... candid ... While it contains some startling personal revelations, equally affecting is Stone’s warmth and grace, qualities that, by the end, feel quite miraculous ... The details she presents, while vivid, are not prurient ... A compulsion to unravel — to demystify — drives her eviscerating portrait of Hollywood ... Writing with zeal and urgency, Stone argues for a stronger legal system, for rape kits on police shelves to be processed, for better training for teachers and pediatricians. Above all, she offers a hopeful glimpse of life beyond trauma ... promises the possibility of improvement or redemption, of compassion and understanding, of living honestly.
It is, in any case, a rather arduous journey—for the reader too. Ms. Stone can’t seem to do a good deed without heralding it as such, then pretends to play it down. There is much self-consciously spiritual talk about taking journeys and paths, trusting in the here and now, finding a way 'to succeed better' ...The book is most compelling and assured as a portrait of the actress as a young striver ... Celebrity memoirs tend to run along predictable lines—a combination of score-settling, record-correcting, name-dropping, dirt-dishing and secret-telling. The Beauty of Living Twice follows this template up to a point ... Even when Ms. Stone is talking about another star, somehow it all ends up being about her ... To be fair, Ms. Stone has been an active social activist, has stood up for herself, demanded her due. You want to like her and for a page or two you do, because she is very good at being off-handedly charming and, really, she does have a fine sense of the ridiculous. But then she goes and tells you how hard she has worked, how much money she has raised, how much of value she has done, what a swell friend she is ... Granted, too, this is Ms. Stone’s book. She can say what she wants. But for all she tries to process what has befallen her, to speak from the heart, it often sounds like a performance, and the script tends toward grandiose incoherence.
... an unusually readable Hollywood memoir ... It’s the stuff of promotional profiles to observe that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to a famous person, but Stone is a celebrity so classic that all the clichés seem fascinating in her case ... Insightful first-person writing about the experience of being commodified is rare; there aren’t exactly a lot of her peers around, let alone ones who can write. But Stone does seem to have written the book herself ... She’s a good storyteller ... The gossipy moments in this book are juicy...Her occasional lapses into divahood, meanwhile are frankly more entertaining to read than the more virtuous edit of the same event would have been. There’s a touch of Eve Babitz to her style ... She depicts childhood abuse with exquisite control ... Stone is a strong portraitist of the instant in time, and aware that stardom, like identity, is mostly a phenomenon of the memory—the true movie star is the one you remember compulsively, long after seeing her on screen. That person is now a memory to herself.
True to her extraordinary cinematic chops, actor Stone launches her powerhouse memoir with the dramatic events surrounding the life-threatening stroke she suffered in September 2001 ... Stone recounts with her trademark flintiness and surprising tenderness ... Stone recounts her stressful childhood, her storied career, and her strained relationships with both verve and an unexpected vulnerability, evincing an abiding faith and fierce determination to regain the physical and emotional strength she needed to reenter the world on her own terms as artist and activist. Deeply compelling and redefining.
... unpredictable energy. [Stone's] writing can be electrifying, especially when she’s describing her early life or her illness; at other times, a drizzle of Hollywood spirituality and cosmic learning dims the brightness ... She cheerfully admits she could be seen as a “quirky broad”, an endearing impression strengthened by her more robust writing, the brisk, gum-popping aphorisms issued as if she’s sparring with Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant ... She knows how to focus, understands how to frame a terrible scene ... all over the place — a passage about spending 1984 in Zimbabwe shooting King Solomon’s Mines, all Congolese black hash and terrifying hospitals, demands another book, while her description about her 'life of service' is a textbook illustration of the queasy interplay between charity and celebrity, and what happens when Madonna is late for a fundraising gala. Yet it leaves the righteous impression of somebody who knows her own value, who understands Basic Instinct is 'about more than just a peek up my skirt, people' and who knows the power of women getting mad and getting even. 'No, I didn’t get the fairy tale,' she writes. 'I got real life.' Even through the Hollywood filters, it’s there on every page.
Often shocking, Sharon Stone’s life has been difficult from birth, but one senses her immeasurable growth as an intelligent, empathetic, well-traveled feminist. The Beauty of Living Twice is a powerfully written and enlightening read for Sharon Stone fans, cinephiles, and lovers of glitzy, yet down-to-earth memoirs.
... sincere ... [Stone's] candid writing brings readers into her life before and after her stroke ... Her writing is conversational and engaging, especially as she tells the powerful stories that demonstrate resilience and grit in many facets of her life, from her childhood to her acting career and beyond. She warmly embraces and explains the aspects of her spirituality—especially her path toward Buddhism—that have guided her through life and provided comfort when she needed it the most. At times, the narrative seems to meander, but Stone never loses sight of the things that keep her centered—faith and support from loved ones ... A welcome memoir of finding your way when life doesn’t go according to plan. Stone’s vulnerability and rediscovery will resonate with many readers.
The book includes almost no detail at all about her romantic history, and there's relatively little here, too, about her experience in Hollywood, except as being mostly incidental to the actress' more spiritual evolution ... Stone has a sense of humor, especially about some of the more bizarre occurrences of her life, but the writing falls flat sometimes, too; more than one clearly intended mic drop fails to make an impact. In all honesty, I found some of her reflections to be needlessly patronizing, some of her commentary misguided (especially regarding a 2008 interview flub about China); in short, her voice didn't always speak to me. But she definitely has her own voice, and a strong one — she makes clear that she's learned in her life to insist on having it — and her story itself is undeniable, however any reader responds to her telling of it ... Stone's narration jumps between memories linked by feeling rather than chronology, and it can become disorienting, unclear who she was at the time of any moment she dives into, especially because of the diversity of her experience. She acknowledges that 'this book is but a bit of a full and complex life,' but it could stand to be a rounder, more legible fragment. In many ways the memoir didn't bring me much closer to knowing who she is except to learn that she herself knows who she is — a hard-won privilege. After unfathomable trauma and pain and loss and disaster, she's still standing, sharing this story from her own perspective, and now looking ahead to a path of her own making. There's real beauty in living like that.
As an icon of Hollywood glamour and clear subversion of the dumb-blonde myth as soon as she opens her mouth, Stone’s existence is baldfaced in its rarefaction. But even without the fame that is her memoir’s primary selling point, enough has happened to Stone to fill a book much longer than the 246-pager that she turned in ... While Stone’s writing frequently suggests that she is aware and in complete mastery of her eccentricities, her book is nonetheless something of a disappointment. As an unconventional persona, she has arranged her memoir to have an unconventional structure that prioritizes theme over linearity ... But sometimes Beauty seems to hew a little too close to the experience of losing one’s mind as literally as Stone did during her neurological health crisis. Narrative chaos abounds. Stone betrays her no-bullshit persona repeatedly with circuitous storytelling, leaving glaring holes in her recounting. Reading the book at times has the effect of experiencing a migraine with aura ... Beauty is best appreciated as a string of anecdotes and humorous observations from someone who already has our attention ... Stone’s prose can be vivid ... Very few anecdotes about her movies are included (I would have especially loved to hear what it’s like to flop, or why on earth she thought Basic Instinct 2 was a good idea).
... generous ... alternates between vague summarization and incredibly personal recollections ... She dishes on her experiences with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and her philanthropic efforts around the world. But she only briefly talks about her experience of adopting three sons, one of whom became the subject of an acrimonious custody dispute with her ex-husband Phil Bronstein ... Overall, the book reads like an oral history, as if someone were typing furiously while Stone reminisced about her exceptional life ... Somehow, this old Hollywood narrative style works, and Stone delivers a bighearted, wonderfully rambling story full of wisdom and humor.
Though the memoir is unevenly, frenetically narrated, that will only deter readers unfamiliar with Stone’s persona. Delivering a barrage of self-reflective anecdotes, she is consistently candid, alternatingly tender and feisty, and always witty ... Fans will blissfully revel in the intimate if restlessly delivered details in this perceptive memoir.
... bold ... Suffused with wry humor, Stone's storytelling alternates between literary descriptions and intimate colloquialisms ... Though there are plenty of celebrity cameos, the memoir is neither tell-all nor fluff; without veering into self-pity, Stone's clear about the difficulties of being a woman who became famous for baring it all on screen, but didn't want to sleep with her coworkers ... The mix of moxie and vulnerability conveys a life well lived, and well examined.