Lessons in Becoming Myself

  • by Ellen Burstyn
  • Narrated by Ellen Burstyn
  • 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ellen Burstyn has always defied expectations. Born in Detroit during the Depression, she left home at 18 and became a model for J.L. Hudson, Detroit's largest department store. After a failed marriage and a string of unsatisfying relationships and jobs, Burstyn settled in New York, where she began her career as an actress. Her first audition landed her the lead in a Broadway play, with the show's producer, legendary playwright and director Moss Hart, telling her, "You're natural." After Burstyn reluctantly moved to Los Angeles with her second husband, she eventually turned to film, delivering brilliant performances in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress), Same Time, Next Year, Resurrection, and Requiem for a Dream. Burstyn describes the personal missteps, toxic relationships, and private demons she has battled, and how confronting them prompted her to find a different life path. Raised a Catholic, she has traveled the world exploring a range of spiritual experiences. From the Swiss Alps to Cambodia, from the Himalayas to the streets of New York, she has sought and found answers to life's most puzzling questions. Lessons in Becoming Myself is the extraordinary story of her quest for the examined life. By turns tragic and funny, thoughtful and lighthearted, it is a brilliant accomplishment by one of the finest observers of human nature.

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What the Critics Say

"I deeply admire Ellen Burstyn's...urgency...[in] pursuing enlightenment. An extremely moving story of a fully lived life." (Toni Morrison)
"Candid and unassuming, Burstyn's intuitive memoir is a balanced mix of insider theatrical anecdotes and inspired philosophical revelations, a guileless apologia for one woman's desire to authenticate her experiences, professional and personal." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A journey within

I enjoyed the narration of the authors personal inner Journey to self-actualization. Her reflections are deeply poignant at times as she reviews her life's journey, struggles with disfunctional and abusive relations, feminine stereo types, and yearning to belong and be loved.
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- Nina V "pixelpest"

What an interesting life!

Would you listen to Lessons in Becoming Myself again? Why?

I don't typically reread or re-listen to books, but if I did, I would happily do it with this book again. She lived such an interesting life and it was fascinating to hear her different experiences.


Any additional comments?

Overall, I was very pleased with the story and narration. I would recommend this to anyone interested in books about interesting women and how they dealt with their life and struggles.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-13-2006
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio