Rest of the Story: Book Reviews

In 2000, Applause Books released Original Story by Arthur Laurents: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood, to wide acclaim. In that book, Laurents not only detailed the creation of his landmark musicals West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959) but also his active love life. Now, Applause Books has released the writer-director’s second (and posthumous) volume, The Rest of the Story: A Life Completed, to mixed reviews. The current book is something of a coda to the first, with Laurents recounting the dramatic changes that occurred in his life during the past decade, including not only the fallout from his first memoir but also the loss of his longtime companion.

Brad Hathaway (DC Theatre Scene): The late Arthur Laurents was a truth teller. … I have to do some truth telling of my own. I found his final book, his follow up to the autobiography, to be a poorly-written, rambling, un-focused and rarely interesting bore. … If you enjoyed Original Story By because of its raunchiness, and turn to The Rest of the Story for more of the same, you will be disappointed. It wasn’t the lack of specifics on the bedroom antics of the rich and famous of Hollywood and Broadway that disappointed me, however. It was the lack of stories that help illuminate truths about the world of the theater. … It turns out to be a book only for the few completests who, having read Original Story By, feel a need to read his final 190 pages.

Joe Meyers (Conn. News): The recently published Arthur Laurents memoir The Rest of the Story (Applause Books) fills us in on the decade after the 2000 publication of the playwright and director’s excellent autobiography Original Story By. … Although his tell-it-like-it-is manner must have been a challenge for his associates and friends, for those of us on the outside looking in, Laurents’s approach to memoir writing was refreshingly uncensored. … The new book touches on show business, but is more about the author’s struggle to adapt to the loss of his partner. … The book is also about the changes in Laurents after 2000 that left him regretting things he wrote in the earlier memoir. … The Rest of the Story deals directly with grief and trying to move on in a manner that often recalls Joan Didion’s remarkable The Year of Magical Thinking.

Zachary Stewart (Theater Mania): There will be no next book for the late writer and director Arthur Laurents. But in his final memoir, The Rest of the Story: A Life Completed, the brutally honest Laurents admits to having adopted a different approach to the truth in his waning years. … The most innovative feature of this memoir is the existence of two narrators: the Arthur Laurents of 2009 and the Arthur Laurents of 2011, who comments in italics on his younger, rasher 91-year-old self, and often seems to regret the time he spent on contention. Nonetheless, The Rest of the Story is still rife with Laurents’ famously stinging critiques.  … Yet much of The Rest of the Story is a love song written in beautiful and dynamic prose.

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