NOW by Lauren Bacall


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 Following in the monosyllabic wake of Katharine Hepburn's Me comes Bacall's Now: essays on love, work, children, and friendship. They're a bit makeshift but very human and, finally, offer a likable portrait of an interesting, complex survivor. For those who haven't heard from Bacall since her 1979 autobiography By Myself, she's a bit lonely. She's married off her children, and they all have a pretty good relationship, even though everyone has had ups and downs. She's trying to sell her house in Amagansett, N.Y., because she's not there enough, what with trips to London and Paris. She's ``traveling solo'': no men on the horizon, though at this point she feels she could align herself with Mr. Right. But is he ever hard to find! If the truth be told, there's never been anyone to match Bogie (and this, Bacall says, is the right spelling). In fact, these days she's practically channeling him (``the core of Bogie resides in me''). It's hard to get work even for a legend, and work is what has always defined her. So she's feeling a little tender and wondering what the future holds in store and after all, no one said life was easy. She emerges, even with a mantel full of little Henry Moores and memories of an amazing list of friends (Lenny Bernstein, Spence Tracy, Larry and Vivien, etc.), like an American woman approaching 70. She's a classy Jewish mother who tries to remain nonjudgmental as her only daughter, Leslie, is married by a Tibetan priest. And Bogie's baby is a grandma (she doesn't babysit). In describing how she took Leslie to the L.A. house on Mapleton Drive that she shared with Bogart and their two young children, she tries hard to show us that they were not just celluloid myths--they were real. Bacall's reminiscences of famous people are a little too dutiful. (Where is her famous sense of humor?) But her documentation of getting older, like Hepburn's, is real and recognizable to the aging rest of us. (40 b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 200,000; Book-of-the-Month Club selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1994
ISBN: 0-394-57412-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1994