Lessons in Becoming Myself

Lessons in Becoming Myself

Book - 2006
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Penguin Putnam
In this powerful story of a woman's search for a deeper understanding of herself, Ellen Burstyn explores the unexpected paths her life has taken in this unflinchingly honest, moving, and inspirational memoir.

Ellen Burstyn has always defied expectations. Born in Detroit during the Depression, she left home at eighteen, leaving behind a complicated relationship with her mother, and moved to Dallas to become a model. Eventually, Burstyn ended up in New York City, where she performed in a variety of roles on Broadway and on television in the late 1950s and early 1960s before turning to film. Over the course of her career she delivered brilliant performances in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore-for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress-Resurrection, and Requiem for a Dream.

But this book is much more than a recitation of Burstyn's acting triumphs. It's a frank and unsparing account of her search for personal and professional authenticity and the consequences of that struggle. Burstyn's efforts as an actor to uncover the enduring truths in each of her roles, which she learned from Lee Strasberg at the renowned Actors Studio, inform her life offstage as well. In Lessons in Becoming Myself, Burstyn describes her personal missteps and how confronting them encouraged her to find a different life path. Raised a Catholic, Burstyn has spent her life exploring a wide range of spiritual experience-from the Himalayas to Cambodia, from Mont Blanc to New York City-that goes deeper than labels.

Lessons in Becoming Myself is the extraordinary story of the quest for the examined life. By turns thoughtful and funny, insightful and lighthearted, it is a brilliant accomplishment by one of the finest observers of human nature.

Baker & Taylor
An inspirational account by the Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning actress discusses her complicated relationship with her mother, film and Broadway roles, and her ongoing search for personal and professional authenticity. 150,000 first printing.

Blackwell North Amer
Ellen Burstyn has always defied expectations. Born in Detroit during the Depression, she left home at eighteen and became a model for J. L. Hudson, Detroit's largest department store. After a failed marriage and a string of unsatisfying relationships and jobs that took her from Detroit to Dallas to Montreal, Burstyn settled in New York, where she began her career as an actress. Her first audition landed her the lead in a Broadway play, with the show's producer, the legendary playwright and director Moss Hart, telling her, "You're a natural."
When Burstyn reluctantly moved to Los Angeles with her second husband, she eventually turned to film, delivering over the course of her career brilliant performances in The Last Picture Show; The Exorcist; Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress); Same Time, Next Tear; Resurrection, and Requiem for a Dream.
Lessons in Becoming Myself is the culmination of these lessons. It's the story of Burstyn's life as an actor, of her early work in such films as the critically acclaimed Last Picture Show, and of how her portrayal of Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist - a movie still considered by many the scariest ever made - led her to star in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, one of the first movies to explore the plight of a single mother struggling to find her own way in the world.
Yet this book is also an account of Burstyn's search for personal and professional authenticity and the consequences of that search. She describes the personal missteps, toxic relationships, and private demons she has battled, and how confronting them prompted her to find a different life path. Raised a Catholic (for a time she even attended a Catholic boarding school), Burstyn has traveled the world exploring a wide range of spiritual experiences that defy labels and go deep to the heart of who she is. From the Swiss Alps to Cambodia, from the Himalayas to the streets of New York, Burstyn has sought - and found - answers to life's most puzzling questions.

Baker
& Taylor

The award-winning actress discusses her complicated relationship with her mother, film and Broadway roles, and her ongoing search for personal and professional authenticity.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2006
ISBN: 9781594489297
1594489297
Characteristics: viii, 433 p. ill. ; 24 cm

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AnamCara
Dec 10, 2007

I enjoyed this book. She not only covered the events that made her who she was but she included her spiritual path and how it wasn't easy or a straight line. A good read.

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annekim9
Aug 26, 2007

Beautifully told; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fine actor's journey to becoming herself.

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