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A Fine Romance - Audiobook


A Fine Romance - Audiobook

written and read by Candice Bergen

I am not one who flocks to celebrity memoirs. When I have, I often find them sanitized or sensationalized, neither of which is to my liking. Or the subjects of these books just do not intrigue me.

Thus, when I saw a copy of the audiobook of A FINE ROMANCE by Candice Bergen on my desk, I had no expectations for it. I remembered that her first memoir, KNOCK WOOD, had been a big success. As I always found her to be an intriguing personality, I decided to give it a whirl. I popped it in on my drive home, and from chapter one, traffic, crazy drivers and other things that normally make my mood sour disappeared as I was happy for extra minutes/hours of listening time. It’s narrated by Candy (after listening, I feel like she is Candy, not Candice, to me), and while the book would be great print or eBook reading, hearing her story told by her made it a lot more special.

The book is about the male loves of her life --- her husbands, Louis Malle and Marshall Rose --- and the person who lives in her heart: her daughter, Chloe. What I liked is that the book is wickedly honest. She admits her flaws, noting that she is not an easy woman to live with. She was married to her first husband, Louis, for 15 years, but they were apart for about one-third of that time. She talks about why that worked and why it didn’t. She shares the pain and sadness that pervaded during and after Louis’ illness and death from lymphoma, which took him way too young. In this telling, there are lessons for all of us. She handwrote 400 thank-you notes after his death; if anything from this book, I learned that she is polite and definitely schooled on doing “the right thing.”

"What I liked is that the book is wickedly honest.... I laughed a lot while listening to this book. A LOT.... In something that may surprise you, I am going to say that this would be a great book for book groups."

She also likes things not to be fussy, but to be perfect. There is a difference. Thus she talks about casual buffet dinners and trying to un-fuss her second husband, who is a New York real estate developer and philanthropist. She is from the show business tribe whereas he is from the business tribe; she did not know a lot of people who left the house with a briefcase in the morning and returned for dinner. She shares that she knows she is set in how she does things, and talks about how she is trying to change those ways with Marshall --- to compromise.

But her real love is Chloe. She thought long and hard about having a child, but when she decided to become a mother, she was all in. With equal parts love and laughter, she tells stories about Chloe’s birth, her childhood (working hard to broaden her horizons beyond the glitter of Hollywood and its trappings), and how their relationship has grown as Chloe has become an adult (she is now an editor at Vogue magazine). Many moms will relate to her trying to be hands off while also guiding from a distance. When asked to define herself, I think “mother” would be the title that would be the chosen one over wife, actress, award winner, or any other definers.

Confession: I had totally spaced the “Murphy Brown” years. I know, how could I forget 10 years of an iconic character and show? But I did. Thus hearing the stories of the program’s development and its quick rise to success, as well as its brutal schedule and the demands it placed on the cast and crew, intrigued me, as did the stories about her stage career and stint on “Boston Legal.” These are tales from an insider, told to make readers both understand and smile.

She knows what celebrity means and what it brings  --- and it is something she does not take lightly. There is delight at the freebies at the awards shows, but she knows that can go poof in an instant. She is resigned to the notion that these days she is not as recognizable; she needs to spell her name when making a reservation. She's not complaining, but rather she is noticing. 

I laughed a lot while listening to this book. A LOT. And I loved that! There’s a self-deprecating tone that says, “Here is who I am, I admit it. I am trying to change, but I probably will not.”  

There are moments when the storytelling is uneven. She references a broken pelvis at one point, but we do not know how that happened until later. She repeats things. But since she is storytelling about her own life, these miscues are forgiven. Haven’t we all had lapses in sharing our own life stories?

She loves the word “exquisite” and uses it a lot, and somehow I found myself dropping it into sentences this week as well. She’s relatable throughout the book, and I was not star-struck for even a moment. Instead I thought that hanging out with her for an afternoon would be a rather good time.

In something that may surprise you, I am going to say that this would be a great book for book groups. For all of her stardom, Candice Bergen is a lot like other daughters, wives and mothers. That alone will make for some great conversation. Layer in the anecdotes, and I can see the discussions going on long after the appointed hour. I think they will be their own version of exquisite.

Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald on April 10, 2015

A Fine Romance - Audiobook
written and read by Candice Bergen

  • Publication Date: April 7, 2015
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Audio: pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • ISBN-10: 144237702X
  • ISBN-13: 9781442377028