Friday, September 30, 2011

Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman-Patricia Bosworth

Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Patricia Bosworth

Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, Aug 30 2011, $30.00

ISBN: 9780547152578

This is a deep biography that uses all types of reference material including Jane Fonda’s FBI file, her suicide mother’s psychiatric records, her relationship with her demanding dad the icon actor Henry and interviews to get inside the changing public images to the soul of Ms. Fonda. The book is divided into a prologue, five distinct eras, and an epilogue. Ms. Bosworth openly admits she and her subject have been friends since they met as students at New York Actors Studio in the early 1960s, but this does not prevent the biographer from writing about the good, the bad and the ugly. Perhaps the most fascinating theme is a need to find a father figure who cared about her. Ms. Fonda’s transition as reflected in the five periods of her life starts with being Henry’s “Daughter” (Tall Story) seeking his approval. In her early twenties having given up on achieving her dad’s okay, Ms. Fonda turns to becoming the consummate “Actress” (Cat Ballou). In the 1960s, Ms. Fonda is recognized as a “Movie Star/Sex Symbol” married to director Roger Vadim (Barbarella). Over the next two decades she becomes a “Political Activist” (Coming Home) speaking out against the Viet Nam War and ridiculed as Hanoi Jane. while married to Tom Hayden. Finally in the 1990s she becomes the “Workout Guru/Tycoon Wife” married to Ted Turner and running a multimillion dollar workout video company. Ms. Bosworth enables readers to get inside “The Private Life of a Public Woman” in a wonderful biography.

Harriet Klausner

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