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By Myself

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,718 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
"In a word, LAUREN BACALL BY MYSELF is of the real-life heroines of our time...and she wrote this book as she lived it."
"She's a real Joe. You'll fall in love with her like everybody else."
-Humphrey Bogart
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published April 12th 1984 by Ballantine Books (first published December 12th 1978)
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Community Reviews

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Lauren Bacall smoking and drinking tea

One of my friends made fun of me for a little while yesterday because he saw me walking down the street laughing to myself. Fittingly, I was laughing to myself about the smartass comments I was planning to make to him about how rude it was that he didn’t offer to give me a ride. This book makes me think of that because of how easily I can entertain myself by thinking about a better comeback, a funnier joke, or a snappier ending to a story I already told. Reading this was sort of like reading eve
Jana Lynn
Apr 18, 2012 Jana Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: women
Interesting to read about her experiences. Writing style is snotty and slightly condesending. Found myself annoyed with her by the end.
Haralambi Markov
Feb 03, 2013 Haralambi Markov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
As of late I’ve been enjoying Lauren Bacall’s cheery, bubbly autobiography “By Myself” and I don’t want the book to end, but I’m crawling slowly to the finish line. The end is near, but I decided to voice my thoughts as they come to me. It’s different than my critical approach to a work and I don’t believe that there is something to get out of a biography thinking critically about it, not the way you would do a novel.

Obviously, “By Myself” is geared towards a different generation, whose members
Paula Dembeck
This is Bacall’s memoir, first published in 1978 and later updated with an additional seventy-five pages. I read the first but not the second edition.

She begins her story in Brooklyn and Manhattan in the thirties and forties, where she was raised by her mother in a close knit Jewish family. As a teenager she was obsessed with Bette Davis and the idea of becoming a movie star. She started modeling and it was as a cover model for Harper’s Bazaar that she was noticed by Slim Hawks, who brought Laur
Aug 01, 2007 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Lauren Ball is most known for her acting (The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not), but she is also a natural, gifted writer.

I really got a sense for what it was like growing up in New York in the '30s. She was raised by a single mom and her mom's supportive Jewish family and she really is a great example of how "It takes a village" to raise a child. Of course she also tells of meeting Bogie, falling in love with him, marrying him and of their life together and theirs was definitely the real deal.

Philip Lee

What constitutes a feminist icon? Simone de Beauvoir? Germaine Greer? Madonna? Soon after this Instagram message appeared,

madonna: Thank you Margaret Thatcher!
#unapologetic# - rebelheart

the sender deleted it. Reports say she had received a barrage of complaints from many of her gay fans – or at least, people whose reaction the entertainer may not have thought of when she 'liked' the photograph of Britain's first (and so far only) woman prime minister. The image of Margaret Thatcher was headed by
Aug 24, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: done-reading
I found Lauren Bacall to be a pretty good writer and she was able to hold my attention throughout the book. An interesting look back to a different time and place, especially one for Hollywood stars. She had an affair with Bogie (though she doesn't call it that really) and eventually marries him and has children with him. It was interesting to me exactly just how much everyone seemed to drink alcohol back then and all the get-togethers and parties they were able to have.

I read this book because
Jun 01, 2015 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Her straight-forward, candid writing was engaging. She openly discussed her experiences on stage and in film, her insecurities, and her marriage to Humphrey Bogart and later, Jason Robard.I enjoyed this memoir.
Sep 07, 2014 Theresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
I found this book to be really heartbreaking, for more than one reason. It begins with the details of her early life, then how she broke into the Hollywood scene (playing into that whole "being discovered" thing that just doesn't seem to happen anymore), and meeting Humphrey Bogart. The description of Bogie's illness and death was truly heart wrenching. As Bacall only passed away recently, it must have been really difficult to live through all the changes in cancer treatment.

I think, though, th
Ann Herrick
Oct 09, 2015 Ann Herrick rated it really liked it
Just like her character in To Have and Have Not Bacall draws you in right from the beginning. She had quite the life, starting poor but determined in New York, struggling to become a stage actress, then being "discovered" and flown to Hollywood where her first movie made her an instant star. Marrying Humphrey Bogart, her costar, only added to the glamour.

Of course, that magical part of her life lasted only until Bogie's death 13 years after she first met him. There were many ups and downs after,
Jan 01, 2017 Katarina rated it really liked it
Kad sam došla do dela "And Then Some" audio knjiga je otkazala poslušnost te sam naposletku odslušala samo izvornu "By Myself" za koju dajem ocenu 4.5.
Priča počinje s Betinim (Loren) upoznavanjem Bet Dejvis u detinjstvu završavajući se njenom ulogom Margo Čening na daskama koje život znače nakon Bogartove smrti dok je njenu interpretaciju iz publike pratila izvorna Margo tj. Bet.

Kroz roman upoznajemo i famozni "Rat Pack", Kejt Hepburn i Spensera Trejsija, Gregori Peka, pisca Luisa Bromfilda i mn
May 25, 2016 Bella rated it it was amazing
I recall glancing at reviews before i started reading this one. Admittedly i was surprised by the people who mention that she's "name dropping" and not talking about her children in a lot of detail. My first comment: I think its great that she is sharing the names of everyone she met and everyone she knew. Why not? These people helped shape her to who she was. The wonderful woman we know and love. Supported her when she needed it most. Name dropping, in an autobiography of a legend, should not b ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I found this book at a library in the mid 90s. You'll still find a lot of great books at your public library, and specifically memoirs & biographies, so I encourage you to look for it there if you don't want to buy it. This is a good book for persons who want to read about old hollywood, and Ms. Bacall's interactions with those persons she came to know, as well as information about her own life as an actor. It's not a good book for persons who want to know about the author's life as a wife a ...more
Rick Ludwig
Sep 17, 2014 Rick Ludwig rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I enjoyed reading this book by Lauren Bacall about the first half of her life. The book felt as though she had written it herself, which is rare in many such books. She spent a great deal of time separating the human from the image as it related to both herself and those she loved who were also in show business. Some would find the book a bit too chatty, but I thought that was part of it's charm. Her years with Humphrey Bogart were a pleasure to read, but she let the reader know that she was far ...more
Oct 23, 2010 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiographies
The red cover of this book caught my eye as I perused a table of used books at a local library sale. When I picked it up for closer inspection and discovered it was an autobiography by Lauren Bacall, I had to have it. I watched many movies of the 30's, 40's and 50's with my mother during my adolescence in the 70's and 80's. Most of them on television when we were lucky enough to catch them on a channel (one of 7) that featured them on Sunday afternoons. In this manner of watching, I was not priv ...more
Debbie Carter
Jan 05, 2014 Debbie Carter rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary life & events as Bogie's wife and friend to Hollywood legends Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, most of them the Bogarts' neighbors. As irresistible as it sounds, every woman who reads this will ask herself, Should she have married Bogie? Directors and studios thought of her as Bogie's wife first, actress second. But an outstanding memoir/auto biography, exceptionally written, about a special group of American actors and their influence around the world. I read the 1980 version a ...more
While a fan of black and white movies and the stars that appeared in them, Bacall is an actress that seems to have passed me by. Her biography explores her dream and aspirations of being a star - her struggles and hours to effort to get noticed and seen. Her engaging and witty writing style makes you feel like you're having a conversation with an old friend. I just loved her expressiveness and openness of her love affair and marriage to Bogart, nevertheless his untimely death is heartbreaking to ...more
Mary Margaret
Jan 02, 2016 Mary Margaret rated it liked it
This book was a real mixed bag for me. I found Bacall's writing style jerky and abrupt and tedious to read for long periods. The book was far too long for me and could have used some heavy editing. On the other hand, the story of her discovery by Hollywood and her life with Bogie was fascinating, and, particularly in the early parts of the book, her ear for a good anecdote was spot on.

I also found her insights (and sometimes lack of insights) into her own life and marriage and others around her
Oct 20, 2007 Yvette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
What a beautifully written story of the life of Lauren Bacall. Bacall had a lovely upbringing. She came from a close knit Jewish family. Bacall’s mother was an extraordinary loving and supportive woman.

As a little girl Bacall falls in love with the big screen. When she grows up she becomes a model and later branches out into acting. She dates many Hollywood hunks, including Frank Sinatra, but ends up in a fairytale romance with Humphrey Bogart. Despite the difference in age, Bogart and Bacall f
Jul 25, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
Shelves: library-books
I really liked this book and it was refreshing to read about Lauren Bacall's life in her own words. She has always been an actress that I have admired and I love her movies. The most moving part of this book has to be when she talks about the death of her soulmate Humphrey Bogart. I was brought to tears by the way she described his passing and it's the one part of this book that I remember more than anything else. It was beautifully written and it's obvious, how deeply she loved him. There is an ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Janski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Surprisingly well-written and engaging autobiography of Betty "Lauren" Bacall. The book contains highly interesting "behind-the-scenes" information about the theatre and film-making, and the stress of both. Bacall describes the contrasts between New York and Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s so well, using small things as examples. You come to know and root for her family and friends, but she doesn't gloss them over: she describes their foibles as well as her own. The illness and death of the won ...more
Jeremy Good
Jun 02, 2012 Jeremy Good rated it it was ok
Shelves: autobiography, cinema
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 23, 2014 Andi rated it liked it
Her writing style is a bit choppy, but if you can get past that (which was easy for me to do as I was entertained by her story), this is an interesting book. It's fascinating to learn about this time in Hollywood, etc. Lauren Bacall struck me as a bit naive much of the time, but she had quite a different life than many of us did. I feel a bit bad for her kids as they were always being taken care of by nurses, sent to camp, off to boarding school, being taken care of by relatives, while she did f ...more
Christine Brennen-leigh
Aug 31, 2009 Christine Brennen-leigh rated it really liked it
A good book. I've always been a big Lauren Bacall fan and it was interesting reading about her life and how she always knew she wanted to act. I knew she married young to Humphrey Bogart, a man 25 years her senior, but to read about her love affair made it all the more heartbreaking to read about Bogie's death 11 years later. Ok, I sobbed when he died. I also sobbed a few chapters later when Lauren's mother and best friend died.

All in all a well written book, although it could have been edited
Aug 02, 2012 Lesley rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
A good book. I've always been a big Lauren Bacall fan and it was interesting reading about her life and how she always knew she wanted to act.I really admire this woman, and although I generally love the classic Hollywood actresses of the 40s and 50s Most of them on television when we were lucky enough to catch them on the TCM channel they were of the golden age when woman were glamorous you could lose yourself in there movies.

Feb 07, 2013 Jodi rated it it was ok
"By Myself" reads like a journal. This is one of those that you have to be interested in the author in order to choke down the drivel. No detail is spared and most sentences are short, clipped, and about 3 words in length. Not generally my kind of book but she talks a lot about the film era that I'm most interested in (50's/60's) and a lot about the actors of the time. It's most definitely worth flipping through. And if nothing else, the pictures are great.
Lars Egler
Mar 31, 2008 Lars Egler rated it liked it
As far as celebrity boigraphies/autobiographies go, this one's pretty chaste. No big revelations on who's a jerk or a pervert and yet in spite of that (heh, heh) it manages to be very interesting and to impart a real sense of Lauren Bacall as a person. I liked it and her love and reverence for Humphrey Bogart comes through on every page and actually made me want to learn more about Bogie (rather than Bacall) after reading this book.
May 09, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This book is a delight - it's truly well-written, and her life story, including becoming an actress, meeting Bogie, their relationship, and the effects of his death and after on her, all play out like a riveting piece of fiction.

Her life is interesting for sure, but she is a very honest and likable narrator, and the tale she weaves makes for a compelling read. And in the end, you will feel like you know her better and like her very much.
Apr 07, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it
God, Betty Bacall knew how to spin a yarn. At turns heady, exuberant, heart-wrenching, but above all hopeful and honest, this was one of those rare books that I didn't want to end. What a life -- what a dame. It feels strange to say that I miss her when I didn't know her personally, but there it is. Another one of those autobiographies that seems to have come along at just the right time in my life, and I'm so grateful for it.
Lanni Isenberg
Jan 02, 2009 Lanni Isenberg rated it really liked it
Definitely a memoir of epic proportions! Seems she remembers everybody she ever spoke with as she was starting out in NY. As weird as it seems, this felt like the pre-cursor to reality shows since she seems to unashamedly reveal everything about herself - blemishes and all - and of everybody around her. I definitely enjoyed reading about this original Rat Pack lady and can't wait to see some of the movies she and Bogey did.
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Betty Joan Perske, better known as Lauren Bacall, is a Golden Globe– and Tony Award–winning, as well as Academy Award–nominated, American film and stage actress and model. Known for her husky voice and sultry looks, she became a fashion icon in the 1940s and has continued acting to the present day.

She is perhaps best known for being a film noir leading lady in films such as The Big Sleep (1946) an
More about Lauren Bacall...

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“If there was one thing I had never been, it was mysterious, and if there was one thing I had never done, it was not talk.” 16 likes
“But the amazing thing about life, I've finally discovered, is that you really don't learn from past mistakes. You do logically, reasonably, but emotionally not for a second.” 0 likes
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