Let's Just Say it Wasn't Pretty [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

9780812994261Last year I read Then Again by Diane Keaton and fell in love with it. When I saw her second book on the list of books I could review from Radom House, I knew it would be the one I chose. In Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, Diane Keaton writes with an honest fever about her own insecurities. She is the epitome of an unconventional beauty and uses this book to gain a better understanding of what beauty is.

In chapters entitled Corrections, Bad Hair Days, and The Eyes Have It, she tells stories about her thinning hair and slanting eyes. Both funny and not-so-funny, Keaton takes the reader through the ups and downs of her career, what it felt like to be in the public eye, and explains the purpose of always wearing hats.

Keaton dedicates this book to “All of the Women who can’t get to right without being wrong” — illuminating the fact that every women is different and beautiful in her own way. She discusses her admiration for strong, independent women who care not about what people think of them. She thinks that when a women is doing something deemed “wrong” then they MUST be doing something right (XI).

photo-7I spent most of my time reading this book in deep thought about beauty. Wondering about my own insecurities and jotting them down. I’m ashamed to say that I took comfort in knowing that a women in her sixties who is beyond successful, and who is beautiful in my eyes could have as many insecurities as I do. As I jotted down my insecurities, I also took note of what I deem to be beautiful. By the end of Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, I decided that I too will try harder to look for what I don’t see when it’s staring me right in the eye (page 87).


Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty from Random House of Canada in exchange from an honest review. 

The first photo was taken from the Random House of Canada website. 

I took the second photo, it is page 75 of the book. 

i need a Staycation from this midlife frustration….

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures


Heading up to Blue Mountain’s Scandinave Spa today with my sister and sister-in-law for a staycation of sorts. I’ve never been there before and literally couldn’t turn down their invite. I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation, to really focus on myself and what my next step will be. A cousin of mine called me out on my shit on Sunday. He said that I’m scared for the next step and I’ve stopped trying to do something different. I wanted to say that he is wrong but you can only hide from the truth for so long. So my goal for the next two days is to sit down and try to picture what I want from my life, from my career, and when I get back, apply like a crazy person.


Good things come to those who work — but first a little pampering and gaining perspective. I’m bringing along Diane Keaton’s latest Let’s Just Say it Wasn’t Pretty and James Franco’s Directing Herbert White for a little bath-side inspiration. See you in a few days!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo


Then Again [Book Review]

Book Reviews

978-1-58836-942-0Knowing my obsession with memoirs, Lindsey recommended Then Again by Diane Keaton and I’ve been enthralled by it. I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past few blog posts and now that I am finished it, I highly recommend it. I’ve never cared much for Diane Keaton but I found reading about her life intriguing. She tells you everything, she writes beautifully, and she isn’t afraid to cast herself in a bad light. Diane Keaton has seemingly low self-esteem and doesn’t think much of herself considering she had a dream and made it happen. I was left in awe when she spoke of her relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino. It was incredible to read how she taught Al Pacino how to drive or how Woody Allen wrote Annie Hall based on her life or her true feeling about The Godfather. It was fascinating to read Woody Allen’s love letters to her.


The most amazing part of her memoir though, and the entire premise behind it, is that it’s a combination of her mother’s memoir as well. Dorothy Hall kept journals, took photos, and made scrapbooks, and they all make an appearance in this memoir. This memoir compares a housewife of the 1960’s with big dreams and a knack for writing, creativity, and self-expression, with an aspiring teenage actress, letting you see how similar those two can actually be.

Dorothy Hall is one of the most inspiring women I’ve read about. She is a woman who found her voice by putting a pen to paper. She believed in the power of THINKING. She believed in her family and I found her portrayal of family dynamics enriching. Her words tugged at my heart-strings and I learned a lot from Dorothy Hall and Diane Keaton. This memoir made me wish for a simpler time, where people need to make a greater effort to communicate. Now, I want nothing more than to TALK more to my mom, to THINK more, to DREAM bigger, and to WORK harder. This memoir will always have a soft-spot in my heart and I can’t wait to pass it on to my mom and dad, who will love it for different reasons.

dorothyhallpg-vertical“Dad was always telling me to think. Think ahead. Think….But it was Mom’s struggles, her conflicts, and her love that made whatever ability I have to think possible. She supported choices that created experiences that expanded my life. As a girl, Mom, like me, had vague grandiose aspirations, but, unlike me, no one helped her expand on them; no one could.” (171)

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

Then Again…



Then Again has really made me THINNK. It’s made me think about my mom and wonder about her dreams, her thoughts. I wonder what she thinks about me, I wonder about all those things she’s refrained from saying to me. I wonder about what she thinks about the woman I’m becoming, I wonder if she sees any of herself in me. It’s difficult to see your parents as more than just parents, as people. People with dreams and thoughts and opinions. I want to know more about my mom – about my parents.

Mom, if you’re reading this — which I hope you are — I’m asking you to write me a letter, a journal, something. I’d be honoured if you could take that notebook I gave you last year and write. Whatever you’re thinking, whatever you’re feeling. I know it’s a lot to ask for but there is no deadline, no expiry date, and most importantly, no judgement. I think you might be able to find your own voice if you pick up a pen and let it guide you. You, whoever that is.

“I want to hold my life up alongside hers in order to, as she wrote, reach a point where I begin to see me–and her–in a more understandable light.”
— Then Again xxvi

i love you.

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo