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There is an extreme vulnerability that biographies possess that I find so intriguing.
Now that I am a sophisticated grown up, I have come to find that I really get into reading all different kinds of memoirs. I can relate to the transparency and appreciate the authenticity of a person sharing their life experiences.
Reading biographies brings me so much inspiration for me. I guess to me, If I read about someone else making it through some crazy stuff in their life then it gives hope. There’s also this aspect that you get to live vicariously through the written pages of someone else’s life more interesting than your own.
A new adventure with Sally
This past Christmas I received Sally Field’s book In Pieces as a gift. Sally Field, a very well-known Golden Globe, Emmy and Academy Award winning actress that has starred in over 30 films!
Her most familiar work to me and my generation was Mrs. Doubtfire, Forest Gump and Steel Magnolia’s (my fav).
You can STILL catch me and my sister at any given time blurting out “the whole time….the whole time” from Mrs. Doubtfire when Miranda(Sally) finds out that Mrs. Doubtfire is actually her ex husband.
And of course we never forget the dramatics of Shelby’s sugar crash in Steel Magnolias when her mother (played by Sally) insist ” Shelby drink you juice, drink you juice Shelby”! I don’t know why we narrowed in on those lines in particular but we find a need to quote them A LOT.
Ahh good times, good times.
I dove right in ready to be intrigued and inspired. It is a lengthy book and with a toddler I get maybe about an hour to casually read in a day, so over the course of almost a month, I got used to diving into bed to see what kind of stories Sally had for me that night! She lets everything out in this memoir and I found myself feeling like I knew her and could relate to a lot of her feelings.
I would Have Never Guessed
Right from the first chapter it is clear how important the relationship between her and her mother are, in which she has always called her “Baa”. She has a loving and tight bond with her mother and grandmother that she has no trouble portraying, in the way she speaks of their history.
Which might I add, totally opposite of Shirley MacLaine and daughter Sachi Parker in Sachi’s book Lucky Me. Wow, was that one weird mother/daughter relationship, poor girl!
You can literally feel the nostalgia jumping off the pages of Sally’s memoir pulling you into that time with her.
Early on, you pick up on the instability in her life with her mom being an actress herself (in which I didn’t know). Sally moved A LOT! Her parents divorced early on and she had a close relationship to her older brother as they grew up, especially once “Jocko” her step father entered the picture.
A Life of Secrets
I won’t give away all the details but at a young age before her career even began, she experienced some trauma. You can tell how she felt she didn’t have a voice growing up and it carried through to her self-confidence as a young actress. Sally held many heart-breaking secrets in, never revealing to her mother to the end of the book.
She goes on to talk about how she felt about different television series she starred in and her tremulous relationship with acting as well as the people closest in her life.
She dated Burt Reynolds for a while, wow did he seem like a jerk, this dude had plenty of his own issues!
Despite all this, she still seemed to do very well for herself. As I read more, I got curious and looked up her filmography. She has done SO many more movies then she lets on in the book.
She had a way of writing this lengthy book and still remaining quite humble, since most of her writing focused on her relationships and her account of things as a child. It is amazing to me that even though she is in her 70’s she has such vivid memories and details of when she was very young.
A piece of In Pieces
Here is in excerpt from her book that really stood out to me about her relationship with her first husband who was her childhood sweetheart. Here is this famous movie star expressing how human and real she is. She struggled with some of the same feelings so many women have felt about growing apart and out of their first marriage.
“In reality it wasn’t Steve that I didn’t want to be with. It was me. I didn’t want to be the person I became when I was with him, didn’t want to lean on him because he expected me to, because he wanted me to, because he felt better when I did—or even because I felt better when I did. It seemed as though we were trapped in our childhood, like Dorian Gray’s portrait. We got older but our relationship never changed.”
I learned a lot about Sally that I had no idea. It made me have a new-found respect for her as an actress and a person.
The coolest part about reading a biography from a person in their 70’s is that you get to read more of her story…. all of her story. From the beginning through childhood, adolescents, being a mother, wife, divorcee, grandmother and caretaker for her mother.
You can literally watch her evolve and grow through different phases of her life. You can tell she poured her heart and soul into this book.
There Will Be Tears
The end of the book crushed me!
If you have recently experienced grief like I have it is likely to do you in, or at least it almost did me. It left an impact worthy to be shared obviously!
I really enjoyed all the pictures throughout as well, it made it feel even more personable. Definitely worth the read. You can grab your copy here.
What other memoirs are worth the read?