Synopses & Reviews
She is one of the most recognizable women of our time. America knows Jane Fonda as an actress and an activist, a feminist and a wife, a workout guru and a role model. Now, in this extraordinary memoir, Fonda reveals that she is so much more. From her youth among Hollywood's elite and her early film career to the challenges and triumphs of her life today, Jane Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."
Fonda divides her "life so far" into three "acts," writing about her childhood, first films, and marriage to Roger Vadim in Act One. At once a picture emerges: a child born to the acting legend Henry Fonda and the glamorous society princess Frances Seymour. But these early years are also marked by profound sadness: her mother's mental illness and suicide when Jane is twelve years old, her father's emotional distance, and her personal struggle to find her way in the world as a young woman.
By her second act, Fonda lays the foundation for her activism, even as her career takes flight. She highlights her struggle to live consciously and authentically while remaining in the public eye as she recounts her marriages to Tom Hayden and Ted Turner, and examines her controversial and defining involvement with the Vietnam War. As her film career grows, Fonda learns to incorporate her roles into a larger vision of what matters most in her life and in the process she wins two Academy Awards, for Klute and for Coming Home.
In Fonda's third act, she is prepared to do the work of a lifetime to begin living consciously in a way that might inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Surprising, candid, and wonderfully written, Jane Fonda's My Life So Far is filled with universal insights into the personal struggles of women living full and engaged lives.
"At 67, Fonda looks back on a full life with insight and more than a tinge of regret. The actress-cum-activist-turned-aerobics instructor (and now philanthropist) has a lot to say and, for the most part, it's interesting-if readers can hang on through the too-frequent, lengthy passages of self-analysis. Fonda clings to the theme of defining herself through the men in her life, starting with her father, the detached and intimidating Henry Fonda, and moving through her three husbands: Barbarella director Roger Vadim (1965-1973), student activist-turned-politician Tom Hayden (1973-1990) and self-indulgent philanthropist Ted Turner (1991-2001). It doesn't matter whether Fonda's paying for her acting lessons at Lee Strasberg's studio by modeling for women's magazines; trying to internalize the role of a prostitute (for 1971's Klute); or engaging in a threesome at the request of Vadim-she continually feels inadequate. Perhaps it was her mother's suicide when Fonda was just a girl, or her parents' unhealthy marriage. Whatever the reason, Fonda has struggled with feelings of insufficiency and codependency-and eating disorders-for much of her adult life. She discusses her controversial trip to Hanoi in 1972 (writing those chapters in the present tense), rueful that she allowed herself to be photographed on an antiaircraft gun, yet insisting, 'I was framed and turned into a lightning rod for people's anger.' More weighty than the average celebrity memoir, Fonda's remembrances, while wordy, nicely sum up more than 50 years of American history, seen through the eyes of one well-traveled woman. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Fonda spills it all, from Barbarella to Ted Turner." Library Journal
"My Life So Far comes along right now like a balm of reconciliation for a polarized, schizophrenic country." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A]n intimate, haunting book..." New York Times
"To hold this book in your hands is to be astonished by how much living can be packed into 60-plus years..." Los Angeles Times
"My Life So Far is perhaps the most frank memoir by a seminal cultural figure in modern memory....[Fonda's] prose is refreshing and direct....Her honesty...is a force." Philadelphia Inquirer
"Jane Fonda's autobiography is as beguiling and as maddening as Jane Fonda herself." Washington Post
Born into the Hollywood of her legendary father Henry Fonda, the actress and bestselling author tells the story of her remarkable life the movies, the men, the times of her life. From studying acting with Lee Strasberg to the making of many movies Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, The China Syndrome, On Golden Pond from marriages to French movie director Roger Vadim, activist Tom Hayden, media billionaire Ted Turner, to her independent life today; from antiwar activism to feminism and child advocacy; My Life So Far reveals the woman herself, with rich insights into the struggles of being human.
About the Author
Jane Fonda was born in New York City in 1937. She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College. Fonda later studied with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg and became a member of the Actors Studio in New York. Her subsequent work on stage and screen earned numerous honors, including two Best Actress Academy Awards Klute
(1971) and Coming Home
(1978) and an Emmy Award for her performance in The Dollmaker
. Fonda was also a successful producer, whose credits include The China Syndrome
, Nine to Five
,On Golden Pond
, and The Morning After
Fonda revolutionized the fitness industry with the release of Jane Fondas Workout in 1982, which remains the top-grossing home video of all time. She then produced twenty-three home exercise videos, thirteen audio recordings, and five bestselling books. She now focuses her time on activism and philanthropy, in such areas as adolescent reproductive health, pregnancy prevention, school reform through arts, and building resiliency in girls and boys by addressing destructive gender stereotypes. In 1995 she founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP), which she chairs. In 2002, she opened the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University's School of Medicine. She lives in Atlanta.
Review A Day
"[N]o matter what your preconceptions are, Fonda's My Life So Far
is never boring. It's clear we're in for no minor feast of fatuity as soon as she explains that her purpose in looking back is to give her life, a hurricane in a pawnshop if ever there was one, unity....[Y]ou have to admit that hubris this innocent has its charm." Tom Carson, the Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review