Lessons in Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The public knows Ellen Burstyn as an accomplished actor. What I discovered in reading this exceptional memoir is that she is also an accomplished writer. Without a ghostwriter, using only the diaries, letters, notes and memories she's kept for eighty years, she has put together the story not only of her day-to-day experiences but most importantly of her search for finding her true inward self.
This is the story of her spiritual journey told honestly and without self-pity. It begins with the her childhood promise to herself to leave home on her eighteenth birthday to escape her cold and abusive mother. Her journey takes her to some surprising jobs. I hadn't known, for example, that she had been one of the dancers on "The Jackie Gleason" show or that she had modeled for department store buyers in Texas, or that she had studied with some of the world's religious and mystic leaders.
Readers who have admired her movie and theatre roles will find it interesting to discover some of the ways she captures her characters. We also learn of some of the people who have been most influential in her life.
This is an intelligent memoir which Burstyn admirers and others who are interested in one person's search for truth will find rewarding.
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