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My Mother's Keeper

3.01  ·  Rating Details ·  287 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
'There's only one way for a female to be recognize in this man's world ... and that's to fight every inch of the way. You can never stop fighting. I fought and I'm still fighting and I'll be fighting until my dying day' -- BETTE DAVIS

Hollywood always liked its female stars to be feminine, agreeable and pretty. Bette Davis was never a typical Hollywood star. She was tough,
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published December 31st 1985 by William Morrow & Co (first published 1985)
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Michael Thomas Angelo
May 03, 2009 Michael Thomas Angelo rated it did not like it
When this book was published, I was in the 6th grade and I snapped it up immediately upon encountering it in a hotel convenience store while vacationing with my parents at the Epcot Center in Miami Florida. It provided great reading for the airplane trip home.
I was already a long time Bette Davis fan by the time I read this book at age 12. I was shocked and appalled at the author's assertions and not at all sympathetic having already read and sympathized with Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawfor
Apr 05, 2008 Carol rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies
Oh, bitch bitch bitch. Apparently B.D. Hyman saw Joan Crawford's daughter cash a big paycheck for her tell-all and thought she could play the woe-is-me card too. But I ended up feeling more sympathetic toward Bette than B.D. Glad I borrowed it and didn't add to B.D.'s payday.
Jun 15, 2008 Cher rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of tell-all biographies
Shelves: biography
I fully and freely admit it: I love tell-all bio and autobiographies. This one is written by the only biological daughter of Bette Davis. She is a born-again Christian who rails more about her mother's poor cooking and obnoxious behavior with waitstaff than she does her chronic and destruction alcoholism.

The title of this autobio is actually inappropriate because nowhere in the book is there any description of Bette Davis' daughter ever actually taking care of her mother, "keeping" her. In fact
Apr 24, 2012 Shirley rated it did not like it
Shelves: a-bio-bio
I gave the book one star due to the fact I didn't much care for BD Hyman. I read the book in 1986 and what I remember is that upon completing the book, I thought, gee, wish Bette Davis would have been my mother. I found the author self absorbed, and unkind to a woman who gave her evrything. There are no perfect parent; my heart goes out to all the children burdened with drug and alcohal enduced parents. One other fact is that the author couldn't wait until her mother passed away to publish the b ...more
Diane Smith
Dec 10, 2013 Diane Smith rated it did not like it
This is the harshest, most self-serving compilation of garbage I've ever read. Bette Davis may not have been perfect but as I see it, she kept that girl warm, fed, and catered to like she was a fairy princess. That was her biggest mistake.
What I want to know, considering Christian charity, is why doesn't BD have any, if she's such a big Christian?
She's one of those false prophets, in it for the money, nothing else. I happen to be an atheist but part of me hopes there is some sort of reckoning fo
Sep 06, 2008 Violet rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Manicurists
Recommended to Violet by: a playground chum
Shelves: revenge-in-print
I do not believe I have read another book in which the author describes herself repeatedly as "bellowing." It's unsettling. Additionally, the name "B. D. Hyman" sounds to me like a gynecological disorder.

The best part is when the author re-purposes herself as John the Baptist, envisioning the book as her "cry in the wilderness," a warning to her mother to straighen up and fly right. It seems unlikely that John the Baptist had quite the same intent when he issued his own cry, but then again, Bet
Aug 20, 2014 Peter rated it did not like it
Have you ever had a friend that has a girlfriend or boyfriend, and every story they tell you is about a fight they had? Every time you hear them tell another negative tale, you can't help but roll your eyes because you've heard it all 1,000 times before? You wonder, "why do they stay together? don't they realize they're a toxic pair?".

This non-stop ramble of terrible stories is the book that B.D. Hyman wrote about her mother, Bette Davis, just after Bette suffered the double whammy of breast can
Dec 06, 2010 Bird rated it did not like it
good lord this is the most horrific mess i have ever read. the author only succeeded in making herself look like an ungrateful brat. not even fun in a "Mommie Dearest" sort of way. Don't bother.
Aug 22, 2010 Kris rated it liked it
Can someone still like this book yet be disgusted by the author's actions? I guess so, as I do.

Total guilty pleasure read for someone interested in old movie stars. It's also a total cash-in on Mommie Dearest (a superior read by the way) by Bette Davis's daughter.

B.D. Hyman was as strong-willed as her mother, so the fireworks often came from that. She didn't really have as much of a leg to stand on in terms of a bad childhood compared to many (Christina Crawford included). Her mom had a strong p
Jan 29, 2012 kylajaclyn rated it did not like it
It seems to me that Stevie Nicks got it right by never having children because she regards her career and her fans as plenty enough fulfillment. Too bad the same cannot be said for Bette Davis (and Joan Crawford, though I felt Christina's book was much more warranted). Why movie stars still insist on having children is far beyond me. But I do not blame this atrocious book on Bette. The only mistake she made was giving birth to a daughter who is utterly without backbone.

First, in Hyman's defense
Nov 13, 2011 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
So Bette Davis was a bitch...duh. Hyman's portrayal of her relationship and responses to her mother seem condescendingly contrived. The dialogue felt very "fluffed up," serving Hyman's self-depiction as a strong, yet long-suffering martyr...and Davis as a crazed, manipulative bitch. While the latter is probably true, I kept asking myself, "What is the PURPOSE of this book?"

At least I'd want to have Bette Davis over for cocktails. If I invited B.D. she would probably behave like a patronizing pa
May 05, 2010 Beth rated it did not like it
I watched a Dick Cavett show with Bette Davis from the 70s when I was about halfway through this book, and decided I was done with it. BD was spoiled rotten and yes, her mom probably was a real pill to live with, but a book that reads "and then she said, and then I said" is DULL. I'll pick up Bette's autobiographies instead because I'm sure they are anything but boring.
Nov 13, 2016 Heather rated it did not like it
Shelves: partially-read
I read just over half the book. It seemed to try to make Bette Davis a bad person when it really only appeared to show a strong woman who only wanted to have love (instead of being used) and wanted her child to be strong & independent & happy.
Lee Anne
Mar 10, 2013 Lee Anne rated it did not like it
So Bette Davis was a melodramatic harpy? Quelle surprise!

B.D. Hyman, Bette Davis' only biological child (She also had two adopted children: Michael, who stopped communicating with B.D. after this book, and Margot, who was later found to be brain damaged and institutionalized.), came up with her own equivalent to that ungrateful, failed actress Christina Crawford's hatchet job of her mother Joan. Unfortunately, Bette was still alive to read it, and spent the remaining few years of her life in mis
A very interesting book told from Bette Davis' daughter's point of view. She's pretty harsh about how she felt her mother treated her, but who's to say it didn't actually happen that way. Not as bad as Christina Crawford's book, but close. First read it ages ago when I borrowed a copy from my sister in law. Decided to get it from the library for a re-read. If you like to read about the "scandalous" lives of the actors and actresses from the golden age of Hollywood this book would be right up you ...more
Germanio Puglio
Aug 28, 2013 Germanio Puglio rated it it was amazing
I liked having another intimate portrait in Bette Davis' life. I am so fascinated by her. I do think that it was mean of BD to publish this, considering it was about her own mother, who had given her so many things. Regardless, I am always happy to have the juicy tidbits in my fingers and be able to read them anyway. Maybe some of her feelings towards Ms. Davis were justified so I can't judge her too much.
Dennis Ritchie
Aug 27, 2013 Dennis Ritchie rated it did not like it
She came across oblivious to her own dishonor of her legendary mother. I thought she did this out of envy and spite. Those that choose to run down relatives in this way are just running down themselves. She is weak and petty. Who knows the truth about anyone in that toxic business? This "authoress" is a horrible warning story.
Jun 14, 2011 Vikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
B.D. Hyman, Bette Davis' daughter tells her version of her life with her mother. She presents her mother as rather crazy. I don't know what to believe-although i probably think the daughter is correct. She says she wrote the book so her mother would listen to her for once. How sad.
Jun 07, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing
Oct 27, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
Gosh, Bette Davis as a mother was very complicated and so high needs and controlling but not half as bad a mother as her arch nemesis Joan Crawford.
Sep 16, 2010 Astraia rated it liked it
I would give this book a higher rating, as it is a page turning good book, but it is so hard to imagine that it is all true. Makes Moomy Dearest seem like a guide to parenting.
Kimberly Rahi
Feb 11, 2013 Kimberly Rahi rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fiction Lovers
Recommended to Kimberly by: No one :)
Oh children of legends... when will you learn? This "tell-all" comes on the cusp of the more well known novel by Christina Crawford's (daughter of Joan Crawford) "Mommy Dearest." To me, this book is even more ridiculous. This has nothing to do with being bias. I was never a die hard Bette Davis fan. This is simply a matter of deciphering the truth behind the words of a pampered princess.

B.D. Hyman, daughter of screen legend Bette Davis, wrote this tell all novel a few years prior to her mother
Jul 16, 2011 Calle rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, memoir
"My Mother's Keeper" is the autobiography of Bette Davis's daughter B.D. Hyman. Hyman writes about growing up in a dysfunctional family; her stepfather Gary Merrill (Davis's co-star in "All About Eve") was frequently drunk and abusive towards Davis. At 16, B.D. falls in love with Jeremy Hyman and Davis reluctantly consents to their marriage, although she constantly disapproves of Jeremy, according to the author. Later in the book we're told about Davis's bizarre behaviour at family gatherings an ...more
Feb 09, 2017 Max rated it did not like it
I read the book, and while some portions I found interesting - the author lost credibility. How could she remember all of those conversations verbatim? Also, what really shined through was LOVE. Bette, I am sure could be difficult, but she Loved and doted upon her daughter. Hate to be cynical, but this book was a money grab by a spoiled daughter and her opportunistic husband. On a side note, she is a huge religious person now - how does that reconcile with hurting ones Mother so? Not a fan.
Lynne Hoy
Jul 02, 2016 Lynne Hoy rated it did not like it
Got to page 124 and could stand it no more. It doesn't matter who's child this woman was, she was a spoilt, ungrateful brat. The further I read the more vile I found her. She was happy to use her mother's money to fly herself here there and everywhere, to meet a man most parents would have considered a pervert, and talks of furs, hunting and pool houses as if they are everyone's norm. Even in her own words she tells of her film star mother cooking her meals, creating beautiful homes, sending her ...more
Rebecca McNutt
There was just something that felt fake about much of this book - I don't condone child abuse but I think that much of this book was exaggerated and with all its inconsistencies, plus Hyman's self-absorbed attitude, I'm really conflicted as to what to think about this book, whether it's true, or whether Hyman just didn't get along with her mother and wanted to be malicious. There's something about the voice in her writing that reminds me a lot of Augusten Burroughs and Christina Crawford.
Dec 26, 2008 Andrea rated it it was ok
After a while the stories atarted to sound the same and I got the distinct impression that B.D. was always in the right and her mother was always in the wrong. This was confirmed in the end when it turns out she wrote the book to her mom as a kind of wake up call to show her how wrong she is in her behavior. I had been looking for more of in insider's view on Ms. Davis' life and it was a little too inside.
Monique Frasco
Jul 16, 2014 Monique Frasco rated it it was ok
So I read this after re-watching Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I didn't realize that Bette Davis's daughter wrote a tell-all about her too a la Mother Dearest. It was a little boring. Bette Davis, from this book, seems like she was definitely hard to deal with, controlling, and an alcoholic, but the author herself seems to be cold and spoiled. I didn't have much sympathy for her.
Dec 01, 2011 Jacki rated it liked it
Interesting at first, but interest waned after the same incidences were repeated over and over. A lot of whining and I was left not really knowing the truth, it is a one-sided account. Not recommended!
Brannon Boswell
Nov 01, 2013 Brannon Boswell rated it liked it
This actually made me feel sorry for Bette. B.D. really is a "cold bitch" as her mom frequently calls her. Bette's actions are extremely annoying but honestly not much worse than what most people put up with from family members.
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B. D. Hyman (born Barbara Davis Sherry), aka B.D. Merrill, is an American author and pastor. Hyman is the daughter of actress Bette Davis and artist William Sherry. A born-again Christian, Hyman is the head of her own ministry and Pastor of her church based in Charlottesville, Virginia.
More about B.D. Hyman...

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