I had purchased Diane Keaton’s recent book, Then Again, when it came out and put it in a stack of books to read later. And so this weekend, in the sweltering Washington, DC heat, I picked it up and decided to read it because, frankly, I thought it would be a very light read. And, despite the glowing review by Janet Maslin of the New York Times, I wasn’t expecting that much out of the book. Was I wrong.
I have always liked Diane Keaton as an actress – from Annie Hall and the Godfather series to The First Wives Club and Something’s Got to Give. I didn’t think much about whether I’d like her as a person. After reading this rich and poignant book about her life, her mother’s yearning for self-expression and their complicated relationship (don’t we all have complicated relationships with our mothers?) I wished she was my friend. Actually, after reading the book, it felt like she was my friend – and confidant – on the road dealing with career and life challenges, her mother’s Alzheimer’s, and the puzzle of creating a life that is your own. Keaton brought together journals her mother kept over the course of her life and Keaton’s own contemporaneous letters to weave such a rich tapestry; it was at times breathtaking. The book made me laugh and cry and it reminded me of the importance of friends, family, being there for each other and cherishing the time we have together.