Brilliantly sustained parody of a neurotic actress’s half of a marathon therapy session—oh, wait a minute, she’s not kidding?
Turner’s memoir reveals a terminally self-absorbed performer unable to distinguish profundity from trite self-affirmation. Tracey Ullman could turn this material into a dandy one-woman show, but the laughs provoked here are unintentional. Meandering anecdotes about various family members, Turner presumes, are rendered inherently fascinating by her celebrity. In a typical passage, she goes into excruciating detail about her daughter’s high-school graduation, jeopardized by an unfulfilled gym requirement. The hoped-for dirt on costars fails to materialize: She admits to a crush on Michael Douglas while making Romancing the Stone, calls out Nicolas Cage for his unpleasantness during the filming of Peggy Sue Got Married, and characterizes Body Heat lead William Hurt as mildly strange. Such restraint might appear admirable if only a) it did not make for such dull reading, and b) it seemed motivated by a sense of propriety rather than an overpowering desire to share with us All Things Kathleen. Hers is indeed an interesting life, marked by a peripatetic upbringing as the child of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, movie stardom, stage successes, struggles with rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholism. Unfortunately, these subjects are explored only insofar as they support the book’s main thrust: what a spunky, down-to-earth, talented, sensitive, intelligent person Turner is. Things improve when she focuses on her work; flashes of insight regarding the technical aspects of film acting whet the appetite for more. And Turner is an agreeable personality on the page, addressing the reader as “baby” and indulging in amusingly salty language. A diary covering her iconic work in Body Heat would have been delightful. This isn’t.
The title sums it up quite neatly: a self-indulgent, rambling and intermittently diverting ego parade.