Mary Tyler Moore was once America's Sweetheart, a shining beacon
of happy domesticity on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and an
iconic figure of both pop culture and the women's liberation
movement on her 1970s landmark program “The Mary Tyler Moore
Show.” Throw in her dance career, both as a ballerina and
then as a hoofer on Broadway and television (most notably in her
own eponymous variety shows), and you have a consummate American
star of stage and screen whose very name evokes excitement and love
from anyone who hears it.
In GROWING UP AGAIN: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes, Moore
takes us on a tour of a very different part of her life, the one
that she has been living for the last 40-plus years.
Three years after her turn as Laura Petrie, Moore found out she
had type 1 diabetes. It was the year before she made her massive
leap into the Television Hall of Fame with “The Mary Tyler
Moore Show.” This was not a performer who had time to spare,
and yet, just as one of the busiest parts of her career was about
to commence, she discovered that her life was going to change in
significant and not-so-pleasant ways. Undergoing a D&C after a
miscarriage, the doctors discovered she had juvenile diabetes, a
strange occurrence since juveniles usually find out they have the
disease, hence its name.
Clearly, she has "managed" this disease without affecting her
ability to work, but I surmise that most people will find some of
the stories contained in this book absolutely shocking, such as the
fact that she was also "managing" as a working alcoholic at the
There is an amazing honesty to Moore's recollections --- these
are debilitating and difficult situations to retrieve, and her
memories serve her very well, down to the last detail. When she
writes about the way that her sicknesses have taken a toll on her,
body and soul, she gives specifics. If you or someone you know is a
diabetic, you will find this candid look at the real effects of
diabetes to be a very valuable tome. If you are just a fan, you
will find Moore’s inimitable pluck intact, particularly when
she talks about how her disease has gotten in the way of her
performing. Her story about her eyesight failing at a party for
John Travolta after the premiere of Hairspray is alarming.
Who would’ve thought that someone like her, who seems so
outwardly together and functioning, could have moments like these
where she is almost blind and falling down in public?
Moore’s tales of her alcoholism as well as her difficult
marriages and her son's death due to drug abuse are all testaments
as to why she can be called a "true survivor."
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 22, 2011