• Lessons in Becoming Myself

  • By: Ellen Burstyn
  • Narrated by: Ellen Burstyn
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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Lessons in Becoming Myself  By  cover art

Lessons in Becoming Myself

By: Ellen Burstyn
Narrated by: Ellen Burstyn
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Publisher's Summary

Ellen Burstyn has always defied expectations. Born in Detroit during the Depression, she left home at 18 and became a model for J. L. Hudson, Detroit's largest department store. After a failed marriage and a string of unsatisfying relationships and jobs, Burstyn settled in New York, where she began her career as an actress. Her first audition landed her the lead in a Broadway play, with the show's producer, legendary playwright and director Moss Hart, telling her, "You're natural."

After Burstyn reluctantly moved to Los Angeles with her second husband, she eventually turned to film, delivering brilliant performances in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress), Same Time, Next Year, Resurrection, and Requiem for a Dream.

Burstyn describes the personal missteps, toxic relationships, and private demons she has battled, and how confronting them prompted her to find a different life path. Raised a Catholic, she has traveled the world exploring a range of spiritual experiences. From the Swiss Alps to Cambodia, from the Himalayas to the streets of New York, she has sought and found answers to life's most puzzling questions.

Lessons in Becoming Myself is the extraordinary story of her quest for the examined life. By turns tragic and funny, thoughtful and lighthearted, it is a brilliant accomplishment by one of the finest observers of human nature.

©2006 Matrix Movies, Inc. (f/s/o Ellen Burstyn) (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved

Critic Reviews

"I deeply admire Ellen Burstyn's...urgency...[in] pursuing enlightenment. An extremely moving story of a fully lived life." (Toni Morrison)

"Candid and unassuming, Burstyn's intuitive memoir is a balanced mix of insider theatrical anecdotes and inspired philosophical revelations, a guileless apologia for one woman's desire to authenticate her experiences, professional and personal." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Lessons in Becoming Myself

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haphazardly thrown together

it's a very short book she is the narrator it seems like it's the last thing she wants to do so she rushes through the book with no emotion, she's just talking as fast as she can to get through it .....The book is about her early life and then sparsely about her career...... it's a very sad very negative book through and through it kind of sounds more like a "Debbie Downer" book it's very depressing very sad very negative.

the only part I found kind of interesting is when she spoke about the filming of the movie The Exorcist and how dangerous it was to film that movie

she should have hired a couple of different Ghost Riders to help her put together an excellent book but this book is definitely the worst autobiography I've ever read ....if anybody rates it as good don't trust them because they weren't in tune with what was going on with the book if they rate this book highly it cannot be rated highly it's very sad and negative and toxic very very toxic she led a very very toxic life around extremely dangerous toxic people it's just such a sad story, I wish I would not have bought it.

1 person found this helpful

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A journey within

I enjoyed the narration of the authors personal inner Journey to self-actualization. Her reflections are deeply poignant at times as she reviews her life's journey, struggles with disfunctional and abusive relations, feminine stereo types, and yearning to belong and be loved.

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What an interesting life!

Would you listen to Lessons in Becoming Myself again? Why?

I don't typically reread or re-listen to books, but if I did, I would happily do it with this book again. She lived such an interesting life and it was fascinating to hear her different experiences.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I was very pleased with the story and narration. I would recommend this to anyone interested in books about interesting women and how they dealt with their life and struggles.

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  • K
  • 01-28-15

Love love love this one

This is a book I'm going to listen to again and again and again. Any artist should listen to this one.

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A Goddess

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will forever be grateful for your story and work. An incredible human and a brave mentality. Thank you for being you.

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Loved it!

Even as a little girl I was drawn to Ellen Burstyn. Now I see why. Honest, interesting, personal. I found myself relating deeply to some of her experiences. Love her narration..Could listen to her read endlessly.

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Very Interesting

I found her story compelling and her narration enjoyable. Her mother sure was a character!

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Inspirational

So beautifully written you can almost smell her descriptions. What a gift to read about all the paths she took. I will always remember her prayer about the warrior on the battlefield and her conversations with Lee. Listening to her narration made it feel like you were having tea with an amazingly wise, intelligent, interesting, admirable person. And I was surprised by how relatable she felt. I couldn't wait to get back to the story each time. It was wonderful.

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Absolutely NOT what I expected

Eye opening look at Ellen Burstyn's pilgrimage though out her life. Behind this incredible actress, is more then I ever knew. This her story is about her long struggle with what boils down to her trying herself, and then finding her true strength. Although it came with plenty of trials and tribulations. I came into to reading this book, because my favorite movie is The Spitfire Grill. I have only seen 3 of her movies. (5 People you Meet in Heaven and Divine Secrets OTY-YS)I went in not knowing anything about her. I didn't know how extensive her career has been. At times I was taken aback by her vignettes of her young adulthood, marriages, rise to fame, Hollywood and her Spiritual side. "There is a lesson in there." The title got it right.

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What a profound and beautiful story!

I'm sad it came to an end. Could not have come into my life at a more perfect time as I explore my own budding consciousness. Beautiful and honest and touching!