Bacall wants the world to know who she is now: not merely a famous celluloid image, or Humphrey Bogart's other half, but a woman who has experienced both loss and achievement in her career as well as in her personal life. With such an aim in mind, her new book reads almost as an extended footnote to her more comprehensive autobiography, Lauren Bacall by Myself (LJ 2/1/79). She fills gaps in the chronology of her first book with sensitive ruminations on her family life, her marriages to Bogart and Jason Robards, her friendships with the likes of Laurence Olivier and John Huston, and her stage, screen, and television projects. Her unconventional stream-of-consciousness approach occasionally seems undisciplined. Yet, despite such foibles, her forthright style is honest, engaging, and often poignant as she speaks of career highs and hiatuses, of loneliness and love. Readers who want to know about Bacall's early career should refer to her first book. For the quiet reflections of a true star, Now is the book to read. Recommended for popular biography collections. [BOMC main selection.]-Jayne Plymale-Jackson, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athen.
It's been 15 years since Bacall wrote By Myself, a rich, if necessarily incomplete, autobiography that contained immensely touching accounts of the life of her husband, Humphrey Bogart, and of his painful death in 1957. In her new memoir, she makes it clear that she still judges people and life by Bogart's standards-high ones. Her narrative is fragmentary, almost breathless, but full of raw personality and almost clumsy directness. Two topics weave in and out of the staccato story: motherhood and acting. Bacall's accounts of her theatrical triumphs (Cactus Flower, Applause) and failures (Franklin Street, Good-bye Charlie) are more engaging than her reports of the deep concern she has for her three children (a son and daughter from her marriage with Bogart, and the youngest, the son of Jason Robards). She tends to share details only a mother needs to know. But her dedication to acting-and she means the stage, not the screen-is engrossing: ``Acting requires boldness,'' she tells us. ``Laying your life on the line eight times a week is not for the meek and mild.'' Bacall is certainly not meek. She is brave enough to present her life without excuses. Photos not seen by PW. 200,000 first printing; BOMC selection.