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Publisher's Summary

She is one of the most recognizable women of our time. America knows Jane Fonda as an actress and an activist, a feminist and a wife, a workout guru and a role model. Now, in this extraordinary memoir, Fonda reveals that she is so much more. From her youth among Hollywood's elite and her early film career to the challenges and triumphs of her life today, Jane Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

Fonda divides her "life so far" into three "acts", writing about her childhood, first films, and marriage to Roger Vadim in Act One. At once a picture emerges: a child born to the acting legend Henry Fonda and the glamorous society princess Frances Seymour. But these early years are also marked by profound sadness: her mother's mental illness and suicide when Jane is 12 years old, her father's emotional distance, and her personal struggle to find her way in the world as a young woman.

By her second act, Fonda lays the foundation for her activism, even as her career takes flight. She highlights her struggle to live consciously and authentically while remaining in the public eye as she recounts her marriages to Tom Hayden and Ted Turner, and examines her controversial and defining involvement with the Vietnam War. As her film career grows, Fonda learns to incorporate her roles into a larger vision of what matters most in her life, and in the process she wins two Academy Awards, for Klute and for Coming Home.

In Fonda's third act, she is prepared to do the work of a lifetime, to begin living consciously in a way that might inspire others who can learn from her experiences.

Surprising, candid, and wonderfully written, Jane Fonda's My Life So Far is filled with universal insights into the personal struggles of women living full and engaged lives.

Want to hear about Jane Fonda's first date with Ted Turner? She talks about that night and more in this interview with Audible's founder and CEO, Don Katz.
©2005 Jane Fonda (P)2005 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author
  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Biography/Memoir

"Intriguing, instructive, inspirational personal exploration is enriched by a flawless, captivating author performance. It's her life in her voice - and she delivers." (AudioFile)
"Fonda's remembrances...nicely sum up more than 50 years of American history, seen through the eyes of one well-traveled woman." (Publishers Weekly)
"Whether you love her or hate her, all but her most venomous critics would have to conclude she has lived a fascinating life. As celebrity books go, this is a good one." (Houston Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

No ordinary Jane

Enjoyed everything about "My Life So Far." Jane is exceptional as always. Makes you want to keep listening. Quite a life. Narration is superb and you can feel her emotions. Jane explains her life of personal issues and public issues. I love her honesty. I am a lifetime fan.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ludimila
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 06-29-13

GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!!!!

I'm 26 years old, so I didn't know much about Jane Fonda. It was only when I read the reviews for the book that I found out all the controversy around her and her involvement in the Vietnam War. So for me this was an autobiography - and that's all.

I couldn't believe how naked she allowed herself to be in this book, and how honest it is. The first act made me so emotional I started to feel everything she described, and I couldn't wait to get it over with (although I enjoyed every second of it) I was suffering along with her.

The second act was a history class for me. It made me interested in the Vietnam war and I later researched and wanted to know more about it. Plus, her narration is wonderful, just wonderful! I don't really know how to describe it, because at the same time it seemed like a lullaby but also like she was right there with me, looking into my eyes and telling me her story with such intensity! It was just perfect!

The third act left me with that "give me more" taste... I do hope she writes another book. This one is enlightening and just a big life lesson.

I LOVED it! There's not really much more I can say.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very Interesting!

What did I know about Jane Fonda before reading this book?

• Tense relationship with her dad
• Work-out videos & Legwarmers
• Hanoi Jane
• 9 to 5 (that’s just the first movie that popped into my head)
• Once married to Ted Turner
• Now stars in Grace and Frankie, a terrific TV show on Netflix (can’t wait for Season 3!!)

Needless to say I barely remembered the highlights of the highlights - but as I read on, many things I had forgotten quickly sprang to mind. On many occasions I said to myself “Oh yeah! I forgot about that!” like her activism, her struggles with eating disorders, her black adopted daughter, “Agnes of God”… all sorts of miscellaneous factoids.

I found her autobiography very honest and interesting. There was so much more to know about her than the superficial tid-bits I remembered. For example, I had no idea to what degree she was vilified during the Vietnam war and had been under investigation by the FBI! Yowza!

Other reviewers have said that her book is a little preachy and almost seems like a self-help book. I can understand that point of view; she is EXTREEMLY introspective, and I have to say some passages did start to feel a little too long and drawn out … but I never felt preached to, I thought she was just being passionate about what she believes in and therefore has a lot to say on the topic.

I listened to the audiobook and noted multiple technical glitches - MANY repeating sentences - but Jane’s narration was great. I liked listening to the sound of her voice and I think hearing her tell her own story directly made the entire thing even more interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deb
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 03-03-16

Honest, Relatable, Validating

In brief summary... Open, insightful, moving, memoir. Taught me so much about Jane Fonda, other women, relationships, society, and myself. Ranging from very traumatic stories about her childhood and early family to LOL funny when she started dating Ted Turner. Very admirable. A page turner I couldn't put down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Introspective and powerful

I can't say enough about how profound I found this book to be. All women should listen to this book! It had quite an effect on me in my "second act." I took much away in how I will live out the remainder of my second and third acts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The voice of a true storyteller.

Would you consider the audio edition of My Life So Far to be better than the print version?

I tried to read the print version, but it was too laborious. However, I have always considered Jane Fonda's speaking voice, her enunciation, to be unbelievably beautiful. Thus, when I saw the audio version here, I decided to go with her once again on this journey. Her storyteller's voice captured me right away.

Any additional comments?

Were I to meet her, one of the things I'd say is this, "Please, narrate more books. You have such a gift for narration: a storyteller's magic."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

kept my attention and I Loved it!

I thoroughly enjoyed this audible especially hearing Jane Fonda reading her own life story. Her voice gave so much more depth to the book. It gave me a whole new perspective on her life and all the controversy surrounding her life politically and privately. She has done so much and has not been justly honored for her contributions. This book gave me information about her that clearly explains her views on life as well as thoughts on growing older and the important things in life when you are in your "third act".

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I wish I could meet Jane.

Would you consider the audio edition of My Life So Far to be better than the print version?

I did not read the print version, but I can say that the tempo and enunciation by Jane Fonda was so perfect that I missed very few words of this wonderful book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Life So Far?

The thing that surprised me most was not that Jane Fonda is intelligent, compassionate, humble and an expert writer. No, the thing that blew me away is how much she is like me. From her eating disorder, strained relationship with men (including her father), continued awe at Kate Hepburn's trailblazing audacity, haunting perfectionism, pride that she raised two good human beings, honesty about how being a woman in America is utterly complex....all of it. She paralleled my own experiences and perfectly described how I felt too. (I'd have followed Tom Hayden anywhere for a good long while too, by the way). She made me laugh out loud describing how she couldn't possibly let a stunt double do her back flip scene in On Golden Pond when Hepburn asked her point blank about it....and then made me blubber like a baby (while driving down the highway no less) describing how Hepburn hid in the bushes and cheered her on in a challenging moment. And I'm glad she and Lily stood up for Dolly while they made 9 to 5, too. Fonda is a woman's woman. And that's a good thing. She's the kind of gal we'd all like to have as our BFF. I wish she'd write lots, lots more. I wish I could meet her and tell her about a movie I'd like her to make about women in the military based upon a transcript I have, because I know she'd tell it right. I'd trust her to tell a woman's story with integrity, because that's what she does in My Life So Far. Thanks, Jane.

Which scene was your favorite?

I had to pull over when I heard the description of her last moments with her father. She respected and loved him to the very end.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first portion of the book in which she describes her mother and the mental illness she fought was also very poignant...full of loving-kindness and compassion. It should help anyone who has a family member struggling in the same way to remember that...as Fonda says...it helps to remember that we're all just doing the very best we can.

Any additional comments?

I adored this audiobook. I didn't just like it. I have to hear it again. It's that good.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 06-30-11

STUNNING

I have read and listened to many memoirs and biographies. This is, for me, the best I have ever had the good fortune to come across. Not only is it beautifully written with remarkable candor, moving insights and universal themes but it is performed by the author with an absorbing presence and sensitivity that really had me gripped all the way through, and left me feeling inspired.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting but ponderous

Is there anything you would change about this book?

this book needed a good editor - 1) simply too long 2) it has a whining tone to it. However, the whining tone actually is a reflection of who she is - it just grows old. Her self-reflection somehow does not feel genuine - for example , it sounds like she should be or is done with an issue and there is the same issue all the many years later.

Any additional comments?

It got me to watch the movie On Golden Pond - that is fantastic!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful