Fonda had a brilliant public career, yet she lived a life of subjection to these men. With Vadim it was putting up with his womanizing. With Hayden it was putting up with him putting her down all the time and cutting her off from her woman friends. And with Turner it was giving up her career and becoming a corporate wife who was not allowed to share true intimacy with him, because he wasn’t capable of it.
Her relationship with her famous father, Henry Fonda, whom she helped win an Oscar by producing On Golden Pond for him, is at the heart of the book. He was the cold and distant first man in her life, who birthed in her 'the disease to please.' He also caused her to hold on to her husbands longer than she needed to, because she wanted to beat him at being good at marriage, something Hank wasn’t too terrific at himself.
What’s great about Fonda's book is that she not only describes the doings of a most remarkable life, but also what drove her psychologically. It’s an account of an inner journey, and it will give you an opportunity to acquaint yourself with your own woman's inner life if you discuss the book with her.
There are two very moving moments in the book which delve into Fonda's inner journey. One is when she tells her father shortly before he dies that she's always loved him, and gives him quite a speech about their relationship. He starts to cry and she leaves. Later she finds out from his wife that he sobbed all day after she left him.
The other moment is when she has her breast implants taken out after many surgeons tell her it's too dangerous. Fonda, of all people, felt her body was not good enough. She suffered from bulemia all her life. The body that was good enough for womanizer Vadim, who put her in his sci-fi comic book movie, Barbarella, was not good enough for her.
It’s amusing how she relates that Army soldiers were angry with her because she didn’t live up to her sexy image when she performed without makeup and sexy clothes in the anti-Vietnam Army show she developed with Donald Sutherland. One soldier was so disappointed, he tore all her posters off his wall.