Sunday, May 08, 2005

Folding Star (A Winding Road) reviews Jane Fonda's My Life So Far

Community member Folding Star does a book chat on weekends at A Winding Road. (And it's moving from Saturdays to Sundays.) As people dedicated to literacy, we often scratch our heads after an edition goes up wondering how we failed to spotlight any books, plays, poetry or song lyrics. The answer is we're always rushing. So, when we can remember, we'll pull from Folding Star's book criticism if we haven't prepared anything ourselves. (And thank you to Folding Star for sharing so generously.)

With Monster-in-Law opening this Friday, we have decided to highlight F.S.'s review of Jane Fonda's My Life So Far:

The other great book I read since my last Book Chat was Jane Fonda's autobiography, My Life So Far.

I got so caught up in this book that hours would slip by unnoticed. I had several nights of little sleep because I'd pick it up to read in bed, just for a little while, and the next thing I'd know it would be close to four a.m.!

It's the most incredibly forthright autobiography I've ever read. Fonda opens herself up to the reader in very honest ways, exploring her difficult relationship with her father, her reaction to her mother's suicide, her three marriages, her film career, her struggles with bulima and low self esteem, and her actions during the Vietnam War in intimate detail.

The ultimate portrait is one of a human being who's made plenty of mistakes but who has come to know herself and believe in herself at last, not to mention someone who has the courage of her convictions and works to make this world a better place.

I picked up the book feeling I knew Fonda well enough. I'd liked her from the time I was a small kid, when 9 to 5 was one of my favorite movies. I didn't consciously get the very powerful message of the film at the time, of course, but I couldn't get enough of the movie itself. The humor of the movie appealed to me, even though, looking back, I realize how much of it was over my young head.

But after reading the book, I realized how little I'd known about this amazing woman, about her commitments to making a difference in the world, about her own personal struggles to know and love herself that are all too relatable to many of us and that I never would have imagined that someone like Jane Fonda had to deal with.

Every aspect of her story is told to help those who may be dealing with similar feelings and circumstances. Even in the telling of her life story, Fonda is reaching out to others, trying to help.

Her chapters on the Vietnam war and in particular the US Government's actions against her during that time are not to be missed, either, for anyone who may not be aware of that part of our country's history. It will also read as all too familiar a picture when compared to the current situation our country finds itself in.

I honestly think that, whatever your feelings for Fonda may be, if you give this book a chance you'll be shocked at what you take away from it.

Rebecca, Betty, Kat, C.I. and all of us (Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava) had read My Life So Far. We reviewed the book in an earlier Sunday edition. But for anyone who has not read it, we'd strongly recommend you read it. And remember, if funds permit, Jane Fonda's film (Monster-in-Law) opens this Friday.

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