As an actress, Diane Keaton has had an incredible journey. After all, few individuals in her line of work are able to carve out careers that span four decades, let alone win Academy Awards and continue to land substantial roles well into their 60s.
But Keaton recently delved into someone else's great journey: her mother's. Dorothy Keaton passed away in 2008, but left behind 85 journals containing her thoughts, memories, love letters and artwork. Diane Keaton had been mulling over the idea of writing her own memoir for nearly a decade, but was searching for a co-author. Poring over her late mother's diaries, she found her.
"It just kind of broke my heart that I didn't read them earlier," Keaton told As It Happens host Carol Off in an interview. "But it was very engaging to read my mother because she went through many voices in the course of her life. I remember that in the very beginning when I was just a baby and my father had been shipped off to Boston in World War II, my mother wrote reams of letters to him. And the sound of her voice reminded me of, like, an Andy Hardy movie with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney."
She combines her mother's diary entries with her own stories in her memoir Then Again. From the early beginnings of her acting career in the theatres of New York City to her famous appearances in big screen classics like The Godfather, Annie Hall and Reds, Keaton says adding her mother's perspective to her memoir felt like a natural thing to do, especially considering she was one of her biggest fans and supporters from the very start.
"She was constantly supportive over about any creative endeavour that any [family member had]," Keaton said. "So she would deal with it. I would come home, I would complain, I would sit across from her at the kitchen counter, where she had her mid-afternoon snack, and say, 'Well, David Garland doesn't like me anymore, and how come Kenny Aiken, Mr. Music of Orange County, won't cast me in a part?' And she would just constantly say, 'Well, don't worry Diane, we'll show them ... '"
As long as it was about realizing a dream, my mother was there to help realize the dream. She was a great partner."
by Diane Keaton
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From the publisher:
"Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she'd collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.
So begins Diane Keaton's unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always-thinking Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. In a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother. Over the course of her life, Dorothy kept eighty-five journals — literally thousands of pages — in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself. Dorothy also recorded memorable stories about Diane's grandparents. Diane has sorted through these pages to paint an unflinching portrait of her mother — a woman restless with intellectual and creative energy, struggling to find an outlet for her talents — as well as her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.
More than the autobiography of a legendary actress, Then Again is a book about a very American family with very American dreams. Diane will remind you of yourself, and her bonds with her family will remind you of your own relationships with those you love the most."