Surviving Myself

Jennifer O'Neill, Author
Jennifer O'Neill, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (238p) ISBN 978-0-688-15992-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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A model and actress best known for her performance in the film Summer of '42, O'Neill recounts a litany of naive judgments and failed relationships leading up to her present happy marriage in this gabby yet banal memoir. The daughter of an English mother and Puerto Rican father, O'Neill grew up in the Northeast, apparently emotionally impoverished by parents she characterizes as more concerned with one another than with her and her brother. Devoted to her beloved horse and dog, at the age of 14 she took an overdose of sleeping pills after her parents informed her that she would have to give up her animals because the family was relocating to Manhattan. O'Neill began a grueling and lucrative modeling career at 15, married her first husband at 17 and became a mother the following year, when their daughter, Aimee, was born. The author chronicles the details of her film career, as well as her desperate search for the right man--a quest that resulted in seven more marriages, two more children and a number of painful miscarriages. O'Neill credits her survival and the positive changes she has made in her life to the spiritual growth she underwent when she became a born-again Christian in 1987. (Mar.)
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