Kathleen Turner wrote Send Yourself Roses at the age of 50. Refreshingly, she does not start from the beginning, as many autobiographies do. She starts from where she is, and I love this approach. At some point she does talk about how she started in acting, but by that time you already have a sense of who she is.
Turner gives an insider view of the thrills and challenges of acting both in film and on the stage. For example, she had to suck on ice cubes in winter so that when she spoke her breath wouldn’t mist up. This was because the film Body Heat was supposed to take place in summer.
Another amusing anecdote was getting bruises from hanging from the chandelier in War Of The Roses. She got into position every day by simply lining up the bruises against the same points on the chandelier!
Her memoir speaks candidly about her separation after 21 years of marriage. She also discusses her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis. This affliction was disastrous for astage actress who cannot afford the luxury of showing signs of pain on stage. This is one gutsy woman.
Who should read Send Yourself Roses
Women anxious about ageing
Turner shows us how to celebrate the later years with confidence, zest and renewed vigour. She actually made me wish I was 50 already! I am happier and stronger now in my 30s than I was in my 20s, so I can imagine it must be wonderful in my 50s.
Couples going through separation or divorce
While it is never an easy decision to end a marriage, Turner explains her view on when it is time to let go. She also shows that it is possible to remain friends with the ex-spouse, for the sake of the children and friends in common. Or simply because you have been an important part of each other’s life.
Sufferers of debilitating illnesses
Turner give hope to those whose doctors have told them that they will never walk again, or some other devastating news. She fights all the way and manages to resume acting again, against all odds.
Aspiring actors and actresses
Most of us see only the glamour of acting, the final product of years of struggle and sacrifice. Turner takes us behind the scenes for a glimpse of what acting is all about. She reminds would-be actors of the importance of passion. And she shows how to put up with the uglier side of the industry, and to succeed in it.
Quotes from Send Yourself Roses
My favourite quote
“I choose my roles for film and stage the same way I choose my roles in life. The woman I play must be integral to the script. If the film or play will be just as good without her, then I will not play that part.” (page 97)
“I learned to keep in mind that I was going back to real life. People who resist that, who want to keep getting that unrealistic level of attention, become selfish, grasping, irresponsible people.” (page 83)
“Ultimately, the only power an actor has is the ability to say no. You’ve got to hold on to that and not make choices based on money or they will own you.” (page 153)
“Any voice can become great if used to take a stand and do service – greater still when joined with others. And sometimes it is the unheralded action of a single individual that speaks most compellingly about righting a wrong of society.” (page 186)
“The choices I make are who I am. Even if they’re wrong choices, to delegate or to cede the right to make them – to anyone – would be to give up yourself.” (page 242)