Annie Hall and Family, Off the Screen

Janet Maslin in The New York Times:

BookDiane Keaton’s book about her life is not a straight-up, chronological memoir. It’s a collage that mixes Ms. Keaton’s words with those of her mother, Dorothy Deanne Keaton Hall, who died in 2008. Since Ms. Hall left behind 85 scrapbooklike journals, a huge and chaotic legacy, there is every reason to expect that Ms. Keaton’s braiding of her own story with her mother’s in “Then Again” will be a rambling effort at best.

Instead it is a far-reaching, heartbreaking, absolutely lucid book about mothers, daughters, childhood, aging, mortality, joyfulness, love, work and the search for self-knowledge. Show business too. The collage format works so well for Ms. Keaton that she can easily weave her love affairs with three very famous film luminaries into the larger tapestry of her life with family and friends. Not many lives would lend themselves to this kind of autobiographical treatment. But Ms. Keaton’s timing is so different from her mother’s that the contrasts between their lives are full of drama. “At 63, I’m doing what Dorothy did when she was 24,” writes Ms. Keaton, who adopted the first of her two children when she was 50. Dorothy was a young housewife when she raised Diane and her three younger siblings (two sisters and a brother). And when they left home, they left her at a loss, and the journal writing began.

More here.