Happy Tuesday! Today I have a review of In Pieces, Sally Field’s memoir, available now from Grand Central. Friends, when I was invited to read this book by the publisher, I could not believe my eyes. The day before I saw Sally Field on The View promoting her book, and I was one step away from buying a copy because I’ve always been a fan of hers. Please read on for my thoughts on this much-anticipated book!
Sally Field…My first introduction being either Steel Magnolias or Forrest Gump? I had heard of Gidget, the happy-go-lucky, girl-next-door, cute, charming, all smiles.
Sally Field has a story to tell. It took her seven years to write it and a lifetime to live and process it. She could have kept this all to herself; we certainly never would have known. Her family hardly knew.
Some have asked me if In Pieces is a “star book,” and I would say no. It is not salacious or gossipy, most definitely not braggy or boastful. It just is. She just is. And there most definitely are chronicles of the tv shows and movies as she is launched into stardom because those are part of her story, too. But with that, there’s always a humbleness, a demureness, where she never feels quite settled in her own skin, which you will come to understand as you learn her story; or at least, I did.
I first caught hold of Sally’s story when she wrote of her great grandmother and grandmother. The time periods, their stoicism and other personality traits, their inordinate strength; it all connected with me strongly because of the women in my own family. It had me revisiting my thoughts on another book I read and inter-generational experiences, good and bad, and how we pass them down to our daughters.
Sally Field writes with tenderness and complexity of most everyone she loved in her life, and that’s another aspect that connected to me deeply. It would be easy to write off the exboyfriend who was controlling, but a charmer, and make him out to be the monster that was most of the time, but instead she describes why she stayed, his strengths and what connected her to him (not naming any names here; that’s part of the fun of the book!). The same with her childhood love who became her first husband and the father of two of her children. Everyone would love Steve by the way she first describes him, but he is not without flaws, and neither is she.
That ultimately leads me to another aspect I loved. Sally’s honesty and ownership over her life. She doesn’t blame others or feel sorry for herself at any time. She recognizes where she may have played a role, and even when I didn’t agree and felt she was too hard on herself (definitely much too hard on herself!), that modesty she possesses only adds to her authenticity.
I also enjoyed reading about her relationship with her mother- her devotion and the complications in their dynamics. It brought me to tears several times and made me grateful for the ease of my relationship with my mother. Her children are described with the most tenderness, three beautiful boys, that she loves with a ferocity and, yes, she has regrets, but it’s all honest, genuine, authentic.
In Pieces is hands-down one of the best memoirs I’ve read, and this is one of my preferred genres, so I’ve read a few. I loved that my mind was changed about Sally in a way; well, maybe not changed…opened-up, and it was all about something I harp on- complexity of character. None of us are all good, or all bad, and Sally chose to let us see all the parts, all her pieces, her whole self. She most definitely didn’t have to, it was her story to tell, but she bravely and boldly did.
Thank you to the lovely folks at Grand Central for the invitation to read In Pieces. All opinions are my own.
In this intimate, haunting literary memoir read by the author, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words – about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.
One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget‘s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.
With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.
Have you read In Pieces, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR