The Nobel Peace Summit Award-winning actress, activist, and humanitarian chronicles her efforts to recover and rebuild after a massive stroke, discussing how her health challenges were also shaped by industry standards, childhood traumas, and family bonds.
... 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.