Then Again/Diane Keaton: Reflections

Friday, March 2, 2012

One not insignificant measure of the goodness of a book is how long we read without looking up.  I read Diane Keaton's Then Again from the time I left 30th Street Station until the time I reached Penn Station in New York yesterday.  Then eagerly settled back in on the way home.

Celebrities tend to write autobiographies.  Diane Keaton didn't.  She wants to understand who her mother is, how her mother shaped her, and what kind of mother she herself is now, and to do this, Keaton artfully poses the right questions and, taking risks, leaves aside that which does not matter.  She is quiet, unassuming, funny, graceful, and one believes she is telling the truth. She did not write to entertain us, per se.  She takes no easy pot shots.  She gives us the men she loved for the reasons she loved them.  She gives her yearning, sometimes depressed, slowly fading mother the room for her own story.  Keaton writes because she is one of us.  She writes to find her way.  This is not a book of quips or anecdotes or gossip.  It's life, and it's beautifully rendered.

From the early pages:
The state of being a woman in between two loves—one as a daughter, the other as a mother—has changed me.  It's been a challenge to witness the betrayal of such a cruel disease while learning to give love with the promise of stability.  If my mother was the most important person to me, if I am who and how I am largely due to who and how she was, when then does that say about my impact on Duke and Dexter?  Abstract reasoning is no help.


bermudaonion said...

Keaton spoke at BEA last year and I was so moved by her words, I was sobbing. I can't wait to read this book.

Becca said...

Oh my, another great recommendation for reading. This sounds amazing.

Serena said...

I cannot wait to read this book. I'm on hold for this one at the library.

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