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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  530 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
From the moment of its publication in 1977, Haywire was a national sensation and a #1 bestseller, a celebrated Hollywood memoir of a glittering family and the stunning darkness that lurked just beneath the surface.
Brooke Hayward was born into the most enviable of circumstances. The daughter of a famous actress and a successful Hollywood agent, she was beautiful, wealthy,
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1977)
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Brooke, in her 30s, was the most stunning looking woman I ever met. Also, among the most boring. She made terrible decisions. GRs who get wet reading abt famous "dysfunctional" families best bring 3 changes of underwear. Pls, stop saying what a "good" writer, yew dummies. Now, go, changes your undies.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read this when first came out and was completely drawn in. Very good book
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was just recently re-released. I read it when it first came out and I was a kid. I now know I didn't understand half of it. It is such a tragic story of a "dream" family. Who wouldn't have wanted to grow up in the 1930's and 40's in Hollywood with your mother a famous movie star and your father one of the biggest power players? Three out of the five in that family killed themselves or were presumed to have killed themselves. But Brooke Hayward is such a terrific writer that this reads like ...more
Elizabeth Periale
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Hayward’s memoir tells what it was like for her growing up in the golden age of Hollywood, where she grew up with the Fondas as playmates while her parents were hanging out with Jimmy Stewart and other Hollywood types. And of course it all went horribly wrong. Here is an excerpt from my review:

Brooke’s mother was film and stage actress Margaret Sullavan, best-known for her roles in The Shop Around the Corner and The Good Fairy. Her father was Hollywood and Broadway agent Leland Hayward. Sullavan
Michael Llewellyn
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooke Hayward's memoir, Haywire, caused a sensation when it appeared in 1977. There had never been quite such a frank account of family dysfunction, certainly not from such a famous source. Daughter of celebrated producer Leland Hayward and stage/screen actress Margaret Sullavan, Hayward grew up in a privileged world edged with tension and teeming with dark secrets. Dramatis personae in this compelling tale of survival and redemption include Henry, Jane and Peter Fonda, Pamela Churchill, Jimmy ...more
Kim Fay
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift in more ways than one. Gift #1: My friend Janet sent it to me. Gift #2: It reminded me how significant a memoir can be. Publicity positions this book as a Hollywood memoir (you know the kind, lots of name-dropping and gossip), but that really undermines what Hayward accomplished. She is a good writer. And even though her parents were a famous agent and the actress Margaret Sullavan, and the best family friends were the Fondas (Hayward's mom was briefly married to Henry Fonda ...more
Doriana Bisegna
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This book has followed me around for 30 years. I finally decided to buy it and read it and I am glad that I did. This is old Hollywood i.e. the days of Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart told by Brooke Hayward (the daughter of Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan). While this newly attained knowledge will not change my life in any way, I was still happy to have read it and learnt about how mental illness was handled by parents and the general public back in the 60's and 70's. Have ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a memoir by Brooke Hayward, the privileged daughter of actress Margaret Sullavan and producer Leland Hayward. I wanted to read this book because I love a couple of Margaret Sullavan's movies and I was curious about her life and family. The book is written in kind of stream-of-consciousness style that jumps around a bit--clearly, she was not a professional writer. She writes about the New York crowd of rich and famous in a way that reminds me of how bloggers describe the Washington D ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios
I loved this book because I have thing about famous dysfunctional families. This one was def. crazy. The author writes about her family in a poignant and lyrical way that reminds me of how Fitzgerald would have written if he had been a member of this family. Her insights into her mother, father, brother and the torturous, ill-fated relationship between her sister and mother are stunning. They still hold true if you think about other families you know. Both her mother and sister ended up committi ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I liked the quote at the end "I wept for my family, all if us, my beautiful, idyllic, lost family. I wept for our excesses, our delusions and inconsistencies; ...that we had let such extraordinary care be subverted into extraordinary carelessness. We'd been careless with the best of our many resources: each other. It was as though we had taken for granted the fact that there would be more where we had come from too; another chance, another summer, another Brooke, Bridget or Bill."
Lynette Lark
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Politicians. Movie stars. True story. Pamela Harriman.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of good memoir
Shelves: memoir
Brooke Hayward is the eldest daughter of Hollywood royalty, and this is her story of growing up in a family that is rich with talent, intellect and sadness. Her mother was Margaret Sullavan, a brilliant actress much loved by many, and married by four, including Henry Fonda, William Wyler, and Brooke's father, super-agent and prorucer Leland Hayward. He was the "Toscanini of the Telephone," and she was so entrancing that Ogden Nash wrote a poem about her.

Reading this, I was reminded that wealth
Lindsay Luke
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooke Hayward's mother was actress Margaret Sullavan. Her father was producer/agent Leland Hayward. Her family was dysfunctional before that was a thing. This book came out before Mommie Dearest, and was an eyeopener for a lot of people.
The Haywards should have led a charmed life, but instead, there were multiple divorces and marriages, two probable suicides (and a third, brother Bill, long after the book was written), and multiple commitments to mental institutions. It's certainly not as shoc
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best memoir I've ever read and I just read it again after reading it the first time in 1977. Again, I couldn't put it down and stayed up very late for two nights until I finished it again.

There's something about it that reminds me of Henry Miller's writings. Despite all the tragedy and real horror, there's a sense of hope and even humor throughout the book that keeps one mesmerized as if the answer to all will be evident. What is evident is the strength and bravery that Brooke Haywar
Jen Dee
When this book came out in the late '70s I'm sure it was quite sensational - a daughter of a famous family airing all their dirty linen, even before Mommie Dearest came out. So, I'm sure this was a revelation at the time. However, now that these memoirs are de rigueur and many, more shocking stories have come out, this just doesn't seem to leap off the page. Plus the fact that I wasn't living during the time the Hayward family was supposedly so famous, I think, dims the effect of how crazy their ...more
Dale Stonehouse
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a book I owned 30 years ago but never read. This reissue was done very nicely in form and content. After reading books by/about her 2nd husband Dennis Hopper, stepmother Nancy Hawks Hayward Keith, pals Jill Schary (Robinson) and Jane Fonda, among others, there were many connections I knew about and some I did not. The style is true to the 70s, more detailed and emotional than the same account today might be. The new epilogue is a very short update, more would have been appreciated. Not m ...more
Susan Daly
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Dear Group,

I read this book ages ago when it was first published in hardback. I felt as if I was reading my life story, only without the fame.

I gave it to my Mother to read as well and she also said this book sounded exactly like my life. This is my Mother talking!!!

Brooke Hayward had a fabulously interesting life. Oh, the truth she tells. This is one of the very first memoirs I can remember reading.

Ms. Hayward was ahead of her time when it came to writing memoirs, and this is one nearest and d
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have been meaning to read this ever since reading Slim Keith's memoir where it was mentioned (Brooke & her siblings were Slim's stepchildren while she was married to Leland Hayward). Brooke is a wonderful writer, and she has the gift of placing you, with her, then & there, in whatever she is writing about. And she has quite a story to tell. Talented, brilliant & successful parents, each at the top of their respective games, whether Hollywood or Broadway, who had beautiful & talen ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in two days. Very sad family saga. The last page of the book is a wonderful wrap up of what went wrong with this family. Very interesting facts of old Hollywood in the late 30's and 40's........$$$$ may have contributed to the problems. but mental illness was there and took its toll. The last half of the book went very fast. The first half was a bit more detail than I wanted with stories from childhood that were routine though extremely privileged. This is not a book of drug abu ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
I kept waiting to be interested in this book, but the further I got into it, the more annoyed I became with it. Brooke Hayward has undoubtedly had a lot of tragedies in her life, but reading about these tragic events in between her her descriptions of boarding schools in Switzerland, attending Vassar, and her famous friends (the Fondas, amongst others), made the ultimate message of the book seem lost in translation. It never seemed to have a big point or climax, either.
Virginia Van
A beautifully written, moving memoir of a childhood among he Hollywood elite by the daughter of actress Margaret Sulliavan an Leland Hayward, Hollywood agent supreme and a man whom Katherine Hepburn called "the most wonderful man in the whole world". But their life of wealth and happiness with nannies and ponies was also marked by mental illness, suicide and tragedy.
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone that confuses easily or is a little ocd about things being organized, like me. It jumps all over the place and has random paragraphs from family friends just stuck in with no organization. I'm not saying it's bad, it just needs patience. It's so tragic and Brooke must be an incredibly strong woman to keep going and write her memoir after all of her loss.
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one on the insistence of....wait for it...wait for it....NOT chrisnina. My Mom. And it too was in the early 80's. My first foray into the dark side of Hollyweird life.

One never knows what goes on behind closed doors. No matter if those doors sit against a thatched cottage, a tract home, or behind great iron gates.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this a long time ago, probably in the back of a station wagon on a less than delightful family vacation.

Divorced parents, dysfunctional family relationships, although rather mild by today's standards. A slice of life in the fast lane of a Hollywood producer and his Broadway star wife and their children.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed the inside stories of Hollywood stars i watched in movies as i grew up. read this book many years ago and what has stuck in my mind was the wife of Leland Hayward died in a nursing home, alone. no family with her.
Marianne Fanning
Brutal to get through. Classic story of a totally dysfunctional Hollywood family. Difficult to read because the writer was all over the place. Margaret Sullavan was a famous actress but it was back in the '40s and '50's so its hard to relate to.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
stunning. Deeply moving account of a Hollywood family which disintegrated and resulted in the suicide of two of the three children. I read the original hardback version and I am keen to read it again.
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remember hearing of this book years ago, and then forgot all about it. Now that I have read it, I wonder why I wanted to in the first place.
Mike Turner
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting and amazing
Keri Finnie
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved.
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Brooke Hayward (born July 5, 1937) is an American actress and writer.

Born in Los Angeles, Hayward is the eldest, and only surviving, child from the marriage of former agent turned film, television, and stage producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan. Hayward's autobiography, Haywire, was based on her experiences as a child with two world-famous and iconic parents. Margaret Sullavan die
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“I remember at the reception you said to me, 'I'm the daughter of a father who's been married five times. Mother killed herself. My sister killed herself. My brother has been in a mental institution. I'm twenty-three and divorced with two kids.' I said, 'Brooke, either you've got to open the window right now'--we were on the tenth floor--'either you've got to open the window right now and jump out, or say "I'm going to live," because you're right, it's the worst family history that anybody ever had, and either you jump out the window or you live.” 1 likes
“This book is a personal memoir; but it is also a larger story-about carelessness and guilt, and the wreckage they can make of lives.” 0 likes
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