Finding My Balance is the bittersweet memoir of Mariel Hemingway, an author,
yogini and former actress. The granddaughter of the renowned adventurer and
novelist Ernest Hemingway, the author recounts watershed moments in her life,
as she morphs from young adulthood into adulthood. We get to see her at
age 12 as she cares for her chronically ill mother.
As a teen, she starred in films like“Manhattan”--with Woody Allen--and
“Personal Best,” in which she plays an athlete, and “Lipstick”--with sister Margaux,
a model and actress. Unfortunately, as a consequence of Mariel’s success in films,
her relationship with Margaux becomes estranged. In fact, the only familial relationship
in the book that’s not dysfunctional is with her father, Jack, an outdoorsman, who instilled
in Mariel a love of nature.
Each chapter begins with a yoga pose: Warrior, Eagle, Rabbit, etc. Mariel describes
herself as she assumes each pose. In one chapter, she details her devotion to her
guru, Paramahansa Yogananda and how he changed her life. She also details her
stringent/extreme diets: “I routinely skipped meals in favor of iced, blended espressos
with vanilla—no milk, no sweetener.” Another guru (though a reluctant one) is Dr. Peter
Evans who got her to give up coffee and to re-vamp her diet. “Two buttered eggs for
breakfast with fruit or buttered toast.”
We get to experience Mariel’s intense heartache as she copes with the deaths of her
mother, sister, and father. Throughout these crises, yoga and meditation saved her life.
The last crisis in the book is that of her husband’s illness and how she survived that.
The last chapter is comprised of a series of yoga poses.
Finding My Balance is the wonderfully readable story of a woman as she teeters, at first,
within her life and then, through yoga, stands grounded on the earth, within her skin.
--Yolanda A. Reid
Check out Mariel Hemingway’s website at www.marielhemingway.com. Also check out
an article on her new documentary, "Running from Crazy", about her family history at http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/21/health/hemingway-film/index.html.