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Lessons in becoming myself
Burstyn, Ellen
Adult Nonfiction PN2287.B884 A3 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her first book, Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Burstyn has cast a life story that could easily light up the silver screen, replete with abusive parents, high school tragedy, showbiz triumph, reversals of fortune and a plucky heroine in search of professional and spiritual fulfillment. Burstyn begins with impressionistic memories of her Detroit childhood, including her tumultuous relationship with her mother and stepfather Lou, moving from the scare of her brother?s near-fatal struggle with pneumonia when she was not yet 3 to the traumatic illegal abortion she had at age 18. Burstyn?s career kicks off a few years later on Broadway, launching her on a challenging path to movie stardom, a number of failed romances-including a mentally ill husband who would stalk her for years-and her globe-spanning search for religion. Burstyn?s tell-all works beautifully, thanks to her talent for spare but clear description; the happy story of Stone House, her home in upstate New York for 11 years, covers just a few pages, but Butrym still makes her farewell to the house resonate: "I walked away with a sense of carrying my own chapel with me." The blemish in this upbeat, chatty book is Burstyn?s occasional tendency toward self-help language-"The more I struggled to free myself, the more entangled I became"-but it?s easy to forgive, given the honesty, bravery and warmth with which she tells her story. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

Burstyn's autobiography resembles a Hollywood film, complete with an abusive, self-centered mother, sexual predator father, and failed marriages. The Oscar and Tony Award winner reflects on her life and career here, exposing all the pain and difficulty as she moves toward spiritual and creative fulfillment. Born Edna Rae Gillooly, she left home at 18, first working as a model in Detroit and then taking a bus to Manhattan to try for a career in acting. After some lean times, she eventually met acting guru Lee Strasberg and became a student of his method acting, a technique that helped propel her into prominence. She distinguished herself in such films as The Last Picture Show, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and Same Time Next Year, in a role she also played on Broadway. Despite her professional success, Burstyn struggled with personal relationships; she married Neil Burstyn, a psychotic who stalked and threatened her even after they were divorced. Of primary interest, though, is Burstyn's ability to persevere against difficult odds and learn from her mistakes as she strives for knowledge and spiritual meaning. At times the abridgment makes for some abrupt and confusing content shifts, but overall the book is an enjoyable mix of insider film talk and New Age ideas. Burstyn reads in a pleasant though clearly mature voice, providing a convincing touch of reality. Recommended for large collections.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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