As one of the screen's most respected actresses, Oscar-winner Diane Keaton has starred in The Godfather (parts I, II, and III), Annie Hall, Baby Boom, and Something's Gotta Give—with more to come. Always compelling on screen, she credits her mother, Dorothy Keaton Hall, with being the most important and the most influential person in her life. Keaton's first memoir, Then Again, due from Random House in November, is really two stories intertwined, Keaton's and her mother's. This morning, she will share some of their stories at the Book & Author Breakfast.
Then Again is based on the depth and nuances of the mother-daughter relationship, and is both a memoir and a tribute as Keaton tells Show Daily. "I wrote it because in some way I wanted my mother's voice to be heard."
After her mother passed away in 2008 following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, Keaton and her siblings started reading her vast collection of journals, notebooks, and scrapbooks—which included every clipping of her famous daughter's work. "My mother documented our family. That's why this came to be a story about what it's like to be a mom." She adds, "My mother was insecure and very sensitive, yet strong and powerful as a mother, and she gave so much. It took me so long to accept the fact that mother was a separate person, and I didn't deal with it as much as I should have. Now I wish I had."
Keaton credits her mother's journals with helping her "find a forum" for the book, and she says she really enjoyed the "writing, rewriting, and editing" process—particularly the editing. Because both stories are told side by side, "It was such a learning process to blend in one with another. I had her words and my words, so I was able to mix and match."
Keaton says she also did not mind putting in the time required. "I am like my mother and father. I like to work. I get up early and have a lot of discipline, and I'll just work. I am not bored by it." A busy mother of two herself, she adds, "I'd take my daughter swimming and work in the car—half the time my office was the back of the car, which I really enjoyed."
What does Keaton hope readers take away from the book? "Appreciate your mother. It's unbelievable what they do for us."