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Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering

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“I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man.  After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it.  ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’” Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and “I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man.  After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it.  ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’” Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image. From her childhood in Hollywood, growing up the daughter of actress and co-creator of One Day at a Time Whitney Blake, Baxter became familiar with the ups and downs of show business from an early age. After wholeheartedly embracing the 60s counterculture lifestyle, she was forced to rely on her acting skills after her first divorce left her a 22-year-old single mother of two. Baxter began her professional career with supporting roles in the critically panned horror film Ben, and in the political thriller All the President's Men. More lucrative work soon followed on the small screen. Baxter starred with actor David Birney as the title characters in controversial sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie. While the series only lasted a year, her high-profile romance with Birney lasted 15 volatile and unhappy years. Hiding the worst of her situation from even those closest to her, Baxter’s career flourished as her self-esteem and family crumbled. Her successful run as Nancy on Family was followed by her enormously popular role on Family Ties, and dozens of well-received television movies. After a bitter divorce and custody battle with Birney, Baxter increasingly relied on alcohol as a refuge, and here speaks candidly of her decision to take her last drink in 1990. And while another ruinous divorce to screenwriter Michael Blodgett taxed Baxter’s strength and confidence, she has emerged from her experiences with the renewed self-assurance, poise, and understanding that have enabled her to find a loving, respectful relationship with Nancy Locke, and to speak about it openly. Told with insight, wit, and disarming frankness, Untied is the eye-opening and inspiring life of an actress, a woman, and a mother who has come into her own.


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“I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man.  After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it.  ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’” Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and “I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man.  After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it.  ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’” Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image. From her childhood in Hollywood, growing up the daughter of actress and co-creator of One Day at a Time Whitney Blake, Baxter became familiar with the ups and downs of show business from an early age. After wholeheartedly embracing the 60s counterculture lifestyle, she was forced to rely on her acting skills after her first divorce left her a 22-year-old single mother of two. Baxter began her professional career with supporting roles in the critically panned horror film Ben, and in the political thriller All the President's Men. More lucrative work soon followed on the small screen. Baxter starred with actor David Birney as the title characters in controversial sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie. While the series only lasted a year, her high-profile romance with Birney lasted 15 volatile and unhappy years. Hiding the worst of her situation from even those closest to her, Baxter’s career flourished as her self-esteem and family crumbled. Her successful run as Nancy on Family was followed by her enormously popular role on Family Ties, and dozens of well-received television movies. After a bitter divorce and custody battle with Birney, Baxter increasingly relied on alcohol as a refuge, and here speaks candidly of her decision to take her last drink in 1990. And while another ruinous divorce to screenwriter Michael Blodgett taxed Baxter’s strength and confidence, she has emerged from her experiences with the renewed self-assurance, poise, and understanding that have enabled her to find a loving, respectful relationship with Nancy Locke, and to speak about it openly. Told with insight, wit, and disarming frankness, Untied is the eye-opening and inspiring life of an actress, a woman, and a mother who has come into her own.

30 review for Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A decent memoir but at times you wanted to go back in time and shake Baxter for her poor choices. She does accept responsibility for her mistakes. One guarantee- you will never be able to stomach looking at David Birney again. What a jerk!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marla

    I have to say this book really surprised me. I never would have imagined Meredith to have the life behind the cameras as she did. Didn't know she drank so much and had an abusive husband. I'm so glad I listened to this as I was a huge fan of Family and Family Ties. Great as an audio book read by Meredith. I have to say this book really surprised me. I never would have imagined Meredith to have the life behind the cameras as she did. Didn't know she drank so much and had an abusive husband. I'm so glad I listened to this as I was a huge fan of Family and Family Ties. Great as an audio book read by Meredith.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Meredith is so open and honest in this memoir, as well as a wonderful writer. Most of the time with memoirs or bios of actors, I get really bored when reading about their work unless it's something I'm familiar with. Not so with this. She doesn't over-do it, and she isn't riding some high horse. She's just down to earth, not trying to sing her own praises. It's amusing at times, sad at others; she brought me to tears a few times, and made me smile many times. Meredith is so open and honest in this memoir, as well as a wonderful writer. Most of the time with memoirs or bios of actors, I get really bored when reading about their work unless it's something I'm familiar with. Not so with this. She doesn't over-do it, and she isn't riding some high horse. She's just down to earth, not trying to sing her own praises. It's amusing at times, sad at others; she brought me to tears a few times, and made me smile many times.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Oftentimes when I review a memoir I comment that I liked the authors honesty. How do I know the author is honest? I guess I never really know for sure but something in the writing offers clues. Usually they describe unflattering things about themselves and not make excuses. In this book, it seemed that Meridth went on and on about all of the awful things that were done to her and presented herself as a victim. She did mention some pretty awful things that she did as well but those were usually m Oftentimes when I review a memoir I comment that I liked the authors honesty. How do I know the author is honest? I guess I never really know for sure but something in the writing offers clues. Usually they describe unflattering things about themselves and not make excuses. In this book, it seemed that Meridth went on and on about all of the awful things that were done to her and presented herself as a victim. She did mention some pretty awful things that she did as well but those were usually mentioned in passing and justified or explained away. (i.e, She decided to have an affair and leave her first husband. Oh well. No big deal!?) Ocassionally she did take some blame but it seemed incomplete. She blames a lot of her life on how her mother treated her growing up, how she was never around and left her with a bad step father. It was disturbing how Meridith also wasn't around for her own kids and brought emotionally damaging men into their lives. Meredith brielfly acknowledged that she was repeating her mother's mistake regarding the step fathers but kept insisting that she was at least there for her kids. I just didn't buy that. So much of the book tells of times when she was away from her kids! She acted like she didn't have a choice being away due to her career. Couldn't her mother have given the same lame excuse? I suspect that a memoir written by one of Meredith's children would tell a very differnt story. She even seemed to justify her trouble with alcoholism and I didn't get the sense that she ever went through the difficulty of going through the 12 steps. Maybe that was what was missing for me in this book. I didn't get the sense that she ever really took responsibility for her life and so her "transformation" at the end seemed incomplete.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Modern Girl

    I picked up the book because I thought Meredith Baxter might have an interesting story to tell. The title is exactly true. The book is basically about her family life, details of working on various sets, and her loosing control emotionally and with alcohol. In the epilogue, she says that she's glad she didn't wait until she was 80 to write the book. I sort of wish she had. I enjoyed reading all the details, but with such a roller coaster of a life, I'm not sure if she's reached the place to look I picked up the book because I thought Meredith Baxter might have an interesting story to tell. The title is exactly true. The book is basically about her family life, details of working on various sets, and her loosing control emotionally and with alcohol. In the epilogue, she says that she's glad she didn't wait until she was 80 to write the book. I sort of wish she had. I enjoyed reading all the details, but with such a roller coaster of a life, I'm not sure if she's reached the place to look back on it all with the right level of analysis. The earlier stuff - her childhood and her marriages to Bob and David had that sort of reflective tone. But everything from Michael on felt like she skimped on the details and hadn't really learned enough from the experiences to really be writing a book about it. It's no flaw of hers, those things come with time. I would have really liked to have seen her be a bit more explicit with talking about her sexuality. I think that's why this book is selling: people what to know what happened. She gives the details about her behaviors, but not her emotions. I wanted to know what she thought about this change. I wanted to know how she felt, looking back at her 3 marriages. If now being with Nancy gives her more insight to what happened. If she feels she was just going through the motions and societal expectations, or if she really wanted to be with David and Michael at one point. There's glimmers of all that, but I can't draw crisp conclusions from that. The narrative was well written and well edited. I zipped through the first 30% on my ereader, but took my time with the rest. It wasn't a very exciting story, because I knew the conclusion. Sometimes the details of her tv movie sets would get tedious, but she did a great job attempting to write about each one in a slightly different way. There was just enough detail on Family Ties so that it felt valid but not overdone. I always said I hated "chick dramas" because there were about those middle aged women going through divorces. Most of the movie was them having a breakdown or being stressed. That's heartwretching, and if it's fictional, I wouldn't want to put myself through that. Meredith Baxter has the ultimate non-fiction roller coaster that you can get your heart tied up around.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Terribly written. Saw her on Oprah and her story of abuse by her ex-husband David Birney was very compelling, but she is not a writer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Keith Chawgo

    Living in London, I was quite oblivious over Meredith Baxter coming out in America so when I read the Prologue and it is about her coming out on NBC's Today Show - I was a little surprise. Unfortunately for the book, it is the only thing that surprised me. The book was well written and she is a very intelligent person from what she writes. The book starts from birth and ends in around 2010/11 and although it does detail her life and her insecurities quite well, it is very vague on her working li Living in London, I was quite oblivious over Meredith Baxter coming out in America so when I read the Prologue and it is about her coming out on NBC's Today Show - I was a little surprise. Unfortunately for the book, it is the only thing that surprised me. The book was well written and she is a very intelligent person from what she writes. The book starts from birth and ends in around 2010/11 and although it does detail her life and her insecurities quite well, it is very vague on her working life which is what I found disappointing. She tends to moan alot about her life and the decisions that she has made and finds reasons (most of which goes back to her mother)to moan about this and that. Where the book could use a bit of lift is from her career starting with the one season classic 'Bridget Loves Bernie' to 'Family' to 'Family Ties' and this is where the book is a let down. From the listed television shows on through the multiple television films, she gives very little details on her work. She did not need to dish the dirt on fellow colleagues but she could have written great chapters on what it was like to work with the people she has worked with and written some great ante dotes on some of the fantastic work she has done. Unfortunately we get, whilst working with Justine Bateman who was a very pretty - I was in an mentally abusive marriage, blah, blah, blah. I kid around with Michael J Fox back stage and I was never happy at home, blah, blah, blah. I feel she has really missed a trick because if she filled out her self discovery and moaning with more information about her working career, it would have made this a bit more digestible. The later part of the book is about her coming out and although I appreciate it was hard for her, I have to say that by the end of the book, I was hoping she would be shoved back into the closet and stop the moaning. This is a book full of moaning and groaning and although it starts out well by the end, you either want to shoot her or shoot yourself just to stop the misery. I am glad she is happy now but after reading endless pages of this misery, it is time to read some gore novel to wash my mind of this insane ranting. Meredith for god sake - lighten up a bit - your life may have had its sorrow but you really need to get over it. Hope this book helped.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joe Scholes

    I really enjoyed this book, especially since I've been keeping an eye on the talk shows to see if she would be promoting the book. Listening to her talk about her life experiences at the same time as reading about them was really good. She's a very good writer! Her life history isn't particularly fascinating, but the way she tells it is poignant and entertaining - often very funny. I particularly liked reading about her experiences in alcohol recovery. It's pretty cool to read so many similar exp I really enjoyed this book, especially since I've been keeping an eye on the talk shows to see if she would be promoting the book. Listening to her talk about her life experiences at the same time as reading about them was really good. She's a very good writer! Her life history isn't particularly fascinating, but the way she tells it is poignant and entertaining - often very funny. I particularly liked reading about her experiences in alcohol recovery. It's pretty cool to read so many similar experiences shared by a celebrity, especially one whose life is totally at odds with the "TV mom" persona that still persists in my mind from seeing her on Family Ties 20+ years ago. The book seemed to be a welcome relief to her, getting out all of her pent up experience with life-long feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. As she reaches a mental maturity later than a physical one, it is good to see her grow into the person she now feels comfortable being - an out, proud, gay woman with a life partner she loves and a past she has finally accepted, and using the tools of Alcoholics Anonymous to find serenity in her life.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    I enjoyed this read! Meredith was candid about her life and current lifestyle, although I still find it so annoying that "coming out" in this day and age is such a big deal!! Ya, whatever....SNOOZE, just for the record, "we" really don't mind!! And.... you "gay" people can lay off the gay pride parades, they are actually embarrassing incase you did not know.. live and let live, jeepers, maybe we should have a "straight pride parade", uggggg. I really like the fact that Meredith and Nancy choose I enjoyed this read! Meredith was candid about her life and current lifestyle, although I still find it so annoying that "coming out" in this day and age is such a big deal!! Ya, whatever....SNOOZE, just for the record, "we" really don't mind!! And.... you "gay" people can lay off the gay pride parades, they are actually embarrassing incase you did not know.. live and let live, jeepers, maybe we should have a "straight pride parade", uggggg. I really like the fact that Meredith and Nancy choose to keep it stylish and not BUTCHY (yuck) LOVE IS LOVE.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    utter drivel. a bore. the only reason I got this book was I understand how a woman comes out so late in life. however, I just ended up reading a bunch of fluff. spoiler alert: this autobiography seems ghost written. i felt that I had to force myself to read it just to get through it. I left it in a public place in hopes that some other gay dude like me will use it to kill time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    I grew up in a dysfunctional family, but it wasn't as bad as Meredith's. Compelling and hard to put down because I could identify with so many defense mechanisms Meredith used, and how hard it is to overcome them. Therapy of some sort, formal or informal, becomes nearly constant throughout life. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, but it wasn't as bad as Meredith's. Compelling and hard to put down because I could identify with so many defense mechanisms Meredith used, and how hard it is to overcome them. Therapy of some sort, formal or informal, becomes nearly constant throughout life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elena Scully

    ms. baxter's lucrative career in hollywood is almost inconsequential when compared to the importance of the rest of this memoir. if hopes of salacious tales of hollywood are the reasons some readers pick up this book, i can understand why some may find the book a disappointment. however, the weight placed on her relationship with her mother and her sobriety and the simple fact that representation matters (even for late-in-life-lesbians!) is why it was so relatable for me. and while ms. baxter sh ms. baxter's lucrative career in hollywood is almost inconsequential when compared to the importance of the rest of this memoir. if hopes of salacious tales of hollywood are the reasons some readers pick up this book, i can understand why some may find the book a disappointment. however, the weight placed on her relationship with her mother and her sobriety and the simple fact that representation matters (even for late-in-life-lesbians!) is why it was so relatable for me. and while ms. baxter shares her own knowledge gained from her experiences, she also shares wisdom from her therapist and sponsor which have made an impact on my burgeoning journey of gaining more perspective in my life. "Right around this time I went to my regular Thursday-morning women's meeting to mark my anniversary of being sober for ten years. I stood up and started weeping, haltingly revealing where I was on that day. With ten years I'd have hoped to have more solutions, more serenity in my life, but I had none. At the end of the meeting, a friend came up and suggested that I might benefit from counseling and gave me the names of three therapists. She said, "Make an appointment with each of these therapists. Tell your story to each one and see who you respond to. Then pick one and start going." And she said, "Michael is not the wound; he is only the sword in the wound," the meaning of which eluded me for some time but I understand it today."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Carlson

    As a woman who grew up in the era of sitcoms and dramas I remember fondly watching Family and Family Ties. Interesting that two of her most iconic roles have "family" in the title. What follows in her memoir is something much different. Meredith had for the most part an absent, selfish mother and her parents divorced early on. She spent a great deal of time with her two brothers and they found a way to survive being left alone too much of the time. She was a young adult fluid in the way of the 6 As a woman who grew up in the era of sitcoms and dramas I remember fondly watching Family and Family Ties. Interesting that two of her most iconic roles have "family" in the title. What follows in her memoir is something much different. Meredith had for the most part an absent, selfish mother and her parents divorced early on. She spent a great deal of time with her two brothers and they found a way to survive being left alone too much of the time. She was a young adult fluid in the way of the 60's for sure with drug and sexual casualness that was accepted. What is somewhat surprising is her continual acknowledgement of lack of self-confidence. I believe she's smarter and more confident than she gives herself credit for; she survived terrible relationships with men, was strident in her pursuit of acting and raised 5 children. What is touching is how the cast of Family Ties was equally loving off the set as they were on the set-a rarity in my opinion. What is equally as fascinating is her process in coming out as a lesbian, it was not a smooth process which lends itself to something real and credible. The monster in the room is David Birney who exhibits the almost classic example of a true narcissistic abuser and to this day cannot admit his problems. As I felt when I watched her on television her beautiful cover shot conveys a sense of warmth, intelligence and beauty. Let's hope the second half of her life with grown-up children, grandchildren and a partner who loves her brings her endless joy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I enjoyed this quick autobiography of Meredith Baxter--best known as Elise Keaton, the mother on Family Ties. Baxter grew up in Hollywood and her childhood was far from being a fairy tale (her mother asked that her children call her by her stage name of "Whitney" instead of "mom" or "mother"). Although you might think being raised by such a person would repel their children from acting, Baxter found it was her niche and her tales of her entering the world of acting are interesting. I enjoyed lea I enjoyed this quick autobiography of Meredith Baxter--best known as Elise Keaton, the mother on Family Ties. Baxter grew up in Hollywood and her childhood was far from being a fairy tale (her mother asked that her children call her by her stage name of "Whitney" instead of "mom" or "mother"). Although you might think being raised by such a person would repel their children from acting, Baxter found it was her niche and her tales of her entering the world of acting are interesting. I enjoyed learning a little about her time with her Family Ties family. I found her description of her second marriage to actor David Birney to be particularly insightful. Per Baxter, Birney was a physically and emotionally abusive man. Her examination of the abuse in their marriage opens up a lot of thought on her own self--her reactions to the abuse and how she reacted to it--how it made her think less of herself. One reaction was to take up drinking--Baxter recalls the highs and lows of her alcohol abuse. It was away to get away from the abuse and to settle all the emotions she could not address. Eventually Baxter managed to overcome her alcoholism and find the courage to come out of the closet. None of this was easy and her life is clearly a work in progress. Overall, I found this to be a fairly honest examination (well as honest as I can assume it to be) of a life lived...both the good and and the ugly sides.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue Seligman

    This is an engrossing memoir written by a well-known actress who has been a role model for years. From playing the naive Catholic girl who marries a Jewish guy to the calm, liberal mom on one of my favorite shows, Family Ties, and countless tv movies, Meredith Baxter has been a staple in my cultural awareness for years. I watched the reunion of the Family Ties cast on the Today Show, and I watched her come out a year or two later, also on the Today Show. So when I saw her promoting the book on t This is an engrossing memoir written by a well-known actress who has been a role model for years. From playing the naive Catholic girl who marries a Jewish guy to the calm, liberal mom on one of my favorite shows, Family Ties, and countless tv movies, Meredith Baxter has been a staple in my cultural awareness for years. I watched the reunion of the Family Ties cast on the Today Show, and I watched her come out a year or two later, also on the Today Show. So when I saw her promoting the book on that show, and later on Oprah, along with her family, I decided to read it. Not only did I learn that she is the daughter of Whitney Blake (the mom on Hazel), but I also found out that her life has been filled with ups and downs, a difficult childhood with inattentive parents, an abusive marriage, alcoholism and illness. She has emerged a strong woman who just happens to be gay, and I am so glad that she has finally achieved peace and happiness. This memoir helps us realize that there is so much more to our cultural icons that is not evident (nor should it be) by the headlines. Thanks to Meredith Baxter for sharing her life with her many fans!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Interesting life, interesting career, interesting woman. I enjoyed this book very much, and was actually surprised at how good it was. I have followed Ms. Baxter's career and always thought she was pleasant, attractive, and a decent actress, but not much more than that. Her actual story is quite riveting, and her candid way of telling it kept me turning the pages. There's no ego here, and that's always refreshing in the memoir of a celebrity. Her feelings about herself, her parents, her brothers Interesting life, interesting career, interesting woman. I enjoyed this book very much, and was actually surprised at how good it was. I have followed Ms. Baxter's career and always thought she was pleasant, attractive, and a decent actress, but not much more than that. Her actual story is quite riveting, and her candid way of telling it kept me turning the pages. There's no ego here, and that's always refreshing in the memoir of a celebrity. Her feelings about herself, her parents, her brothers, her husbands, and particularly her children are conveyed so realistically and earnestly that it's hard not to feel a connection to her. Ms. Baxter - although she tells us often how she suffered with self-esteem and self-awareness - is actually very articulate, intelligent, and self-aware. She's often humorous too. This book made me feel sad for her at times, but it also made me smile and laugh. Her short introduction (in which she talks about not including too much about her children) was very sweet and so beautifully-written that I knew I was in for a good experience. Ms. Baxter did not let me down.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Ok, so I've always been a fan of hers mainly from being a Lifetime junkie. Movies like "Kate's Secret" and the Betty Broderick adaptations always suck me in and they will never get old. And of course, I feel obligated to mention Family Ties, an integral part of my adolescent TV viewing. Yes, this memoir was full of juicy stories of Hollywood, quirky families, and experimentation...but I found myself getting tired of reading how awful childhood and adulthood were for Baxter. It reminded me of how Ok, so I've always been a fan of hers mainly from being a Lifetime junkie. Movies like "Kate's Secret" and the Betty Broderick adaptations always suck me in and they will never get old. And of course, I feel obligated to mention Family Ties, an integral part of my adolescent TV viewing. Yes, this memoir was full of juicy stories of Hollywood, quirky families, and experimentation...but I found myself getting tired of reading how awful childhood and adulthood were for Baxter. It reminded me of how I felt reading Artie Lange's memoir and how overkill it was at times. There comes a point where you kind of have to take responsibility for your life and stop the woe is me. Of course, this read will not impinge on my Lifetime watching...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    In all my years of drawing, I mostly did pictures of girls or horses or donkeys, the occasional parakeet. Only one male, from a TV Guide picture of David Birney. I saw him first on Love is a Many Splendored Thing. But now if I ever find that picture again I will tear it to fine dust! I followed Meredith with both my Kindle and her voice on Audible. I am so happy she told her story. Though mine is different in many ways, I could relate to the feeling invisible, unworthy feelings she brought up. On In all my years of drawing, I mostly did pictures of girls or horses or donkeys, the occasional parakeet. Only one male, from a TV Guide picture of David Birney. I saw him first on Love is a Many Splendored Thing. But now if I ever find that picture again I will tear it to fine dust! I followed Meredith with both my Kindle and her voice on Audible. I am so happy she told her story. Though mine is different in many ways, I could relate to the feeling invisible, unworthy feelings she brought up. One thinks that this kind of life only happens to poor women but she show how having status and money can actually make it even worse. Thank you, Meredith for sharing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Loved this read more than I thought possible. I was curious about her, thus the initial start, but became captivated. I appreciated her honesty and openess, and have thought a lot about how the circumstances we are brought up in - and subsequent choices we make for ourselves - really do shape our entire lives. Great reminder to watch the choices we make for our children and ourselves. I could have done without the occasional swearing and name dropping (especially the resumes that followed each), Loved this read more than I thought possible. I was curious about her, thus the initial start, but became captivated. I appreciated her honesty and openess, and have thought a lot about how the circumstances we are brought up in - and subsequent choices we make for ourselves - really do shape our entire lives. Great reminder to watch the choices we make for our children and ourselves. I could have done without the occasional swearing and name dropping (especially the resumes that followed each), but overall this is a book that will leave me with a lasting impression.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Anderson

    You never know what is going on in someone else's life. To the casual observer, Meredith Baxter has it all. Great career, beautiful, wonderful children, beautiful, great actress, etc. However, due to low self esteem, she was used and abused by family and friends. I am so very happy for her that she has found her voice and is now in a happy committed relationship. This book was a very quick read because of her fast-paced story telling and the compelling story of her life. I wish her and her family You never know what is going on in someone else's life. To the casual observer, Meredith Baxter has it all. Great career, beautiful, wonderful children, beautiful, great actress, etc. However, due to low self esteem, she was used and abused by family and friends. I am so very happy for her that she has found her voice and is now in a happy committed relationship. This book was a very quick read because of her fast-paced story telling and the compelling story of her life. I wish her and her family well always.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Kreiner

    Meredith totally held my attention and it was great to hear her voice telling her story. I had no idea of her life, all I knew was the person she was on her two tv shows. Her intelligence and writing skills were very impressive and the 10.5 hrs. or so was a very good use of my time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie Anderson

    I almost wish I did not read this. I have fond memories of watching Family Ties and loving Meredith Baxter. This book she became more unlikable as the book went on. She was very honest which was refreshing, but she was a victim in every circumstance which became very old, very fast. Get a voice lady! And stop making excuses. I think the more interesting story to read is from the point of view of one of her kids and how they survived growing up with her.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Prosenjak

    A quick, fun trip through the ‘70s and ‘80s.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    Meredith Baxter's memoir, "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering," burrows into her childhood moments and what it was like growing up the daughter of an actress; then we discover her feelings of loss and abandonment when she believed herself to be simply an afterthought in the lives of her parents. The story gives the reader a peek into her life before celebrity; and then takes us on the journey to that particular destination. What we've known about this actor is the life we've only i Meredith Baxter's memoir, "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering," burrows into her childhood moments and what it was like growing up the daughter of an actress; then we discover her feelings of loss and abandonment when she believed herself to be simply an afterthought in the lives of her parents. The story gives the reader a peek into her life before celebrity; and then takes us on the journey to that particular destination. What we've known about this actor is the life we've only imagined, based on her performances and what we might have read in celebrity magazines. From her star-studded celebrity and her partnership with costar David Birney (from Bridget Loves Bernie), we see an entirely different kind of life behind the scenes. Behind the televised moments, we learn about Meredith's feeling of having "no voice" in the marriage; we learn about the emotional and sometimes physical abuse; and about the overwhelming feeling of always being "wrong." From there, we discover the role alcohol played in her life; the symptom of her "thinking" problems that would continue for years afterwards, until finally she reached a point in recovery where she could examine how her thinking, her choices, and her belief systems had controlled her life. An interesting point she makes, which she gleaned from a sponsor, is that, in looking at a particularly "painful" relationship or individual, she must consider that the person is "not the wound, but is the sword in the wound." Rediscovering who she was and forming a new and separate identity without a man in her life led to another unexpected pathway—her choice to accept and embrace her lesbian lifestyle and the compatible partner she now has. This decision came after much thought and examination. Previous relationships had been based on the familiar, playing out the more damaging aspects of familial relationships. In the latter portion of the book, she states: "Then I had to think about most of the previous relationships I'd settled for, where I'd been so lonely, lying to myself, pretending I wasn't hurt, trying not to feel, not being able to share, not showing up...." Like many memoirs I've enjoyed, this one gave me a lot to think about. Why we choose our paths in life and what emotional triggers govern us. How our own childhood experiences color everything we do, but also how we sometimes go in opposite directions, thinking we are taking control of our lives—and yet how we're still reacting to those previous experiences. Developing insight into our behavior sometimes takes a lifetime, and the mistakes we make can also be the lessons we learn for the future...if we are courageous enough. Five stars...definitely!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brigid

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I tried to read this late last year and just had too much going on, so I returned it to the library and tried again. I will say it was considerably more interesting than the book I just finished, but that may only be by comparison. The book wasn't bad. It was just okay. I did like that much of the text came across as casual and conversational, but on more than one occasion I felt Baxter got bogged down in details or examples of things to illustrate her point, so much so that the point or main st I tried to read this late last year and just had too much going on, so I returned it to the library and tried again. I will say it was considerably more interesting than the book I just finished, but that may only be by comparison. The book wasn't bad. It was just okay. I did like that much of the text came across as casual and conversational, but on more than one occasion I felt Baxter got bogged down in details or examples of things to illustrate her point, so much so that the point or main story she was trying to illustrate was lost. Maybe that was the point? She definitely gives the reader a sense of how lost she was -- in childhood, in her marriages, in her alcoholism. While she does address the choices and lifestyle she led after high school and the events that led to her first marriage (and its dissolution), the majority of the book focused on her relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother and her relationship with her second husband, David Birney. I'm old enough to have watched Meredith Baxter on Family Ties and probably a few of the movies she's made since then, but I'm young enough not to have any idea who David Birney is. She seemingly is quite candid about their relationship and the abuse she suffered. It was in these main areas that I felt like we were circling back on the same themes, sometimes several times over. Maybe she did come back to the same things in her life (people, feelings, coping strategies) multiple times, but it made for slow reading and prompted me to start skimming. Yet for all of that, for all the repetition (of choices, of mistakes, of feelings), it also felt like Baxter glossed over quite a bit. Granted, her marriage to Birney lasted considerably longer than her first marriage and was absolutely awful, but the remaining 1/3 of the book felt rushed. In less time than it took to detail her 2nd marriage, readers get a recap of her (equally disastrous) 3rd marriage, her recovery (both from marriage and alcoholism), and her discovering and coming to terms with her sexuality. I rather hope that Meredith Baxter does writer her memoirs again when she's 80 (something she said in the epilogue that she's glad she didn't do). Maybe the intervening years will provide additional perspective on what she covered in this book and where it all fits into her life in the end. I think she's got an interesting story to tell but she's not done yet and because certain events are too close to the time she was writing, they weren't given their due.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/... First of all, very clever name. Meredith Baxter, star of TV movies and the classic family sitcom, "Family Ties," writes about her lack of mothering, three troubled marriages, parenting, drug use and alcoholism, bout with breast cancer, and eventually, her coming out as a lesbian. "Family Ties" last three years were when I lived in Japan. I remember my parents or friends taping a bunch of the American TV shows I liked and sending me videotapes--they were p http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/... First of all, very clever name. Meredith Baxter, star of TV movies and the classic family sitcom, "Family Ties," writes about her lack of mothering, three troubled marriages, parenting, drug use and alcoholism, bout with breast cancer, and eventually, her coming out as a lesbian. "Family Ties" last three years were when I lived in Japan. I remember my parents or friends taping a bunch of the American TV shows I liked and sending me videotapes--they were priceless. "Family Ties" was one of the shows I relished on those videotapes. I've always enjoyed Baxter's acting, and I was surprised along with many others when she quietly announced that she was in relationship with a woman...although I suppose the fact that her three marriages were unsuccesful could have been a clue. Baxter never went to college so when she was with her second husband, David Baxter, who constantly verbally and emotionally abused her (and sometimes physically assaulted her, too), she always felt "less than." It took a lot of courage for her to finally declare that she'd had enough. I think that verbal and emotional abuse is even harder for women to walk away from sometimes than physical abuse. In her case, she had five children to consider as well. Those expecting a full book of stories about "Family Ties" will be disappointed, as she covers that period in just a chapter or so. She fondly mentions Michael Gross (who played the dad), who became one of her closest friends and one of the first people she told about the abuse. I first heard about this book when I happened on an Oprah clip with Baxter, and Michael Gross appeared as a surprise guest. It was clear that they have great love and affection for one another. She doesn't go into great detail about most of her costars (in fact she doesn't even mention Justine Bateman, causing me to wonder), so readers who are expecting a celebrity gossip rag will be disappointed. It's not high literature, but it was an interesting read, with ultimately, a happy ending.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teena in Toronto

    A couple weeks ago I saw Meredith Baxter on "Oprah: Where are They Now" and was reminded about her memoir, which I thought would be an interesting read ... and it is. Baxter is one of three children and her parents split up when she was young. Her mother, Whitney Blake had some success as an actress but put her acting dreams and ambitions before her children. She wouldn't let her kids call her "Mom" ... they had to call her "Whitney". Her mother's second husband, Jack, was a talent agent who also A couple weeks ago I saw Meredith Baxter on "Oprah: Where are They Now" and was reminded about her memoir, which I thought would be an interesting read ... and it is. Baxter is one of three children and her parents split up when she was young. Her mother, Whitney Blake had some success as an actress but put her acting dreams and ambitions before her children. She wouldn't let her kids call her "Mom" ... they had to call her "Whitney". Her mother's second husband, Jack, was a talent agent who also helped Baxter with her career. Baxter has been married four times and has five children (from her first two marriages). She was quite young when she married the first time. Her second marriage was to her Bridget Loves Bernie co-star, David Birney. She portrays him as being an abuser (physically, emotionally and verbally) which she assumed was her fault (Birney has denied the abuse). In 2002, she realized she was gay and has been married to Nancy Locke since 2013 (they have been together since 2005). She's had a successful career as an actress mostly in made-for-TV movies and TV series. She details her use of drugs when she was younger and her later dependency on alcohol (she hasn't had a drink in many years). She's made some bad relationship decisions with husbands and affairs (some with married men). Obviously her dysfunctional upbringing has influenced who she is and the decisions she has made ... hopefully she'll continually to learn, be strong and use those experiences in a more positive manner. I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well. As a head's up, there is swearing (she likes to use the F-bomb a lot). Blog review post: http://www.teenaintoronto.com/2015/02...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Soozblooz

    I just finished Untied and, frankly, don't know what to think. It is eminently readable and I enjoyed it, but as to its truthfulness, I have some doubt and I know exactly when that doubt struck me. At the very end of the chapter chronicling her marriage and abuse at the hands of David Birney, she says this: "In no way is it my intent to hurt him any more than I think he intended to hurt me. I think he acted in the only way he knew how, to take care of himself. I don't think I was the target; I wa I just finished Untied and, frankly, don't know what to think. It is eminently readable and I enjoyed it, but as to its truthfulness, I have some doubt and I know exactly when that doubt struck me. At the very end of the chapter chronicling her marriage and abuse at the hands of David Birney, she says this: "In no way is it my intent to hurt him any more than I think he intended to hurt me. I think he acted in the only way he knew how, to take care of himself. I don't think I was the target; I was just the one out there. I do feel that if he could have done better, he might have." What? Ms. Baxter spent almost 2/3 of her book painting him as a volatile, arrogant, meanspirited control freak. I don't even know what that statement means, "In no way is it my intent to hurt him anymore than he hurt me." Because she has,after all, maligned him badly, and this suddenly feels like a disclaimer. After this point, I became acutely aware of how Ms. Baxter continues to blame everyone else and consigns only the least of blameworthy attributes to herself: I had low self esteem. I made poor choices. Occasionally, she admits to a self-centerdness that is screamingly obvious. Nevertheless, it is a fast and compelling read. But it does make one wish she had written a more even-handed treatment of a 16-year marriage and written with a little more forgiveness and grace in general.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoy memoirs, and Baxter is an actress I've admired for many years. She's a woman who I always thought "had it all"; a success in the truest sense. I measured success, not in material terms, but by the fullness of her life, her accomplishments and talent in her chosen field, her balance of career and family. I thought her beautiful in a natural, athletic way; as a runner, I shared the interest in the sport and was impressed when she ran the NYC Marathon with her then-husband. I thought - what I enjoy memoirs, and Baxter is an actress I've admired for many years. She's a woman who I always thought "had it all"; a success in the truest sense. I measured success, not in material terms, but by the fullness of her life, her accomplishments and talent in her chosen field, her balance of career and family. I thought her beautiful in a natural, athletic way; as a runner, I shared the interest in the sport and was impressed when she ran the NYC Marathon with her then-husband. I thought - what a perfect testimony to partnership, sharing this achievement while working and having a family. Little did I know - we never do, really - the complexity of her life, and the depth of her misery. A woman so fulfilled, or so I thought; in reality, she struggled with low self-esteem and her wonderful marriage was a horror, her partner abusive. She was functioning while in pain and unhappy, despite the joy and love she felt for her children. Along the way to happiness, she continuously makes poor choices, is self-absorbed and selfish, develops a dependence on alcohol, faces illness, and regains physical, emotional and spiritual health late in life as she connects with a woman who shows her respect, love and genuine intimacy. We are never too old and can evolve, if we choose.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kat Dietrich

    Untied is a memoir by Meredith Baxter, long-time sitcom mother on Family Ties, and an actress on many made-for-tv movies. I loved Family Ties, and always had a lot of respect for this woman, so I was very interested in reading her memoir. I don't read a lot of autobiographies, because I am never sure of the "truth" behind the tale, so as in this case, I took everything with a grain of salt. However, most of this rang true. I had known she was an alcoholic, but was not aware how far disease took he Untied is a memoir by Meredith Baxter, long-time sitcom mother on Family Ties, and an actress on many made-for-tv movies. I loved Family Ties, and always had a lot of respect for this woman, so I was very interested in reading her memoir. I don't read a lot of autobiographies, because I am never sure of the "truth" behind the tale, so as in this case, I took everything with a grain of salt. However, most of this rang true. I had known she was an alcoholic, but was not aware how far disease took her. This book details her childhood, acting career, her troubled love life, and takes an in-depth look at her alcohol addiction, and her "coming out" in her mid-50's. The book shows another side of the Family Ties matriarch. An interesting read although half the time I wanted to kick her butt, as she made such poor choices in her life, from one bad relationship to the next. Overall, I still respect this woman and hope she can respect herself. Favorite Quote from Untied: “I remember Sarah asking me, when I’d just begun therapy with her, what I looked for in a man. After a few moments of silent, tense deliberation I had it. ‘Hair,’ I blurted. ‘He has to have hair.’”

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