It’s impossible to overstate just how famous Sharon Stone was in the 1990s. After the phenomenon of 1992’s Basic Instinct, the legendary beauty earned further acclaim for roles in Casino and The Muse and became one of the highest paid actors on the planet. As a result, her every move was scrutinized. She would have broken the internet—if that had been a thing back in 1996—when she wore a black turtleneck from the Gap to the Oscars.
In Stone’s generous new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, she writes about it all, starting with her loving but fraught childhood in blue-collar Pennsylvania, where her family laughed hard and fought loudly. “They did a horrible, beautiful, awful, amazing job with us,” she writes of her parents. “They gave us their best. They gave us everything. All of it. The full Irish.”
Stone also reveals in this memoir that she and her sister were sexually abused by her maternal grandfather. That portion of the book is understandably vague and brief, but it’s clear this betrayal impacted the family irrevocably.
In fact, The Beauty of Living Twice alternates between vague summarization and incredibly personal recollections. Stone writes in detail about the massive stroke she suffered in 2001, which left her in financial and physical ruin that took years to recover from. She dishes on her experiences with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and her philanthropic efforts around the world. But she only briefly talks about her experience of adopting three sons, one of whom became the subject of an acrimonious custody dispute with her ex-husband Phil Bronstein.
Overall, the book reads like an oral history, as if someone were typing furiously while Stone reminisced about her exceptional life. (“Remind me to tell you about James Brown,” she writes late in the book. She does not, unfortunately, tell us about James Brown.) Somehow, this old Hollywood narrative style works, and Stone delivers a bighearted, wonderfully rambling story full of wisdom and humor.