Surreysmum's Reviews > My Life So Far

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
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Sep 20, 09

bookshelves: 2009, actors, biography, film-history
Read in September, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed this frank and (thanks no doubt to years of therapy) insightful autobiography by a woman who has always come across to me as a bit brittle. That quality certainly hasn't impeded her success, nor her passion for her current causes. And it sheds some interesting light on both her support of the recent "Toronto Declaration" (protesting TIFF's decision to do a Tel Aviv spotlight this year) and her subsequent partial recantation on her website - both of these now seem entirely in character with the woman who wrote this book: her determination to do the right thing ("make it better", as she says), but also her determination to be honest and face up to mistakes. Startlingly (but gratifyingly, in some ways), I got my first big surprise of the book not from her bleak childhood relations with her parents and surrogate parents, nor from the naughty sexual revelations of her marriage with Roger Vadim, but from her lingering fondness for "Barbarella" - I was fairly sure I would find a feminist denunciation of it instead. Makes my own lingering fondness for that camp masterpiece feel a little less guilty. Unable to quite come out and say it herself, perhaps, Fonda ruefully quotes her daughter characterizing her as a chameleon, mirroring whatever man was in her life at the time. While there are elements of truth in that (big surprise number 2, and not a particularly welcome one, is her conversion to Christianity, ca. Ted Turner and living in Atlanta, although thank goodness it doesn't pervade the pages of her book), yet Fonda also chronicles plenty of independent, self-determined action. While she may have spent a large part of her life not having a strong sense of self - poor ego boundaries=very good actress? my suggestion, not hers - she has obviously always had a strong sense of what she believes is right. May whatever God she believes in bless her for that.
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