Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meredith Baxter "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering"

I loved this book! I did not know much about Meredith before I began reading this and I think she did a great job with it. The title of course referring to "Family Ties" I guess, and the timing of the book... well she came out on national television after being spotted on a lesbian cruise and then she followed up with the book. I guess she was building on the fact that her name was in the headlines again and she had a chance to capitalize on that. Plus she has come a long, long way from where she started. She's still getting some press these days, and her co-star from "Family Ties" Michael Gross is getting some press too because of it. Remember when "Family Ties" used to be about the parents and NOT about Michael J. Fox? No? Hm... look back at season one. It's interesting that in the publicity photo it is Meredith in the center of the shot. I digress though. I hadn't realized before reading the book that Meredith had also done a show called "Family" so I guess "Family Ties" was really supposed to be her show. Too bad she got robbed of that.

Headlines aside though this book goes much deeper than that. Back to her childhood with a mother who was an actress and didn't want to be called "Mom", a step-father that flirted with her, and other stories that you'll need to read the book to learn about. Tales of her relationships, her poverty (not having the $77 rent that she owed), and running off to Canada for a while... much of this was unexpected to me. I did not know her history through the 1960s. I had no idea that she part of that whole California hippie thing that was going on back then. "Wow! Really? This famous actress was part of all this? She lived this way before she became an actress? No way! No way!"

Moving on the abuse she suffered... she certainly has covered this material in a way that I think a lot of women will be able to relate to. She has definitely hit a nerve that many, many women will understand I think in reading this. She explains in enough detail what she lived with, how she coped, and why she stayed. A lot of people who have never been abused have trouble understanding why someone would stay. Folks who have been abused though know. Enough said on that.

Now she is not without fault herself. She gives us a pretty good clue in the beginning of the book that she has been through a 12-step program and a lot of therapy. Sure enough she is a friend of Bill W.. She tells us about that too. I'm guessing a lot of folks will relate to this piece of her story.

Once she's sober, her kids are growing up and she's ended yet another horrible marriage (proving there is more than one way a person can abuse you- the last guy swindled her out of money while she was in recovery) then... only then... can she be honest with herself and figure out that "Hey.. that blonde over there is cute..." or whatever it takes. She's raised five kids and been through a couple of rough marriages before she gets to this point. Now this may be something else that women can relate to. There are many women who come out as lesbians after they have had heterosexual marriages and raised children. Even after reading Meredith's book I can't say that I understand it. I accept it though. I bet those that do understand it will appreciate this part of the book too.

This book is definitely not "dish" like Rob Lowe's book seemed to be. This is a book that seems to be honestly written, probably meant for a female audience, and will hit nerves with a wide selection of readers. It should be quite popular. I got my book from my local library (thanks to Inter Library Loan) but Amazon has it for less than $15 and I think there might be a Kindle version too.

I think I am a bigger fan of Meredith Baxter now that I've read the book than I was before I picked it up.

For more information check out this--

and this--

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