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I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions
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I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions

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by Shirley MacLaine

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From actress Shirley MacLaine, a funny and provocative collection of original essays about all the things she's “over”—and a few things she's not.


From actress Shirley MacLaine, a funny and provocative collection of original essays about all the things she's “over”—and a few things she's not.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this breezy new volume, the 76-year-old actress catalogues some of what she can no longer tolerate. MacLaine (Sage-ing While Age-ing) is not concerned with what she should not do, for instance, and has a distaste for the hassles of airport travel and government. "I am over everything that involves politics. What happens to me spiritually is far more important to me now." She has stopped being polite to boring people, and she's over fame for fame's sake. "Fame is a false god. Talent and hard work are not." Flipping the switch, MacLaine also documents many of the things she cannot get over. She still likes good journalists, appreciates her own personal history, and notes performers with whom she has worked in decades past, recalling experiences with Alfred Hitchcock, Dean Martin, Jack Lemmon, Jack Nicholson, and others. These stories of Hollywood's past are among the most engaging. When the topic turns inevitably to metaphysics and religion, previous lives and reincarnation, the book's appeal narrows. Those who like MacLaine no matter what she believes in will find nothing wrong; less fascinated fans won't be so easily won over. (Apr. 5)
Kirkus Reviews

A stale, disjointed collection of observations from a Hollywood legend.

With her latest release, Academy Award–winning actress MacLaine (Sage-ing While Age-ing, 2007, etc.) won't remind readers why she's been so successful entertaining others.What begins as a memoir laid out in brief, anecdotal chapters on all that the author is "over" and "not over" rapidly descends into a jumbled mash-up of her personal beliefs on everything under the sun. Ranging from politics ("Terrorism is just a convenient excuse for those in power to gently instruct us to go quietly into that good night") to good lighting ("You want the camera high and the key light low"), MacLaine jumps from subject to subject with such a rapid-fire pace that readersbarely have a chance to keep up with her. The author is well-known for her humor, which makes an occasional appearance in this volume—"I am appalled at the number of people who are famous for doing absolutely nothing but being seen at parties"—and she provides brief moments of insight: "The studios don't like to take risks anymore...They seem to be reflecting the fear experienced everywhere...these days." But the author's strengths are offset by sections in which the author displays a lack of humility: "Those of us in show business sometimes call people who are not in show business 'civilians' because they don't understand what is takes to be loved by being 'really' real...[we lead] civilians to water but never let them drink."

A book in midlife crisis.

From the Publisher
“The most revealing book of her career.” —Parade

“One-of-a-kind wit.” —Vanity Fair

Product Details

Atria Books
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5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt


All life, even the cruelest drama and most absurd comedy, is a form of show business, a kind of performance, and I have been lucky enough to have created the moving picture show of my own life. I have starred in it, produced it, written it, directed it—even financed and distributed it. What’s even better is that I get to rerun it now and then, to see things I might have missed back then. In this third act of my life, much has become clearer. So much is over, and I am over so much.

I have learned to ease up on worry, scheming for films or roles, planning for better surroundings, and feeling anger at all our leaders who operate politically rather than humanely. Yes, I am over all that. I’m over listening to advertisements, the latest fashions (I never was much for that), events I should attend in order to be seen, red carpet madness. I’m getting more and more free from the expectations of the external world. In fact, the one worry I can’t seem to give up and get over is a lingering fear that being a reclusive, happy, older woman may not be entirely healthy. But who says so? I’m not interested in parties, new outfits (only comfortable ones), being socially acceptable, and whether I’ll be on anyone’s so-called A-list. My goodness, what a way to live!

I’m not over going to the movies, seeing live theater, hearing symphonies, eating a good dinner (I’m learning to dine out alone), attending a worthy charity event (for half an hour), visiting a sick friend, or taking treats and toys to the animal shelter.

I am over what other people think (I got over that a long time ago), and trying to persuade them to come around to my point of view about anything.

One thing will always be a constant with me. I have a guiding sense of curiosity. I will never get over asking Why. This questioning has been with me all my life. It is my sustenance, my inspiration, my joy, and my intellectual food and color. I will never be over my search for the Big Truths. And I’m not the only one. Most people I’ve met around the world believe we are not alone in the universe but will not talk about this openly because they’re terrified of being humiliated publicly for their beliefs. Some scientists, academics, and movers and shakers I’ve met were even reluctant to discuss it privately because of how they might be perceived. (Just another reason I revere the brilliant and fearless Stephen Hawking!)

Everywhere I’ve traveled in the world I’ve found that people are looking for something to fill the loneliness inside them; they are after what I think of as “The Big Truth.” It doesn’t matter how wealthy or well situated they are; after surface talking, joking, eating, Hollywood gossip, and cultural politeness, the conversation always turns to why are we here, what is the point of life, is God real, are we alone in the universe? That’s because, like me, most people have realized that money isn’t the answer to their emptiness. In fact, it sometimes contributes to it because the management of money (or the fear of not having enough) distracts them from any real examination of what is really bothering them.

So I’ve concluded that for us to get to the Bigger Truths, there is much for us to get over. I’ve had a good time exploring what I’ve finally gotten over and what I will never get over . . . from the ridiculous to the Big Sublime.

I’m glad I am in the third act of my life. I have loved my ride and am now appreciating relinquishing the reins and looking back. Sometimes I feel an unbearable ecstasy of loneliness for some of my past, wishing now that I had been so much more present then. Sometimes I feel it all happened to someone else, and I long to get the “me” of it all back. How could I have done so much, been so many places, known so many people—and now it is all past, gone, memories of colorful stories like little movies attached to the celluloid of my brain tissue. Every now and then the little movies turn themselves on, wanting to be rerun. What didn’t I see then? What deeper meaning did I miss? Where are those actors and actresses and politicians from my past now? They are still with me, in all the things they taught me, the memories of the times we shared. Fascinating and talented people, mind-expanding conversations, and curiosity about the future—those are things I will never get over.

On with the show!

© 2011 Shirley Maclaine

Meet the Author

Shirley MacLaine—Oscar, three-time Emmy, and ten time Golden Globe-winning actress—has appeared in more than fifty films, has been nominated for an Academy Award six times, and received the Oscar for Best Actress in 1984 (Terms of Endearment). Additionally, she was honored with the 1999 Golden Bear Award for lifetime achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival and the 1998 Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contribution to the entertainment field. She has also won two British Academy Awards, two German Silver Bear and Golden Camera awards, two Volpi Cup awards at the Venice Film Festival, two Donatello awards in Italy, and New York Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics Awards. A longtime outspoken advocate for civil rights and literties, Shirley is the author of ten international bestsellers: Sage-ing While Age-ing, Out on a Leash, The Camino, Don't Fall off the Mountain, You Can Get There From Here, Out on a Limb, Dancing in the Light, It's All in the Playing, Going Within, Dance While You Can, and My Lucky Stars. She lives in Malibu, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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I'm Over All That 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
Shirley shares some of the conclusions she has reached, after a long and very fascinatingly full life, and about what she no longer spends time worrying or thinking about. In a conversational style, as if talking to her dearest friends, and with her exceptional and wonderful sense of humor, she tells of her boundless curiosity and her endless journey to search out answers to the big questions in life. I love that she's lived her life "her way", without caring about what others may think of her. She is such a hoot and so witty, wise and intelligent. I loved sharing in her extravagant experiences where we who couldn't afford to take part of and that her open mind guided and led her. Her insight into 2012, Dec. 21st , is a bit unsettling, but all encompassing and is almost a satisfying answer to all of our curiosity. I love that she is so well versed in politics, the hearts and minds of people and is a spiritual seeker. She is an amazing woman and I intend to read this one yet again. I don't want to miss a word!
Monkeyboi More than 1 year ago
I use to think that this woman had lost her marbles. But what she really has is knowledge and the courage to pass that on to us to learn from. What she believes in and yearns for us to be open minded enough to consider makes sense and really is the one thing that gives humanity hope.
SunnieMN More than 1 year ago
There is nobody in the world like Shirley MacLaine and after reading this book you will see what I mean. The wonderful movies she's made,(the Apartment, Can-Can, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias...) the affairs she has had with leading men and -well-known politicians, her past lives, alien encounters... She writes about all of this with her usual honesty and humor. This is a biography that will not bore you.
Chris Ramstein More than 1 year ago
This is such a great read. I luv her books!
Honugal More than 1 year ago
Shirley MacLaine has done it yet again with this delightful & insightful read. This wonderful witty lady is a peach, thank you Ms. MacLaine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of some of the readers who didnt appreciate her telling her story about the Afterlife! What are we living in the Stone Age? With so many books an shows about it they still dont believe????? Well, it is a shame, and I love hearing some dirt about the "Look down their noses celebritys, I am glad someone in the entertainment industry spoke up! I love Shirley
nonnydee More than 1 year ago
This gal knows what she is talking about. She's right, never stop questioning things in life. I loved this book.
BellaEarth More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read from Shirley Maclaine and it was a fun read. i love how she says what she is thinking and doesn't give a damn about what other people think.
LaraFromNewbury More than 1 year ago
Shirley Mclaine is the most interesting person in so many ways. Controverial though she may be, i think there are few who could match wits with her. Don't miss I'm Over All That. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
tourgal21 More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Shirley MacLaine's books and each has great insight about the world, politics, religion, and her outlook on life. It is a collection of essays about different things in her life and each as some lesson or makes you stop and think. I like her books and at first I thought this a bit confusing with all the short 1-2 page essays, but once I realized she was telling her lifes story in a way that only she can I loved it.
tootsieroll More than 1 year ago
Shirley is an amazing hollywood women, living her life her way without any apologies. She writes of love relationships (but not affairs), found men to be interesting more on an affection level as well as the intellectual level. Her past lives are woven throughout the book, yet tied to where she lives her life today......Shirley I will see you in the next life!
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Fascinating observations and personal experiences written in the funny and unvarnished style of Shirley MacLaine! I can't wait to read more from her...
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I have not even finished the book yet, but even with the last five chapters left unread, I am not nearly as impressed as I thought I would be. Instead of a memoir, Shirley seems to have just written a collection of essays (some of which are incredibly short) and put them together into a book. I found that she didn't go much in to detail about the things I found interesting, and elaborated immensely on topics that really had nothing to do with the rest. The chapters are all over the place, and the majority of what I enjoyed were her recollections of Dean, Frank, Liz, and Mr. Hawking. When I read a 'memoir' those are the kind of things I am looking for. Shirley is very intelligent, however my purchasing of her book was not to feel as though I was geting lectured throughout. All in all, I was rather bored, but did enjoy certain gems and quotes in the material. I give this a big fat MEH, and I'm over it.
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