By Myself and Then Some

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

By Myself became a best seller in 1979 and won a National Book Award. This autobiography is a chronicle of love and loss, presenting a deeply felt analysis of Lauren Bacall's eleven year marriage to actor Humphrey Bogart, whom she wed at age twenty. He was forty-five. The couple had two children who, after Bogart's death in 1957, became the focus of her being.

This updated version, By Myself and Then Some, is compelling in that it first presents a widow struggling to gain maturity and attempting to obliterate the insecurities with which a single mother wracked by grief necessarily deals. Bogart was the center of Bacall's life, the nexus of her existence before his death.

The last portion of this book, written a quarter century after By Myself, shows a strong, savvy, intelligent woman with a hard-won self-confidence and sense of personal security. These pages show how completely she met the challenges of widowhood.

Throughout her life, Bacall has been forced to cope with loss—her husband, her mother, and several close friends. Her engagement to Frank Sinatra ended abruptly when he turned his back on her, leaving her with yet another loss. Her marriage to Jason Robards ended after a devastating eight years. His alcoholism was blamed, but it is clear that Bacall's love for Robards never equaled her love for Bogart.

Bacall's recollections reflect the strong sense of community that exists among people associated with films and stage. Her book presents a virtual Who's Who of film and theater. Her observations of the people she writes about are perceptive and penetrating.