Acclaimed biographer Patricia Bosworth recalls her emotional coming of age in 1950s New York in this memoir, a story of family, marriage, tragedy, Broadway, and art, featuring a rich cast of well-known literary and theatrical figures from the period.
Although Patricia Bosworth’s new memoir is set in the 1950s, it is urgent and essential reading, especially for young women. Parts of it are also terrifying ... in charting her young adulthood during the 1950s — and examining the suicides of her brother and father — she paints a harrowing portrait of a decade that, because of the recent election, is no longer a quaint horror in the distant past ... Choosing to write rather than perform, she has excelled at memoir, biography and literary journalism ... bravely bearing witness to the perils of an illegal abortion — at a time when a new political regime threatens to end women’s hard-won reproductive rights.
The material she has to work with is, once again, ridiculously good ... Ms. Bosworth does not recount these stories as a striding march through Manhattan and Hollywood. The Men in My Life attends just as fully to loneliness and darkness, to the slivers of dread that prickled her psyche. There is a good deal of talk in this book about what she calls 'the bereaved creature inside me' ... She writes deliciously, in this memoir, about her sexual awakening, her pursuit of ravishment ... This book’s anecdotes are struck like matches, and there are small glowing moments, but no warming narrative fire results. The tone is detached, and the many cameos by the talented and famous are not sharply drawn ... There is something impacted at this book’s core. It’s a survivor’s memoir, a book by an adult child of alcoholics, and Ms. Bosworth evokes her suffering with patience and care. But the psychological knots this book presents are not profitably untangled.
We tend to think of the 1950s as a puritanical era. For Patricia Bosworth—a one-time actress and the biographer of Montgomery Clift, Diane Arbus and Marlon Brando—they were anything but. Her life was a dramatic saga of ambition, sex, love, affairs, heartbreak and abortion. She courageously reveals it all in The Men in My Life ... The sexual revolution and feminism would come along and change everything. But before they did, women like Patricia Bosworth refused to conform.