Bibliophile | Sharon Stone shares ‘The Beauty of Living Twice’

The Beauty of Living Twice
By Sharon Stone
Allen & Unwin

Sharon Stone made a name for herself in Hollywood, not just for her beauty and talent, but for her candour and her refusal to “play nice”. Then in September 2001, a stroke and bleeding on her brain that led to major surgery made her reflect on her life since leaving Hollywood… figuratively and spiritually.

Stone admits that she was “always trying to be something more, something that would be the thing that would bring me closer to understanding how to be better at life, better at love and loving”. On reflection, she came to the conclusion that her “spiritually impoverished” choices had meant that she had given up so much for so little.

As her brain found new pathways, she had time to rethink her life’s priorities. Years of therapy, fighting to become the mother of three adopted boys, a changing world and the #MeToo movement made this journey to healing possible, and this book has given her the opportunity to raise her voice and speak out.

There are rambling memories of her family and early life as she centres on her problematic and contradictory relationship with her parents, particularly her mother to whom the book is dedicated. Stone has a lot of anger about the lack of education that led to her having a dangerous abortion, about her mother and sister being abused and about being written off as a “sex star”.

Told by her original manager that nobody would hire her because she wasn’t, as they liked to say in Hollywood at that time, “fuckable”, she was able to channel her pent up anger into a character in the film Basic Instinct. After 17 previous movies, this was a turning point in the thirty-two year old’s career, even though she was far down on the list of preferred people for the role.

Notably, the book’s only photograph is the front cover which shows her peering out from the darkness. Stone’s stream of consciousness writing style has her pouring out thoughts, confessions and long-buried secrets in a cathartic exercise that allows her to move on with her life.

Lezly Herbert

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