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Autobiography/Memoir

bookcover: 
In Pieces book cover
Author: 
Field, Sally
Publisher: 
Grand Central Publishing
Non-fiction_: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-153876302

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Sally Field is an icon, but for me she's my third big sister, albeit trapped behind the monitor, forever caught in high school as Gidget, bless her heart. I think when my ex married me, he hoped he was getting a version of Sally Field (though even she towers over me.) When I found her autobiography In Pieces, deciding to read it was a no brainer. I tore through it in one night, and have been feeling devastated ever since.

Sometimes you read memoirs, and they are satisfying. They answer questions, make you feel all warm and fuzzy, confirm things you knew, and then you can close the book and move on. Sally Field's autobiography In Pieces, is not one of those. From the first pages, when she introduces her grandmother and her mother, the sense of truth and intimacy is beyond intimate. The entire book is brutally honest. I can not even imagine the courage it takes to dig that deep, much less to dig and reveal it. It's as if she's taken a bleeding biopsy of her life and stretched it out naked to the world on a cardboard to flash in our smug faces in her best Norma/Sally fashion. In this book, here she is: the Sally we saw grow before us from Gidget to The Flying Nun to The Girl with Something Extra; and then the big moment for all of those who were watching: her gut-wrenching performance as Sibyl.

It is no surprise that the human being who stripped her emotions bare to be Sybil for us would do anything less than bleed on the pages of her autobiography.

Read this book.
Read this book if you are fan of Sally Field.
Read this if you are a fan of biographies, a feminist, a survivor of child abuse, an actor, a human being refusing to let someone else define your limits, or if you're just somebody in need of inspiration to climb your mountain.

bookcover: 
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life cover
Author: 
Dani Shapiro
Publisher: 
Atlantic Monthly Press
Genre: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780802121400

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Dani Shapiro's Still Writing-The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life is a book of short memoirs and essays that speak to the heart of the writing life. For writers, writing is not an act, but a vehicle that takes us to another place. If you will pardon the clumsy comparison, I would say that you could think of each of the essays in this book as being a separate vehicle that makes up the writer's train that is Dani Shapiro.

I found the book not unlike other author's essays, like Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, another book that gets you to that writing mindset. Shapiro considers things that are the at the center of writing like escape, obsession, fear, scars, spying, our inner censor. Each of the essays is presented personally, without condescension, from the perspective inside that deep well within.

This is the kind of book I never read at one sitting, but instead nibble each essay one at a time, for inspiration. It's like the "each one teach one" philosophy. Read one, write one. Shapiro's creative life is a wrestling melee of career, craft, practice, and life, flavored by doubt and demand and is as seasoned with pragmatic suggestions as it is a lilting voice. I enjoyed her insights, but even more than that, I recognize them. I fully expect to approach this book again at different times, and think that I will continue to find new insights and echoes that speak to me.