Author: Dr. Alma H. Bond, Ph.D

Publisher: Bancroft Press

ISBN: 978-1-61088-211-8

Dr. Alma H. Bond states in the Copyright page to her Barbra Streisand: On The Couch that although factual information forms the core of the biography, the book is nonetheless “a work of fiction, and is not necessarily a complete or historically accurate rendering of her life.” With this in mind, you have to admit that Bond takes a distinct and intriguing approach as compared to others who have written dozens of articles and books about one of the icons of the entertainment world, Barbra Streisand.

Streisand, who is “on the couch” with the fictional psychoanalyst, Dr. Darcy Dale largely comes across as someone who is difficult, complex, unafraid of hard work, and is unfortunately tormented by her past relationship with her mother and the death of her father when she was fifteen months old.

From an early age she always had to contend with being labelled with the Yiddish expression as being a“meiskeit' or an ugly person and as a result was very often dismissed for movie parts. Her own mother discouraged her from pursuing a career in show business because she felt her daughter was too unattractive to succeed. Nonetheless, Streisand has always marched to her own tune, did not accept rejection and was determined to do it her own way that ultimately led to her beating all odds against her. By the way, she never took singing lessons. It was her determination to succeed and the feeling that she was just as good or better than some of the other well-known actresses and performers that propelled her to stardom. As she mentions to her analyst, “chutzpah is not a trait I lack!”

From one of Streisand's sessions with her fictional psychoanalyst we learn that one of the most important turning points in her life was when at the age of fifteen, Allan Miller, the famous acting teacher upon the advice of his wife Anita, offered her a place in his acting school even though he was not very much impressed with her audition but nevertheless was taken in by her vitality, rawness, ferocity and determination. The rest is history as Streisand tells Dr. Dale that she was on her way to becoming a great actress!

Bond provides her readers with summaries of many of Streisand's movies as What's Up Doc, Funny Girl, The Way We Were, A Star is Born, Yentl, all of which shed a great deal of insight into Barbra's personal life and experiences. And as for Yentl, she believed that the story and her father took possession of her like the demon in The Exorcist.

In one of her sessions with Dr. Dale that it was more difficult for her to be hired to direct a film, although she believed that without doubt to be the finest directors in Hollywood. She believes she comes by it naturally as she is bossy and opinionated- two qualities that directors must have.

Streisand's marriages, dalliances and romantic relationships get a great deal of space particularly her marriage to Elliott Gould and her tumultuous relationship with Jon Peters.

In the end what we have as a result of Bond's own experiences as a psychoanalyst, her extensive research, speculations and impressions is a compact vision of the many dimensions of Streisand pertaining to her career, personal life, her many movies, songs and lovers, which all make for a read that is far from dull. Bond in her Acknowledgements mentions that writing the book, which is her twenty-fourth, was fun as Barbara is such a witty person, with the grandest sense of humor. In fact, and as she states, the humor that is portrayed seems to crawl inside not only in Bond's head but also in mine. Incidentally, as Bond admits, many of Streisand's clever and humorous comments she made were “stolen” from her interviews.