One of the reasons I enjoy reading celebrity memoirs is because you’re given permission into a world that typically you’re banned from seeing. I’m sure celebrities know that when they sign up to be in an industry where they’re forced into the spotlight, they’ll share facets of their life that are more personal than any normal person would ever want to share. For someone like myself that loves buying People, Us and In Touch magazine (I have no shame), celebrity memoirs feels like that particular actress/actor/singer is giving me 300+ pages of their thoughts and reactions to their life experiences. That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Diane Keaton was writing a memoir. But when I sat down to get the “inside scoop” about what really went on on the set of Annie Hall, I quickly discovered that I got much more than I bargained for while reading “Then Again“.
“Then Again” is a memoir that doesn’t just give you exposure to Diane Keaton’s rise to fame, it showcases her Mother, Dorothy Deanne Keaton Hall’s journal entries.Her Mother had always written in journals, capturing her thoughts, putting clippings of words that inspire her and sharing letters. Dorothy Hall was writing a memoir, a memoir called Memories that never got to see the light of day until Diane decided to share her words with today’s audience. What you take from Dorothy’s journal entries is a tenderhearted woman with words that will make even today’s reader take a step back and ask them the real meaning of words that we use everyday. This is by far my favorite quote in the entire book:
Finally freed from the constraints of this life, Mom has joined Dad – just as she has joined her sisters, Orpha and Martha; her Mother, Beulah; and all her dear cats, starting with Charcoal, ending with Cyrus. I promise to take care of her thoughts and words. I promise to THINK. And I promise to carry the legacy of beautiful, beautiful Dorothy Deanne Keaton Hall from Kansas, born on October thirty-first 1921 – my mother.
I spoke these worlds at her memorial service in November 2008. Mom continues to be the most important, influential person in my life. From the outside looking in, we lived completely different lives. She was a housewife and mother who dreamed of success; I am an actress whose life has been – in some respects- beyond my wildest dreams. Comparing two women with big dreams who shared many of the same conflicts and also happened to be mother and daughter is partially a story of what’s lost in success contrasted with what’s gained in accepting an ordinary life. I was an ordinary girl who because an ordinary woman, with one exception: Mother gave me extraordinary will. It didn’t come free. But, then life wasn’t a free ride for Mother either.
Her love and admiration for her Mother is depicted on every single page of this stunning memoir and the mutual admiration for Diane is evident in her Mother’s journals. Her Mother’s shares her thoughts on some of her first interviews and how proud she is of her and her other children. A bond between a Mother and a Daughter is a treasured relationship and to have these kinds of words to reflect on when your Mother has passed is a treasure.
I’ve read many memoirs, some good, some not so good, but I’ve never felt as honored as being giving 300 pages into a celebrities world as I did while reading not only Diane Keaton’s words, but her Mother’s stunning and elegant words.