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Brother & Sister

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  656 ratings  ·  94 reviews
From the beloved film star and best-selling author of Then Again: a heartfelt memoir about her relationship with her younger brother, and a poignant exploration of the divergent paths siblings' lives can take.

When they were children in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the 1950s, Diane Keaton and her younger brother, Randy, were best friends and companions: they shared
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  656 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Actress Diane Keaton writes a transparent memoir about growing up in the 1950's and the closeness between her and her younger brother Randy. Randy was her best friend growing up, which is evidenced by the many diaries and journal that their mother kept. But were the diaries a true reflection of their childhood or were they driven by a mother's love and her desire to see her son as a healthy, functioning adult? Because Randy was anything but healthy and & functioning. He was a troubled man, ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction, arc, 2020
I wanted to write Randy's story, and my story of being his sister, because there are so many people who live through the sorrow and pain of not knowing how to manage a family member who has a singularly unique view of life: a sibling who doesn't fit in or follow the paths the rest of us take; who challenges and bewilders, upsets and dazzles us; who scares some of us away; but who still loves us, in his or her way.

Initial disclosure: I have no particular interest (or disinterest) in Diane
I wasnt feeling much of anything within 10 pages of this book, but it was short so I read on anyway. Its fine to write a book about your troubled brother if youre Diane Keaton and you find yourself with access to said brothers papers, but I found it kind of icky as I read on. Not just because I dont know how an approval would have been sought or given - brother Randy is in advanced stages of dementia right now. But also because Keaton didnt really have a relationship with Randy to speak of.

Susan Coster
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very tearful book about the relationship between Diane Keaton and her younger brother, John Randolph Hall, known as Randy. I am still choked up after finishing this beautiful memoir tonight. As kids, Randy and Diane were close but as he grew up, Randy became troubled and never quite fit in the world, becoming an alcoholic and relying on their parents for support. As Diane looks back upon her life with Randy, she includes journal entries, letters, photographs and artwork. This is her ...more
Debbie Boucher
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just celebrated a birthday, and one of the pleasures is receiving all kinds of books from friends and family. Brother and Sister, by Diane Keaton, hits close to home. I also have a brother who suffers from mental illness, and over the years it has been a challenge to figure out what to do. Toward the end of this memoir, Keaton's brother is kicked out of several memory care facilities due to violent behavior. It took me back to the last few years as Mike and his family dealt with his father's ...more
Joshie Nicole (readwithjoshie)
I received this book in a Goodreads contest.

This was a short, easy read with many honest and reflective passages. It is a book about Keatons relationship with her brother, sprinkled with some anecdotes about her other family members.

This memoir was just okay for me. Keaton felt removed from her family, and she was seemingly able to write so intimately about all of the times they experienced while she was away filming because she had access to her families letters and poems. It felt a little
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
You know, I would have picked up this book regardless of the author because I find sibling interaction endlessly fascinating. The fact that Diane Keaton is an interesting person herself was a fortuitous bonus.

I remember learning nature vs nurture in college, and that biological siblings can be very different from each other once the similar environment (childhood home) is removed and they go on to live their own lives.

Diane Keaton's short memoir displays a rather extreme case of genes vs
Katie Ninivaggi
To be perfectly candid, if the author wasnt a celebrity, I doubt this book would be getting any attention- or possibly even published. It has its moments, like near the end when Keaton describes her own guilt at not helping her brother when they were both younger. Overall, it reads liked strung together captions to photos and home movies; a lot of gaps and very little exploration of the nature of mental illness. ...more
Greta (botanyandbookends) Sutherland
We know her as spunky, eccentric, quirky and free-spirited. We love her fashion sense and decorating expertise and admire her longevity in film.⠀
Her newest book, BROTHER AND SISTER, gives a rare, inside look into the upbringing of Diane and her younger siblings, Randy, Robin and Dorrie. This book focuses on the complicated relationship with her brother, two years her junior. Diane and Randy were born in a typical 1950s middle-class home to a doting mother and a hard-working father. As their
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A sister with a mentally ill brother who haunted the family for decades in the background, unable to work and annoying everyone. I have several friends like this. The 70s, kept people from being institutionalized long term, but people had that one sibling, usually a brother who stopped working and being involved in life. Unable to easily get doctors or people to help, families a often paid for their rent and care. The sibling never got on their feet and appeared best when finally qualifying for ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Sad story about a brother's mental illness and its effect on his family.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
As THEN AGAIN seemed a love letter to her mother, Diane Keaton writes this as one to her brother. After reading both one sees her as the caring, observant and articulate person that she is... a surprise for some of us who saw her, once, as just another ditzy Hollywood character.
Jacob Kolody
Mar 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
There are a few actors whose work Im not familiar with but I still love them as a human; people like Lily Tomlin, Amy Sedaris and Chris Evans. Diane Keaton also happens to fall into that category so when I saw this memoir at the book store I had to pick it up and I have to say, I definitely regret buying this at its hardcover, new release price. There was not in any way enough meat on the bones of this book to warrant an entire memoir, albeit a scant 150-page memoir. It seems as though a ...more
Mary Sisney
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Because I like her acting and her personality, I always enjoy Dianes books, but this one is my favorite. I liked that she included writings (letters, journal entries, poems) by her mother and brother. I especially enjoyed reading famous writer Larry McMurtrys analysis of some of Dianes brother Randys poems. Mainly, I enjoyed this book because I could relate to it on two levels. First, like Dianes mother and brother, my mother has suffered from dementia for several years, and like Randy, she has ...more
Emily Kennedy
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
First off I love Diane Keaton! I love her movies, I love watching her in her interviews, I was really looking forward to her book. You could tell she admired her brother's artistry which was a positive, but found myself uncomfortable reading intimate details of her brother's personal, and sometimes embarrassing struggles with mental illness and alcoholism. I asked myself if his story was hers to tell, or was it a violation of his privacy and dignity, especially since he is a vulnerable ...more
This book with its narrow, deeply personal focus seems like the product of a vanity press. I guess if youre Diane Keaton, Knopf can act as a vanity press. I found some parts of the book moving but theres very little here. It wasnt until halfway, or more, through the book that I was convinced brother Randy was mentally ill. Until then hed seemed a wealthy, spoiled, entitled, child of the 60s. Is that because its the way Keaton saw him? She doesnt say.

The book wants to be revelatory but too much
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I admire Diane Keaton for her acting acumen, her plain upbringing, her enchanting dating, and for her never marrying. She appears to have lived her life her way.
She has described in this short memoir the life of her younger brother. He was a tortured soul from the beginning. She struggled over the decades to accept him and his many idiosyncrasies. Her emotional honesty about how this challenged her is appreciated.
She tried to understand why he was the way he was but ultimately, for her and for
Linda Hutchinson
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I dont typically like to read memoirs by actors but Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton intrigued me. It is a mystery how kids from the same family (whether or not dysfunctional) can turn out so differently. I see these situations regularly and it remains a conundrum to me how siblings, while raised in the same environment, chose opposite life paths. Ms. Keaton does a good job of trying to present her family dynamics truthfully and I enjoyed the read. A very successful actress and a hopelessly ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
There is an obvious message in Diane Keatons memoir about herself and her brother. Two opposing personalities exist when comparing both siblings. Even though they are very close in age, there was a significant difference in their personalities at an early age. Nature versus nurture could be the obvious explanation. Children are born with distinct personalities, and this can be more defining than living in the same family. The memoir is more about Dianes brother Randy than it is about Diane ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
I'm not familiar with Keaton's work and picked this up solely off of word-of-mouth. Even though this is short, it was difficult to get through and I forced myself to finish the book.

I was surprised that Keaton's siblings aren't even mentioned on her Wikipedia page - the way she talks in this book makes that feel like a huge omission. That said, I really disliked this book. It is so upsetting to read not only about a mentally ill person being abandoned by their family, but by their consequent
Ann Otto
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short but moving memoir of a brother-sister relationship over many years. It was difficult to read the decline of someone who consistently couldn't save himself.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very touching memoir that was so honest it pained me at times...
LeAnn Morgan
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was taken by the fact Miss Keaton focused this memoir on her brother instead of herself. Poignant and bittersweet, this story left me empathic to her complicated relationship with her brother, Randy.
Sometimes we just dont have a clear answer to the whys of peculiar behavior of a loved one.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Diane Keaton's writing and this book was no exception. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Amy Baron
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was attracted to this read bc of the covers quote A sibling who doesnt fit in or follow the paths the rest of us take; who challenges and bewilders, upsets and
dazzles us; who scares some of us away; but who still loves us, in his or her way...
As a mom of five, who is currently watching an adult son take the same self-destructive path, and so relates to Dorothy, I couldnt help be drawn into trying to understand Randys world and a siblings (Dianes) take on it. It was heartbreaking to read, but
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Theres not much of Diane in this book, and she admits that she separated herself from her family and their dealings with Randy, so I wonder if she is just arrogant in her decision to write the book at all. Her sister Dorrie bore much of the responsibility of dealing with Randy as an adult, but Dorries voice is not heard. Diane is a big celebrity who seems to be in a bubble when it comes to unpleasant things. She admits that she didnt think too much about the fact that Randy was placed high on ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was beautiful and so very sad. Ive read Diane Keatons other memoirs, so I knew her brother Randy had issues, but I didnt know the depth and character of them until reading this. It really shows how far we have come in recognizing mental health concerns and helping the people we love get the help they need. Back then, they just werent equipped, and it makes me immeasurably sad to think of all the hurt and the lives that were essentially ruined when people could have been happier and more ...more
I knew that Diane Keaton had sisters, but if I knew she had a brother, it was long ago forgotten. Now I know why. An intimate memoir of Keatons brother and her struggle to understand and build a relationship with him. She also creates a vivid picture of the Hall family in 1950s Southern California with warmth and candor. Her youth and adult life have been a success. Popular in schools and commanding high prices for her movies. Keaton has written, or been interviewed, often enough to talk about ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Diane wrote a biography that share's her brother Randy's struggle throughout his life. Randy and Diane were very close when they were little. He had always been a recluse and as time went by he couldn't find a way to fit in. She wrote this novel with letters from family, journal entries, poems from Randy and pictures of Randy's life. Randy was a an amazing writer and poet. He found peace in writing and creating his picture collages. His poetry was raw and vivid. He wrote dark thoughts and ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a quick, enjoyable weekend read. Diane Keaton shares glimpses of her family living with her only brother who clearly had mental health issues. It brings home several real facts of living with someone who struggles with mental health problems. One major one, my opinion, is you can't fix people. If they want to seek help, they will, if they don't, you can't force them. Also, you can't always understand why they do or say the things they do. Is this easy to accept? No. I felt Diane was ...more
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Diane Keaton (born Diane Hall) is an Academy Award-winning American film actress. Her first major film role was Kay Adams-Corleone in The Godfather movies. She starred with director and co-star Woody Allen in "Play It Again, Sam," "Sleeper," "Love and Death," "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan." She has starred in many other films and worked as a director, producer, and screenwriter.

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“sibling who doesn’t fit in or follow the paths the rest of us take; who challenges and bewilders, upsets and dazzles us; who scares some of us away; but who still loves us, in his or her way.” 0 likes
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