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By Myself

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  4,328 ratings  ·  138 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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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  4,328 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Meredith Holley
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
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
Haralambi Markov
Feb 03, 2013 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
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lauren Bacall was one fantastically talented actress, IMO. She could do comedy, tragedy and anything in between. She and Humphrey Bogart had one of the most loving, admired marriages in Hollywood at the time (or any other).

Her acting was top rate and so was her skill as a writer. This memoir didn't hold much back, if anything. It made me laugh and cry. Ms. Bacall was honest, thoughtful and humble. She shared her victories, her tragedies (no spoilers) and her everyday life with and without Bogie
Aug 01, 2007 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.

Aug 24, 2015 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
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
Jun 01, 2015 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.
Jeanette (Again)
I'm adding a few books I read long ago, just for the sake of completeness. I remember really enjoying this one. Guessing on the "date read." Sometime in the 80s. ...more
H.J. Moat
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
To be perfectly honest... I like my Hollywood memoirs a lot dishier than this. I suppose that's the problem you have with most autobiographies over biographies (Scotty Bowers not withstanding) - the writer wants to present a sanitised version of themselves or portray themselves in a flattering light, and that is especially true for a woman in the first half of the 20th century. So there is barely any sex or scandal in here and I find it very difficult to believe that someone plucked from obscuri ...more
Chris Gleck
This book was published in 1978 and she lived until 2014, so she also wrote a later book presumably about her life since the 70's. I have been fascinated by her style which prompted me to want to learn about her life. I am sure if I bought this at a used bookstore or found it on someone's bookshelf who was willing to pass it on to me. She tells of her low income upbringing during the Depression in Manhattan, but due to her singular focus when she wants something how she broke into show business. ...more
Sep 07, 2014 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
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
Ann Herrick
Oct 09, 2015 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,
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
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
Annabel Frazer
I didn't know much about Lauren Bacall other than seeing her in a couple of her films with Bogart. In her own account, she comes across as an intelligent, modest and compassionate woman, deeply committed to caring for her family and passionate about both her work and political causes, who just happened to also be incredibly beautiful. Of course no one paints a comprehensive picture in an autobiography but it's hard to imagine that Bacall is anything other than how she comes across here.

I had not
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Talent's no good in a living room. You've got to go out there and do it."

One of my favorite memoirs! There is no real storyline here, just recounts of what happened through her years of finding stardom, falling in love with Humphrey Bogart, and her life after his death. Many years are covered but the reader gets a front row seat at one of the great actresses from the golden age through her victories and struggles. Her opinions and her growth through different phases in life help see her in a co
Roni Blanche
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a life she had! Told as if you were friends sharing a chat over cocktails, Lauren (aka Betty) recounts her incredible adventures from modeling, to learning how to act right on the stage and later on the big screen, to her many famous boyfriends/husbands. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Bogie, but Lauren's intimate portrait of the man and their life together turned that spot into a huge crush and practically hero worship for how true he lived his life and taught her to live hers. ...more
Marsha Valance
The epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them one of Hollywood's most celebrated couple. But when Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall and their children had to take everything he had taught them and grow up fast. In a time of postwar communism, Hollywood black ...more
Deborah Wong
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had read this before - twice! - since it was first published, and wanted to read it again, after Lauren Bacall passed away, to get new perspective. This is the type of book that I have difficulty putting down, as Bacall's storytelling style kept me turning the pages. My favorite part of the book concerned Lauren's - Betty's - romance and life with Humphrey Bogart, including the ups and downs of that once-in-a-lifetime love. With all of the extra chapters on her political activities during the ...more
There were times when I was very moved by Lauren Bacall's autobiography. The most interesting parts were her start in Hollywood and her relationship with Bogart. Their courtship was romantic and dramatic and Bacall seemed to thrive off of Bogart's possessiveness and drunkenness. It was a pattern she repeated in all of her relationships and while she was able to recognize it, she did not alter her behavior. It seemed very real to me.
In the part of the book when Bogie became ill and was dying, I w
Laura McChristian
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Been trying to read this book since the sixth grade, and I finally did it on my Christmas vacation, almost 35 years later. It all started with a critic comparing Ford and Fisher (Star Wars) to Bogie and Bacall, and then there was that Bertie Higgins song, so I bought this at the local used bookstore in my hometown and then I've carried it around all this time. A few months ago I got the audio version of "By Myself and Then Some" for a bargain on Chirp and I of course had to read this one first. ...more
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written in the late 1970's, shortly after her triumphant return to Broadway, the late great Ms Bacall gives a stunningly detailed account of her life. In fact, I was in awe how she was able to recreate party guest lists from the 1940's!

She lead a pretty incredible life. And she is very open and honest in describing her many triumphs and failures in this 500+ page book. Though the reader has to be up for a VERY detailed story telling.

While she was a classic Star... she was also an authentic per
Lauren Jontel
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was going through a tough time in my life, ready to divorce my second husband and embark on a life of my own, by myself. I knew when I divorced that I would change my last name, well, because, I was over having someone else's name. I had been thinking of changing my first name also from Lorraine to Lorin. But this book made it an easy decision and so I named myself after this amazing woman. That was way back in the early 90"s half a life time ago. Be good to yourselves an ...more
Sybil Nolan
Impossible to rate this book now. I read it when I was very young and it had first come out. I was completely obsessed with film noir, and Bacall's tough femininity and "cheekbones like geometry" were an important part of the appeal. I was amazed to read of Bacall's sense of vulnerability and insecurity as a stunningly beautiful young woman, not to mention the contingent happiness of marriage to the much older Bogart. There was so much to think about in this book, for this 19 year old reader. ...more
James Reyome
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't complain about this book too much...Ms Bacall comes across as pretty forthright throughout and is very candid about her life and work. Her description of her early life is particularly fascinating, as is her account of life post-Bogie. I snagged this one at a library book sale, and it was more than worth the price, enough that I am looking for a copy of the updated edition. If you're at all a fan of film, it's worth your time and attention. ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Always interesting to read about these old Hollywood legends. The first part of the book that covered her life with Bogie was great. After that it just became a sad tale of a woman who had a bad habit of choosing very unavailable men. I also was kind of sad for her kids...they couldn't have seen much of their mother keeping theater hours like that. Seems like she was in her late forties early fifties when she published the book. I don't know. Maybe the last half of her life was better? ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
One of the best celebrity autobiographies I’ve read. It’s a well-written story of a fascinating individual. According to Ms. Bacall and the book title, she wrote it without help from a ghost writer. It’s obvious from the personal tone of the narrative that she did indeed do it by herself. In addition to being the story of her life, it’s a window into some of the best and worst of Hollywood — some of the greatest movies ever made juxtaposed with the specter of McCarthyism.
Jay Wright
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very surprised I liked it. She shows a definitive lack of moral fiber that probably is and was prevalent in Hollywood and Broadway. I love her descriptions of others (especially Spence and Kate). I wonder what was going on with Adlai Stevenson (seemed a little weird to me). I wonder if Frank Sinatra and Jason Robarb's were actually as big a jerks as depicted? ...more
Marlene Chabot
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. Bacall tells all in her memoir. The highs and lows of being married to Humphrey Bogart for 11 years until his death in 1957, and then her eight-year marriage to Jason Robard. And in between her two marriages a romance with Frank Sinatra that almost ended up in marriage. She also spoke of her time in theater and movies, plus raising her three children.
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Betty Joan Perske, better known as Lauren Bacall, was 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) a

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