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"Send Yourself Roses" by Kathleen Turner & Gloria Feldt - Book Review

From Hollywood to Broadway - Thoughts on Life, Love, and Leading Roles

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Courtesy Gloria Feldt
You can just tell from the roles she's chosen throughout her career that actress Kathleen Turner isn't in it for the glamour. For her, it's about the work. Yet as her memoir Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles reveals, that kind of work ethic has gotten her into trouble.

A Woman of Substance

As a newlywed, Turner's husband grew angry at her when she played a prostitute in the film Crimes of Passion. A movie studio sued her for $25 million over the sequel to Romancing the Stone; Turner felt the script was inferior and refused to do 'bad work.' And she made a sworn enemy of Burt Reynolds when, during the filming of the only movie Turner ever did strictly for the money, he told her, "I've never taken second billing to a woman."

If the word 'feisty' comes to mind, well, those were the least of Turner's exploits. Send Yourself Roses, coauthored by Turner and writer Gloria Feldt, tells the story of a woman whose life is enviable not because of her fame but because of her determination and integrity.

Personal Recollections and Revelations

Her glimpse inside the lifestyles of the rich and famous (including Michael Douglas, Nicolas Cage, and Francis Ford Coppola) are interspersed with many intimate accounts of her painful struggles with rheumatoid arthritis, her relationship with her daughter Rachel, her bout with alcoholism, and the disintegration of her marriage.

Her stories are unexpected and often funny, like the time she almost coldcocked Strom Thurmond for one too many disparaging "little lady" remarks until the legendary Joseph Papp held her back. Others impart life lessons she has learned in her journey to find her own voice and celebrate herself as she grows older.

No Fear of Fifty

At a time when so many women look back with yearning and regret, wanting to return to who they were long ago, Kathleen Turner is smart enough, strong enough, and centered enough to recognize that she's living the best years of her life right now. As Turner acknowledges:
I don't want to be twenty again. I'm having that creative surge women often get when we pass fifty. I feel at the top of my personal and professional life....

I feel fortunate to be in a generation of women who have had the opportunity to support ourselves and be in control of our own finances....

[W]e're much more interesting after we've been out in the world, even if we've been a bit battered by by it from time to time. No, we're more interesting because we've taken our knocks and learned from them.

Send Yourself Roses is evidence that Kathleen Turner is enjoying a life well lived, and reveling in the revival of her stage career and the possibilities the future may hold. Her memoir is a bouquet that any woman - single or married - would be happy to catch.

Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles
by Kathleen Turner and Gloria Feldt

Hardcover, 265pp. ISBN 978-0-446-58112-7
Springboard Press / February 2008

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