Jane Fonda’s autobiography MY LIFE SO FAR has not gone unnoticed. In one of her book signings during its promotion a Vietnam veteran spat on her. When asked about this on Jay Leno she replied diplomatically that she felt sorry for him. We learn about the many lives of Jane Fonda including her involvement in Vietnam as a protestor and as a visitor where she is photographed with Vietcong soldiers and anti aircraft weapons. She also made controversial radio recordings to US soldiers asking them not to bomb civilians. An action that was called giving aid and comfort to the enemy. For this she received the title Hanoi Jane and even treason charges were brought against her, and then dropped. She explains in MY LIFE SO FAR that she was naďve at the time and didn’t realize how the Vietnamese were manipulating her image yet like many Americans opposed the war.
For the beginnings of her film career she admits to being a bulimic to conform to the Hollywood standards of beauty and during her marriage with husband director Roger Vadim. Though her marriages to Tom Hayden and Ted Turner were more fulfilling in the end she reveals how she was betrayed yet learned so much from these powerful men. But in her evolution it is clear that she gets closer and closer to who she is. After the end of her marriage to Turner she reveals that she has become involved in a community of feminist Christians and community projects in Atlanta, yet another intriguing move by the actress that never seems to amaze.
Men seem to be the defining element in Fonda’s life, beginning with her difficult yet loving relationship to her emotionally shut down father Henry Fonda. The book is dedicated to her mother Francis Ford Seymour who we learn committed suicide, a tragedy Jane found out about when she was young from a movie magazine.
The book is personally written and captivating – I took it with me to Greece this summer for long days at the beach. This was a rich encounter with the different odysseys Fonda has been on which she recalls in with clarity. Fonda’s merits include being is a talented graduate of the Actor’s Studio and a winner of two academy awards for best actress. Her friendships with Simone Signoret and Katherine Hepburn and a score of celebrities are delightful to read about as well as her growing interest in the women’s movement. Perhaps this reads like a woman’s novel but men should be interested too. Jane Fonda has tried to demythologize feminine beauty on her road to self-actualization and involvement humanitarian projects. Rather than read about her controversial deeds from third sources, read what she has to say for herself in this provocative book. Jane Fonda has returned to acting with Monster in Law and clearly she carries the entire film, revealing that even in her sixties she is still a powerful woman of infinite charm and ability.
For Movie Magazine, this is Moira Sullivan Stockholm Sweden
© 2006 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 10/06
My Life So Far
Jane Fonda - Random House