Lauren Bacall's memoir is an Oscar-worthy read from a silver screen star

Nov 5, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As a classic film enthusiast, I'm constantly roaming around the realm of nostalgia. Over the years, I’ve immersed myself in countless Old Hollywood biographies. But none of them stand out in mind as much as Lauren Bacall’s By Myself and Then Some.

It’s rare when a movie star’s autobiography lives up to the splendor of her on-screen persona — let alone surpasses it.

Lauren Bacall's intimate self-portrait, By Myself and Then Some, does just that.

Right from the first page, you feel as if you’re reminiscing with an old friend. Bacall’s tone invites you to relive all of her moments right beside her. You can hear her husky voice, echoing every emotion in between her words.

Her wit. Her toughness. Her strength. Everything you see when you watch her on screen becomes even more audacious in print.

Her prose is in accord with her heartstrings, composing an enthralling symphony. Her highs and lows become your own as she draws you into every experience with an unadulterated honesty. It’s Bacall’s ability to recognize her flaws and not be ashamed of them that is part of the book’s appeal. This sincerity, along with her story, make this all but impossible to put down. Every chapter is a reflection of the strength that shaped her from childhood.

At the tender age of 19, Bacall became an instant screen star and had the love affair of a lifetime with one of Hollywood’s top leading men, Humphrey Bogart. He died just 13 years later, leaving Bacall a 31-year-old widow with two children.

After marrying again, getting divorced and becoming a Broadway sensation, she proved what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Through every stage, Bacall lets it all hang out in an unsentimental way, not severing any details or dwelling on any memory.

Rich with realness, By Myself and Then Some is a book for all women, young and old. As she shares her story about being a self-reliant, independent woman, Ms. Bacall is inspiring through every loss and triumph in her National Book Award-winning memoir.