Bookworm Blog: “All My Life: A Memoir” by Susan Lucci

It’s been a guilty, secret pleasure – one you never intended to start.

For years, whenever anybody would mention watching a soap opera, you’d scoff. Weren’t soaps were for housewives, layabouts, and people with no lives? No, definitely not on your Things To Do list.

But then, one day at lunch, somebody turned on the TV and you peeked. Who was that buff guy in dreads? Does the pretty blonde know her father is manipulating her?
It took about twenty minutes, but you were hooked.

So what will you do without “All My Children” when it’s finished this fall? One way to cope is to listen to “All My Life” by Susan Lucci.

Throughout her childhood, Susan Lucci was fascinated by acting. She loved Broadway, and remembers seeing shows with her mother. She was the lead in a Girl Scout play, but that only whetted her appetite for the stage.

Performing, says Lucci, was “all I wanted to do.”

Told that she was “too ethnic” for stardom, she was often mistaken for being a celebrity but didn’t act professionally until she was halfway through college. Her professors pooh-poohed TV, believing it to be a “lesser form of entertainment,” but Lucci was sold on the medium. She had a few brief television appearances before she was invited to audition for a new soap opera called “All My Children.”

Just after her marriage to Helmut Huber in September 1969, Lucci was hired to play Erica Kane.

Though she and her alter ego are worlds apart in personality, Lucci says that she and Erica are still close; in fact, she’s been approached by well-meaning fans who scolded her for things that Erica did. Lucci is privileged to share Erica’s wardrobe, as well as her friends, her “careers,” and her world travels.

But the similarities don’t end there: for over 40 years, Erica Kane’s “life” has sometimes eerily paralleled that of Susan Lucci…

Remember when “babysitting” meant you’d be spending an hour with “All My Children”? Yep, and whether it’s been hours or decades since you last saw an episode, you’ll love this audiobook.

Author Susan Lucci – who is “older than Oprah and younger than Cher” – tells us about her life, her men (plural!), her children, grandchildren, sideline careers, and how she became one of daytime drama’s best-loved characters. In a voice familiar to fans (Lucci does her own reading in this audiobook), she tells about her almost-two-decade-long wait for a Daytime Emmy Award, and what it was like to finally nab the statue.

But the real appeal of “All My Life” is the backstage peeks at “All My Children”: how Fra Heflin (Mona) became Lucci’s second mother; the romantic streak James Mitchell (Palmer) displayed; the infamous abortion story arc; where all the good AMC gossip can be found; and what really goes on during those steamy love scenes.

So come clean: you’re going to miss your favorite soap, aren’t you? If the answer is a mournful “yes” then – for you – “All My Life” will be a definite pleasure.