When most people hear the name of Sharon Stone, the first association that springs to mind is ‘Basic Instinct’, yet there is so much more to this actress, who actually describes herself as shy. Her memoire “The Beauty of Living Twice’ hardly mentions any famous names, so if you are looking for Hollywood gossip this might not be the book for you. However, if you are want the story of adversity, determination and grit, along the lines of living and doing things “my way”, then please read on.
“I am primarily Irish with a good pound of Scandinavian, and, so I’ve recently read, 8% French. I often wonder which bits of me grew from which parts as I travel around the world and see those places and meet those folks. It’s surprising how similar we all are once we scratch the surface. Which reminds me of an old Irish toast my friend Brooklyn told me: I am more of who I am now than I was when I got here.”Sharon Stone “The Beauty of Living Twice”
Sharon is an actress, a daughter, a mother and now a writer too, but how many people know that she has been a passionate and vocal human rights activist for many years and has even been honoured with a Nobel Peace Summit and an Einstein Spirit of Achievement Awards? Probably much fewer than those, who watched the above-mentioned film. What fueled this book and maybe even tipped the scale of Sharon actually writing it, was a massive stroke that she suffered a few years ago. This not only significantly impacted her health, but her family, career and life’s path as well. Few famous people have the reserve and candour to tell such a story, with the intimate details and spotlight on the painfully long and not always straight-forward road to recovery. Yet Ms Stone found the inner strength to fight for herself and later use her voice to help others, actively continuing her charity work around the globe for AIDS victims and homeless men, women and children.
There are insights into her childhood and evolutions of her relationship with parents, the Hollywood ways of working practises, personal disappointments and failings, the abuse, the liberty the plastic surgeon took while operating on her breasts, the painful miscarriages, her adoption journey with her three sons, as well as the friendships that helped her feel steadier on her feet, while charting life’s course. Just typing up all those events can feel overwhelming, imagine living through it all and holding the head high?! This biography is also a lessons of forgiveness, trust placed in people, including work with a female bodyguard and recovery from very personal losses that often played out in public.
“In Buddhism one comes to learn and understand the complete emptiness has to come before renewal can happen. Not 59% emptiness, but total, complete transparency and full disclosure. This is what Richard Gere was talking about with “gone, gone, gone. Gone, gone, completely gone. Enlightenment.” In my case there was a total sense of going, going, going, gone and with that a coming of light”.Sharon Stone “The Beauty of Living Twice”
Some of what Ms Stone writes about is quite eye-opening – from the many days it took the doctors to diagnose her with the brain bleed – and she was in good hospitals, not somewhere where the safety record was low. Or the accident with her Vera Wang dress that she was supposed to wear in the year she was both nominated and presenting an Oscar. The resulting ‘look’ of THAT Gap turtleneck alongside Giorgio Armani tuxedo dress (that she wore as a coat) and Valentino skirt has gone into the fashion bible hall of fame and remains firmly on its page, as part of Hollywood fashion evolution. As outsiders we glamorise the life of celebrities, forgetting that at the end of the day we all are just human beings faced with our own issues, damage, fears, biases and limitations.
In her capacity as an actress and human rights activist Sharon Stone is known not just for her candour, but for her refusal to ‘play nice’. The unravelling of her life’s yarn through the pages of the book teaches very humbling lessons that can help others not just survive, but thrive in the constantly changing and increasingly biased world where ‘cancel culture’ is alarming. The book is the proof that its never to late to raise your voice and use it for greater good – for your own peace of mind, as well as for the benefit of others facing similar health, career or personal dilemmas. It’s not an easy read, but it’s the biography that will stay in your mind long after the pages of other books will draw your attention.
“It seems we care most about our loved ones. We want our kids to do well, better than we did. What that means differs from individual to individual, not country to country. Selfish people still want their children either to be just like them or to fulfil THEIR unfulfilled dreams. Wounded people still want their children to be safe in that big, old, scary world that is far too dangerous to live in. Shut-down people don’t know their kids. Warriors try to raise warriors, whether the kid is a wannabe warrior or not. Thus the benefit of traveland open-mindedness: one can find one’s own tribe.Sharon Stone ” The Beauty Of Living Twice”
Sharon Stone, “The Beauty Of Living Twice”, Allen & Unwin, 2021, 244pp, £18.99