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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 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 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
  • D
  • Peekskill, NY, USA
  • 04-19-05

An Honest Look at One's Life

Some of the extremely negative reviews of "My Life So Far" were very obvious written by people who have NOT read the book. Instead, these "reviewers" are judging the author "Hanoi Jane"

Now for the book: what a read!!! Whoever would have guessed that underneath the immensely talented, strong, sensitive, beautiful, entrepeneurial Jane Fonda existed a depressed and tortured soul. And what fortitude it took to reveal the details of "the other Jane's" real life: gut-wrenching, eye-opening, tragic and hopeful. Most surprisingly, we realizing that the gutsy, joyful, healthy Jane we thought we knew is as legitimate and real as the emotional wreck we never saw.

I'm sure that money was not out of consideration as a motivating factor in writing this autobiography, but there is also an honest, palpable need to reach out to others that leaps off of every page.

The adage "never judge a book by its cover" has never applied more accurately than to Jane Fonda, in more ways than one.

40 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A compelling listen, even if you're not a fan.

Jane Fonda tells us that she didn't see herself as the daughter of a famous American movie star, but rather as the daughter of a father who was distant and not at all nourishing. There isn't anything Ms. Fonda doesn't reveal. She isn't trying to change our perseption of her, but rather confides to us what it was like growing up, how she learned acting, how her three husbands treated her, why she went to North Vietnam, and about the mistakes she made.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • C.
  • Wesley Chapel, FL, USA
  • 08-04-05

Hanoi Jane...I think not!

Jane Fonda is so candid and open that at times my gut wrenched at her revelations. Not because of what she revealed but because of how she put herself out there for all of us to see and know the most intimate details of her life. This is an amaxing woman who has come to terms with life and her role in it. A wonderful read!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A MUST FOR EVERY WOMAN

Jane Fonda was a slow learner due to a childhood of pain. She has finally "gotten it right". Her book is entertaining. Her narration is beautiful. The most important thing about this book is the lesson she is teaching. Women of all ages will learn about themselves. They can grow into a period of peace through her work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Citizen Jane - not Hanoi Jane

As a Vietnam-Era Veteran, I have always had a vague dislike for J.F., but after seeing Monster-In-Law a couple of weeks ago, and seeing/listening to some of her recent TV interviews, I became curious about her. I decided to read her autobiography - went to the public library but all five copies were checked out, so I decided to listen to it with an open mind and heart. I'm glad that I wasn't able to get a book, because I think listening to her was more entertaining -- J.F. tells her story with emotion, humor, insight and intelligence. Because she is a natural mimic, when she relays conversations with Kate Hepburn on the set of "On Golden Pond," she actually sounds like K.H. It's far more enlightening to read an autobiography than a biography because it's more accurate -- and more revealing. J.F. is not a narcissistic, self-involved celebrity; she is an activist who has lived a full-life with courage and passion. Instead of being called Hanoi Jane, she should be called Citizen Jane. The movies she has starred in, like "Nine to Five" reflected her own convictions. She translates her beliefs into action. She went to N. Vietnam to protest the war, and admits that sitting on an anti-aircraft gun was not a political statement - it was a lapse of awareness/consciousness. She became a lightning rod for Vets anger after the war. I still question why she felt it was necessary to make radio broadcasts from N. Vietnam that demoralized American troops, but I no longer believe the false story that she betrayed any POWs (by giving little notes with their Social Security Numbers to their captors). Anti-war activism is one chapter in the productive life of this involved American Citizen. What do the other chapters reveal? Her relationships with her mother, step-mothers, father, brother, children, grandson, husbands, colleagues (on films, on her work-out video, charitable works)and self; her work to become healthy, happy; and make a positive difference in the world.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • sarah
  • las vegas, nevada, Vereinigte Staaten
  • 10-29-10

one of the best books

I never finished hearing an audio book this long in one day.. but this one i did from the first to the last word ...that's how much i enjoyed it and loved it.... all 10 hours ...good work worth every penny...!!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Jane Fonda: Truth Teller

I became entranced with this book. I laughed and cried and witnessed a person giving a straight story of her highly varied life. I am so grateful to Jane for being so frank about her life experiences. Her openness while being involved in becoming a person that she likes and feels comfortable with is a fine example for many of us..
Many parts of this book tease me to believe I would like to see the participants respond. Her three husbands would have views of her that would supplement in some way an understanding of Jane. Several others have inspiring presence. One other topic that has eluded me in life is why people don?t match up for the long hall-that is part of her story..

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Exelent

Exelent,exelent. I wish there were more autobios like this.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Inspiring

Jane's life in Jane's voice is inspiring! It is especially timely right now, with the war in Iraq. I gained new admiration for Ms. Fonda. Loved it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Irene
  • El Cerrito, CA, United States
  • 05-08-05

Honest and Compelling

Once I started listening it was hard to stop. It addresses what many of us experience, defining oneself, liking oneself and the path that moves us forward. It often takes a lifetime. This memoir was very honest, shared very painful memories but I was impressed with how she continued to have friendships with ex-husbands and a very special ex-stepmother, Susan Blanchard. She is very generous, perhaps because she is often quick to blame herself. There are certain sections that brought tears to my eyes and others that sounded familiar to my own life story. While a superficial look would make Fonda appear to be a child of privilege, instead we see that behind that superficial image was a child with low self-esteem who lost her mother to suicide and had a father who was emotionally distant. Her naivete got her into a lot of trouble but to me it was all forgiveable. Most of us make our own mistakes privately, not as the daughter of a film icon. Very worthwhile book for those who are not reacting to Fonda politically.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful