Drew Barrymore takes a look back on her life, sharing the funny, the sad, the intimate, the beautiful with her readers. She talks about the events and people that helped shape her into the positive, healthy person she is today.
I won a copy of this book from Penguin Audio on a faceboook giveaway and decided to give it a listen. I have seen several of Barrymore’s movies over the years but have not followed her private life at all. So there was plenty here for me to learn. The book is not laid out chronologically, but jumps around. I didn’t find this to be a problem as this is a book comprised of anecdotes from a person’s life.
So here are a few of the things I didn’t know about Drew Barrymore before reading this book. She was emancipated at age 14. Yep. On her own and legal at 14. But of course she had been working in TV and movies since she was 5, so this probably wasn’t as big a leap for her as it would have been for me at 14. I didn’t know that she and the other stars of E. T. had done a world tour. Her business, Wildflower, has branched out from movies to cosmetics and wine. That’s just a few things. I am sure each reader will find plenty to enjoy.
Barrymore speaks most eloquently about the relationships that have made her a better person. I especially liked these stories. Her father was a mostly absent man in her life though she did get to know him somewhat when he was passing away from cancer. She made the most of an awkward and strained relationship. She has a chapter to each daughter in which she is talking directly to them about what makes them unique and how they make her more than she could ever be without them. Normally, I shy away from such gushiness, but Barrymore’s motherly love hits home because she grew up with so little in the way of parental love. In some ways, this book is a kind of big thank you to friends and family that had these positive influences on her over the years.
Barrymore also speaks candidly of her wild child days. She reflects on her mind set at the time and other experiences she had (or didn’t have) to compare her behavior to. While many encouraged her exhibitionistic behavior, only a few close friends encouraged her to channel that sexy behavior into a more wholesome outlet. As she has gotten older, she’s added in modesty clauses to movie contracts while also holding onto that sweet girl next door appeal.
Then she talks about her dogs. Honestly, I found these to be the most touching. Her first three pups helped shaped the human she would become as much or more than the people in her life. I was a little surprised that she took the cremated remains of one of her dogs to spread at various locations in India. Still, if I had the wherewithall and inclination, perhaps I would do the same. Overall, this was a thoughtful look into Barrymore’s life. And it’s OK to be short. Plenty of the female population of the world is.
The Narration: Drew Barrymore did a really good job narrating her own book. She never sounded bored or hesitant in reading her own work. She imbued many scenes with a touch of emotion, whether it be pleasure, sadness, happiness, sorrow, etc. Her volume does vary a bit – not greatly – but if you are listening on ear buds there are some scenes (such as the parachuting scene) where she is screaming. Sometimes she screams cuss words (which I find amusing, but perhaps not everyone would in certain locations).