In 2001, Sharon Stone suffered a massive stroke that nearly cost her life and her career. Two decades later amid a severe pandemic, Stone launched her first memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice detailing her experience, her return to normal and intimate conversations about her life and childhood.
Most people’s impression of Stone is obviously her sultry, no holds barred performance in the controversial Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct. Since Stone is the one with the vagina in question as she herself puts it, she blatantly addressed the iconic leg crossing scene and also the ultra-violent opening.
Basic Instinct propels Stone to the status of a movie star despite it’s already her eighteenth movie to be exact. But this is not the typical Hollywood memoir as Stone dubbed “the biggest balls in Hollywood” spends majority of the book on the somewhat estranged relationship with her parents, how she copes with the loss of several of her best friends including her head of security and her desire to have children.
Stone also proves she is the one that has the hindsight to pick then unknowns and newcomers, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sam Raimi in the western, The Quick and the Dead. Along the way, Stone has no qualms bashing the male centric circle otherwise known as Hollywood. Though Stone has done a couple of high-profile productions liked Casino and Total Recall, she has left us wondering why she chose to work in The Specialist, Sliver, Catwoman and the sequel to Basic Instinct.
Because the narrative and timeline are not written in sequence, it takes a while to accustomed to her stories although she is constantly sharp and humorous in her critiques. As mentioned earlier, Stone didn’t have a close relationship with her parents growing up though she is starting to amend her relationship with them over the years. Perhaps it’s the heartbreaking revelation of the years of sexual abuse she suffered under the hands of her grandfather that stands out. Stone is healing and right now she wants to help and guide those victims of sexual and domestic abuse. In addition, she also breaks down the millions she raised for HIV/AIDS research, her faith in Buddhism and her relentless work in helping the homeless.
The Beauty of Living Twice unravels the story behind one of the biggest contemporary female movie stars of all time. We can also include “human rights activist” on her resume as well. All in all, reading Stone’s book is a motivational experience via her candid anecdotes, thoughts and messages. For the first woman in Hollywood to get paid something considered respectable, this book deserves a read.
Review by Linus Tee
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