Introduction: What’s the most important thing in your life? That’s a question that the famous actress Shirley MacLaine has long been asked. Through her life, she has gone from being a Hollywood actress to becoming a spiritual guru. She shares her advice on living and being happy all the while remaining mentally healthy with these words, “It’s your own way of making things happen.”
The book is a collection of five essays that she wrote for different publications. The first essay, “My Friend,” begins with her affectionate memories of her mother as she was growing up. It recounts how her parents, along with their infant baby girl, relocated from New York to California so that they could be close to their extended family. It also recalls the memorable growth of Shirley’s early life, when she was a mischievous child and a devoted reader.
The second essay, “My Hometown,” focuses on the importance of travel in shaping the person that one becomes. She reflects upon her life as a young woman in New York, working as a model, television actress, and nightclub singer. The third essay, “Life with My Mom,” recounts her mother’s battle with cancer and her death in January 2003. It also features her personal and spiritual transformation. The last essay, “My Life Today,” is an optimistic one. Shirley goes into detail about her personal life, which she states has been greatly improved since her mother’s death.
Her Stories Encapsulate What it Means to be Human
Her mother, who married young and had Shirley just 17 months later, was a New York native with a strong sense of self-respect. She wanted to be somebody important in life; she wanted to stand out and make an impression on the world. When they were living in New York, her mother said she never felt fulfilled. She was on the west coast, and she saw it as the land of opportunity. She wanted to be somebody, and she wasn’t going to waste time waiting for her moment.
They moved to Arizona when Shirley was still a baby.
Her mother got a job as a postmaster, in a different city each month. In the Depression, it was not uncommon for women to get jobs because men were usually the ones out of work. She was then transferred with her family to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego — all during Shirley’s early childhood. They moved once more to Arizona, where they stayed permanently.
Shirley’s mother was a heavy drinker, a chain smoker, and a talker. She could tell stories for hours.
A Firsthand View of Shirley MacLaine’s Mind & Lessons on Living a Happy Life
The first essay is about 54 pages long and is divided into two parts. Part one includes a conversation between Shirley and her mother, which is filled with stories of her childhood. This part traces her life from the time when she was a little girl until she graduated high school and headed off to college. One thing that I admired about her writing is how she portrayed her mother in an ironclad way and clearly showed that she was the root of her strength and will. I honestly got the impression that she was like an angel sent on earth to pave the way for her daughter to have a happy life. The only reason she wanted Shirley to have a happy life was because she wanted her to have a happier one than she had when Henry Fonda left her. I was fascinated with this aspect of the essay.
Shirley MacLaince Shares Her Notions About Money & Happiness
This book is full of insights, opinions, and first-hand experiences that she shares as a famous actress, model, and self-proclaimed spiritual instructor. She talks about her passion for nature and how it has become an important part of her life. Religion is also discussed because she had to rely on her own beliefs when her father died after being diagnosed with cancer. She shares her experiences dealing with enormous career pressures and how she later learned to accept her new life as a childless woman. Readers will be able to relate to the challenges MacLaince has faced in life.