Sharon Stone writes about plenty of dramatic moments in her 2021 memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice. To date, her life story includes adopting three sons, surviving two traumatic brain injuries, contributing mightily to good causes, and yes, acting up a storm. However, her writing style just didn’t work for me. It’s disjointed and rambling, with an odd cadence and flashes of strange grammatical choices.
Still, you might love this book. The writing style might feel like a famous person pulling back the curtain and baring their soul. For me, it was more head-scratching that fist-pumping.
There are a lot of things I admire and respect about Stone. She’s accomplished plenty, especially considering some of her difficult childhood experiences. We’re only a few years apart in age, and I’ve had my share of brain-related concerns. So, I was curious to hear more about how she overcame the medical situation. Unfortunately, the topic garnered few pages. Instead, the book included much more about her childhood and early years than more recent times.
About the writing style
Stone puts together cohesive stories, sentences, and paragraphs. But within any chapter the topics wander around. Her focus felt unclear. It’s neither chronological nor organized by topic. So, she jumps from her family of origin to Hollywood to AMFAR, all in a short span. This made me feel reader’s whiplash and kept me from fully connecting with her.
Then about halfway through, Stone talks about the effect her brain aneurysm had on her memory. And I started to surmise why the book is what it is. Essentially, I wonder if Stone chose to allow her post-TBI situation to show in her writing style.
One of my dearest friends had a brain injury from a car accident. Although she gained back her ability to function mostly normally, we always had challenges with communication. She hated email because it was hard on her brain, even years later. I could be way off base here, but I suspect Stone has her own communication limitations.
I want to be completely clear. Stone offers up a lot of intense stuff in this memoir. I loved her stories about her time in Africa. And she weaves in some perspectives on spirituality and politics that add dimension to other stories. Her survival instincts are well-honed, and she deserves plenty of credit for that.
Still, the writing style of this book put me off. I kept hoping a better sense of cohesiveness would happen. I wish she’d used more ghost writing and perhaps organizational editing to overcome some of the randomness. On the other hand, this could be a window into how a post traumatic injury brain works, which is a good thing.
If you’re up for navigating the writing style, you may love this book. To say I recommend it feels like a stretch to me, though.
Pair with In Pieces from Sally Field, which sets the celebrity memoir bar very high. Its writing is particularly well crafted.