Rick Kot, an govt editor at Viking who oversaw manufacturing on the e-book, informed me, “Publishing books in two volumes is tough simply as a business enterprise. And no one appears to have any subject with how lengthy” Streisand’s is.
The bigness of it makes literal the profession it incorporates. Streisand is poring over, pouring out, her life. She’s feeling her means by means of it, remembering, typically Googling as she sorts. It’s not a e-book you inhale, per se. (Except, after all, you’ve obtained a urgent lunch date with the creator.) Nor does it encourage the “5 takeaways” therapy that juicy new memoirs by Britney Spears and Jada Pinkett Smith have. Not that there weren’t requests for spicier materials. Streisand mentioned that Christine Pittel, her editor, informed her “that I needed to go away some blood on the web page.” So emotions are extra deeply plumbed; names are named.
And he or she did do some hemming and hawing. “I used to be very late in delivering the e-book,” she mentioned. “I feel I used to be purported to ship it in two years.” It took her 10. And as she went, she considered her legacy. “If you wish to examine me in 20 years or 50 years, no matter it’s — if there’s nonetheless a world — these are my phrases. These are my ideas.” She additionally thought of these different Streisand titles, those by different folks. “Hopefully, you don’t have to have a look at too many books written about me. You already know, every time I used to be informed about what they mentioned, sure issues, I believed, like, who’re they speaking about?”
There are takeaways. However they’re too continual to qualify as “present.” Principally, they contain Streisand’s starvation for work and her countless quest to take care of management over it. Singing and performing made her well-known. This insistence on perfection made her infamous. Sexism and chauvinism are on show all through the e-book. However what turns into obvious is that the girl who has a “directed by” credit score on simply three movies (“Yentl,” “The Prince of Tides” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces”) had been a director from the very begin of her profession. Right here is the e-book’s grand revelation — for a reader however for the creator, too. “I didn’t learn about it,” she mentioned, of this proclivity for administration, planning, imaginative and prescient, authority and obeying her instincts. “However writing the e-book, I found it. Mainly, I used to be doing that, you understand, after I was 19 years previous — and even displaying my mom find out how to smoke.”
Streisand is unsparing concerning the treachery she confronted at work, collaborating with males. Sydney Chaplin (one in every of Charlie’s children) performed the unique Nick Arnstein throughout her “Humorous Lady” Broadway run; they shared a flirtation that Chaplin wished to consummate and that Streisand wished to maintain skilled. (For one factor, she was married to Elliott Gould.) So, she writes, Chaplin did a quantity on her. In entrance of dwell audiences, he’d lean in to whisper put-downs and profanity. When it got here time to shoot “Howdy, Dolly!,” Streisand couldn’t perceive why her co-star Walter Matthau and their director, Gene Kelly (sure, the Gene Kelly) have been so hostile towards her. She confronts Matthau, and he confesses: “You damage my pal,” that means Chaplin, his poker buddy. All through her profession, she’s up in opposition to what one surly digital camera operator, on the set of “The Prince of Tides,” boasts is a boys’ membership.
That’s the kind of blood that offers this e-book its energy — not the prospect of a bluntly louche Brando and a doting Pierre Trudeau being honest-to-God soul mates, not no matter her byzantine factor with Jon Peters was about. It’s that Barbra Streisand endured a parade of harsh workplaces but by no means stopped making an attempt to make the very best work. That have with Chaplin left her with lifelong stage fright. However what if it additionally helped sharpen her volition to get issues — within the studio, on a movie set, earlier than a present — precisely, presumably obsessively, proper?