This isn’t your usual celebrity memoir, because Diane Keaton isn’t your usual celebrity.
In fact, using the term “celebrity” feels wrong, somehow. Because Diane has written this book as a way to connect with her mother, who passed away recently, by writing her own story and also in the process writing her mother’s story, too. It’s a beautiful, touching, inspiring read that proves Diane Keaton is so much more than the quirky, menswear fashion icon seen in Annie Hall.
There’s some Woody Allen dish in the book, along with some words about Diane’s other lovers, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, but the focus of this memoir is the family that Diane grew up in and the family that she has now created, a single mother of two adopted children.
What I loved the most about Then Again is learning about Diane’s mother Dorothy Hall – Woody based the Hall family on Diane’s, although the resemblance ends at the last name – and Dorothy’s struggles to express herself and remain creative. It’s impossible for a reader not to get emotional when Diane often intersperses her own journal entries with Dorothy’s – both mother and daughter have dabbled in art projects such as collages, and both have tried to figure out a way to be themselves while raising a family.
I dare you not to tear up at Diane’s words, a passage which becomes an explanation of the title: “One more thing, Mom. How does it all so soon become then? …It’s weird, but I think you’ll understand. As I’ve written our memoir – your words with my words – sometimes I feel like it’s Again without the Then” (page 256).
It’s also inspiring to read about a woman who defines herself by her creativity and her creative work, and that’s why Diane Keaton is a huge inspiration to me.