• The Lonely Life

  • An Autobiography
  • By: Bette Davis
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (204 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Originally published in 1962, The Lonely Life is legendary silver screen actress Bette Davis' lively and riveting account of her life, loves, and marriages - updated with an afterword she wrote just before her death.

As Davis says in the opening lines of her classic memoir, "I have always been driven by some distant music - a battle hymn, no doubt - for I have been at war from the beginning. I rode into the field with sword gleaming and standard flying. I was going to conquer the world." A bold, unapologetic book by a unique and formidable woman, The Lonely Life details the first 50-plus years of Davis' life - her Yankee childhood, her rise to stardom in Hollywood, the birth of her beloved children, and the uncompromising choices she made along the way to succeed. The book was updated with new material in the 1980s, bringing the story up to the end of Davis' life - all the heartbreak, all the drama, and all the love she experienced at every stage of her extraordinary life.

The Lonely Life proves conclusively that the legendary image of Bette Davis is not a fable but a marvelous reality.

©1962 Bette Davis (P)2017 Hachette Audio

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What listeners say about The Lonely Life

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The One and Only, Bette Davis

Even as a small child in an orphanage, Bette knew the power of drama when her Santa outfit caught fire. This autobiography was written by Bette Davis herself in 1962, and she added a couple of chapters in the 80’s to update the book. If you're looking for Hollywood gossip, this isn't the book you want; this book is about Bette and how she became the actress we all know.

The book starts with her birth in Lowell Massachusetts and takes you through her childhood, her theater days, Hollywood, her four husbands, her children, and beyond. Her father abandoned his young family, but thankfully she had a dedicated mother who did what she could to ensure that Bette’s dreams came true. Davis was always headstrong, confident, and a perfectionist in her life – even in the beginning of her career when Hollywood told her to change her name, she refused. They told her she had as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville, but she did not let them deter her from her goal of being successful. She lived in a time when women were supposed to be submissive, obedient, and compliant, but Bette claimed none of those adjectives for herself. She stood strong in who she truly was and offered no excuse for her brand of perfection. There are many humorous antidotes in the book, and I really enjoyed listening to it.

The narrator did a great job – it was delivered in a tone reminiscent of Bette’s own voice. If you are a Bette Davis fan, I recommend you listen to this book. As the great Miss Davis once said in “All About Eve”, “fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”.

6 people found this helpful

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Bette really liked herself...

I can save you hours. Bette Davis really liked herself. The book spends a lot of time on her early theater days. It ends with more space covering her awards than any other part of her life. I suppose autobiographies tend to be one sided, and this one is.

6 people found this helpful

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Narrator sounds EXACTLY like Bette.

Bette Davis describes her incredible experiences on a spectrum from sublime to tragic. She spends considerable time detailing her many well-deserved accolades, but does not shy in the least when describing her foibles and failures. The narrators spirited performance and spot-on inflections made me believe that Bette was telling me the story of her life.

4 people found this helpful

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Love Bette Davis

Excellent book about her life. If you are a Davis fan it is a must listen to book.

4 people found this helpful

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Bette Davis was a legend

I loved that I had the chance to listen the first autobiographical book of Bette Davis. Bette Davis is a legend! Great to her story. I wish they have different voice reading it. She was so annoying and snoopy voice. She is pretending that is Bette Davis and she is very bad doing it. I had very hard time to concentrate with her voice.

3 people found this helpful

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Bette would be proud of this!

I loved hearing about Bette Davis‘s life through her own words. What was even better was how the narrator read it, like it was Bette Davis her self was speaking! I truly enjoyed this book!

2 people found this helpful

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Great story

I really enjoyed this one. Love Bette Davis. There wAs and update in the end of the book.

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Excellent Book and Excellent Narrator!

This autobiography is very good. Bette Davis doesn't "trash" many who she has worked with or come in to contact with but does give pretty good details on her life in and out of films. The narrator was perfect. She sounded like Bette without beuing over the top. Perfect! I recommend it highly!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

didn't want it to end

first of all, I am a huge Bette Davis fan. this audiobook is 13 hours and I wish it was longer!! this may as well be narrated by Bette herself as the narrator has a very incredible speaking voice which reminded me of Bette herself. This was a whole life story from birth to death. It even has coverage past what she originally wrote and it blends seamlessly. This book was a joy from beginning to end, and it has me ready to listen to "this and that"

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Very Good!

This is a very good book and the story is by Bette herself. Suzanne Toren who also narrated "This N That" did fabulous. In my opinion this book was a more in-depth, detailed version of "This N That". Worth a listen.

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  • Sketchy&Unformed
  • 09-25-22

Disappointing

If like me you are a fan of Bette Davis don't bother with this book. I learnt nothing about her. It is the most unemotional book I have ever read. It was for me just the self congratulatory account of a narcissist's life. Unfortunately after listening to this book, I don't like Ms. Davis anymore.

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  • Cathy D
  • 09-02-22

Buckle Up. Lights, Camera, Action

I found the whole story of Bette Davis' take on Bette Davis insightful and fascinating.

By today's standards she might be called difficult - even narcissistic. What I took away was that she strong willed, hard working dedicated actress who constantly strive to raise the standards of story telling on yhe screen and on the stage. Betrayed several times by the ones she loved, Bette took solice in her work and a pragmatic "the show must go on" outlook. Excellently read delivered and paced by the narrator.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-20-22

Amazing book

Just loved this book and I almost forgot it wasn’t bette davis talking.

I would highly recommend this one! Easy to follow and what a woman!!! Tough cookie!

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  • jason b.
  • 07-14-22

THE definitive Bette Davis

Absolutely phenomenal book. The narrator literally made me think I was listening to Bette Davis herself.
congratulations to everyone involved.

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  • che1sea4ever
  • 03-31-22

THE STORY OF A TRUE ICON

The story in itself is one of a domineering/supportive mother from whom she eventually breaks free to seek her own destiny. The voyage through her life was less stormy than I imagined but nonetheless told with great detail from the narrator who sounds so much like Ms Davis that it almost feels like a autobio. Really enjoyable listen.

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  • Zoé
  • 09-27-21

Exceptional performance - a must listen for fans

The narrator channels Bette so well it's almost spooky! The last few chapters that cover her life after 1962 are a marvelous additional. a beautiful book.

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  • Jean Cornwall
  • 08-01-21

Enjoyable listen what a life.

Loved this book.Read well very old school and a great sense of who Bette Davis was.

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  • lynda wadsworth
  • 06-22-20

Amazing

Absorbing autobiography of the most amazing actress whos work spanned decades. Well written and beautifully narrated.

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  • Colin McIntosh
  • 02-04-19

Enthrallingly Honest

Having read this I wasn’t sure I’d want to hear it but I was wrong. You’d swear Bette is Reading it even though you know she isn’t. The additions to the original book are fascinating and it’s a one sided but fascinating look at the glory days of Hollywood. I was lucky enough to meet Ms Davis so it was great to hear this.

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  • Garbo
  • 01-21-19

She sure did do it the hard way.

An intriguing insight into the wonderfully talented Bette Davis - an essential read for all fans. The performance is especially good - I would have thought it was Bette Davis herself reading it.