, as one would expect from Ms. Bacall with not a boring page in it. There are many excellent photographs, many in color, that helps to add a family album qualtity to the book. If one has enjoyed her career on stage and screen you will want to have this book. Highly recommended.

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  2. 40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Loved it! I loved her honesty and frank writing., March 3, 2005
    F.Faulkner “F.F.” (Hartford, CT USA) –

    Ms. Bacall surprised me as an insightful, funny, real down-to-earth human being!

    I always thought of her as this aloof ice-princess… tall, blonde, gorgeous, ethereal… marrying THE hunk of the day, having children by him, marrying Robards, more children, etc. But I was wrong. This is a real woman married as a child. Mr. Bogart truly fell in love with a mere child who grew up fast as a wife and mother and then was alone. Ms. Bacall describes the events following Bogart’s death with incredible depth and realism. Those feelings are exactly what any young, widowed mother would feel. Especially being woo’d by Sinatra. I applaud her for being able to see he was not for her.

    How can you not fall in love with this memoir? Such honesty is refreshing in a time when the comments from stars of the day are so censored and so carefully controlled. There’s no honesty anymore, everybody’s afraid to speak the truth. It’s awful.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my four sisters and my Mother.

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  3. 20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Put aside your expectations; this is not your typical star autobiography, July 30, 2005
    C. Keene “ThinkingCaps” (California, United States) –

    Everyone has their preconcieved ideas & expectations of someone as famous as Lauren Bacall. Put them aside for a day or two while you read this book, for Lauren Bacall let’s you see inside her PERSON; she shares an intimate portrait of a life. She will be the first one to admit the luck (and gratitude)she feels, to have shared her life & enduring friendship with people who to all of us are only icons. As with her own life, her friends are those whom we’ve only glimpsed in their public personnas. We have seen them and devoured their movies and their “private life” in the arena of the world press.
    Lauren Bacall shares her life, her fears, her triumphs, loves and friends with you in a setting so personal, so intimate, that you feel you actually share a kinship with them as you read this autobiography. That is the great thing about this book. She puts herself out there for you to care about or not, she offers no apologies for any choices she has made.
    From the time she was a small child growing up in New York, Betty (her real name) knew she wanted to be an actress. She was the child of an immigrant family from Romania and an American father who was absent from her life totally, to all intents and purposes. Her mother tried to love her enough to make up for any lack on his part, and her mother’s family were devoted to loving and caring for her too. So surrounded by love but little in the way of worldy goods, she turned to her inner strength and her imagination. Some of that inner strength came from not having a father, but knowing he was “out there somewhere”, but did not care about her, some of it came for the poverty and want she experienced in her childhood. Both her reserves of inner strength and determination would serve her well throughout her entire life to the present day. She is now 80 years old as this book ends and very much her own strong and inspirational woman.
    She was “discovered” by Howard Hawks who saw her modeling in an ad for the Red Cross which ended up on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. As was the case in those days of the studio system, she was brought to Hollywood and groomed to portray a certain kind of woman, a fantasy of Howard Hawk’s design. No one really cared back then, who you really were on the inside, they tried to mold you into a hot commodity. Bacall, an innocent, had entered into the “star system” of glamourous & smoldering sexuality and contractual servitude.
    In the same sort of way as what happened to Orson Welles, her first picture thrust her into the straosphere of stardom on the screen and into the imagination of the American people. She reached a pinnacle while still in her youth. Yet Lauren Bacall managed to make for herself a lasting and lifetime career of spectacular achievement, not even dreamed possible by female actresses of the time from that luminous beginning. She is still making films, has starred on Broadway & stages of the world (both in musicals and dramas), acted on live television, appeared in mini-series’, and written a remarkable book. In her tenacity she will try anything (despite her fears and insecurities) and that attitude has served her very well.
    Before going to Hollywood, she had put herself “out there” countless times in her attempts to make her dreams & ambitions become reality. She had the courage to try anything and to put herself in the right place at the right time. Well before she ever was brought to Hollywood, she made what would be some of the most lasting friendships (and connections) in her life. She knew Burgess Meredith, John Carradine, Diana Vreeland, George S. Kaufman and many, many others from those golden days of Broadway in New York. They shared a mutual respect for one another, trusted one another and loved their chosen vocation.
    During the making of her first movie, she met and fell in love with Humphrey Bogart. He was married at the time to a self destructive and viciously jealous alcoholic (who died after Bogart & Bacall were married). Bogart was resigned to spending the rest of his life in a loveless marriage with this woman because he felt her owed it to her to stick it out, no matter what.
    Although surrounded by true friends, Bogart hungered for a more fulfilling life. When he fell in love with Bacall, he could not help himself from feeling that she was what he needed to fill the emptiness his personal life had become.
    Lauren Bacall writes honestly and lyrically about their love and their life together. She marries Bogie and gives him a home and children and all the love he could ever need. He gives her a life of undreamed glamour and luxury and entree’ to a world she’d only fantasized about. He shares honestly with her his way of dealing with those who wish to use you toward their own ends. He teaches her the “ropes”. He lives in honesty and pragmatism. She learns survival from him. Their marriage was a meeting of two forces of life; they…

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