Friday, November 20, 2015

Wildflower; Drew Barrymore


Wildflower; Drew Barrymore
Penguin Audio - Dutton - 2015

I fell in love with Drew Barrymore when she was just 7 years old.  My own daughter is Drew's age and I remember sitting with both kids in the theater watching E.T when they were little. Over the years I read about her childhood struggles, her unconventional parents and her movie successes, so I was anxious to read her new book, which she says -- isn't really a memoir. 

The book is a series of short stories that follows no particular chronological format. Drew talks about her hippie parents - never married, neither of which were capable of parenting. Her mother would take her to Studio 5 instead of to school. She states that what her parents did give her was a "blueprint of what not to do with her own kids one day".  She does speak fondly of her grandfather John Barrymore though.

When left to fend for herself too frequently she became a wild child and when her mother didn't know how to handle the situation she institutionalized her in a psych-based facility for a year.  When Drew was released at the age of 14 she petitioned the court to emancipate herself and the court allowed it. At 14, Drew got her own apartment, a job in a coffeehouse and dropped out of school.

Drew shares stories of her younger days, her professional life, exploring religion in India, skydiving, her visits to Africa and her sponsoring a child with AIDS, and how the experience made her realize she felt ready for motherhood.  She shares stories about how she met her husband Will and how welcoming and loving his family was, and how for the first time in her life she felt she was truly part of a family. She claims that she "hit the in-law jackpot".  Drew and her husband have two little girls, Frankie and Olive.

Because of the lack of a structured format this book never felt like a traditional memoir.  er story is clearly tempered and written knowing that her daughters will read this book down the road.  It's clear that all of the challenges that Drew faced as a child made her more resilient and gave her a "never give up" attitude.  I loved reading about her love of animals and her experiences with her own pets, as well as her experiences and love of motherhood.  The stories feel genuine and heartfelt.  So happy I listened to this one - narrated by the author herself.

(4/5 stars)
(audio sent by publisher)

20 comments:

  1. I've got to get my hands on this book!

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  2. Now this might be a book I could listen to on audio, since Drew herself narrates it. But I have it in hardcover, and I'm really looking forward to it.

    I, too, have been a fan of hers since ET, and then saw other movies she made, like Fire Starter and a little-known movie with Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long.

    That movie could have come right out of her own life, with self-absorbed parents and all.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts...and now I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Oops, I forgot to mention that the movie with Ryan O'Neal is Irreconcilable Differences.

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    2. I forgot about Firestarter and yes, Irreconcilable Differences is probably where she got the emancipation idea.

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  3. I think she's done remarkably well given her background.

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    1. Me too Ti - tough start in life, but she really sounds like she has her act together now.

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  4. This sounds fabulous! I've always been impressed by Drew with how personable she seems and how she has endured despite a pretty crazy childhood. I'm intrigued by the idea of the short stories rather than a traditional memoir. This definitely sounds like something I must get on audio!

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    1. Katherine, think you should try it. I think I was expecting a more linear memoir, but I still enjoyed this.

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  5. I love Drew and admire her for all that she has overcome. I should put this one on my "must read" list catchatwithcarenandcody

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    1. Please do Caren. She's an inspiration -- thriving despite of her past.

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  6. Like you, I fell in love with this actress when I saw her in E.T. many, many years ago. She's come a long way from that insane childhood (makes me think of Jeanette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle). I plan to read this memoir and am happy to hear that the audio is well-done. I tend to stay away from audio books read by the author, but if you say she does a good job, I'll give it a try. Very nice review!

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    1. Thank's Les, I'm not crazy about author read books either, but think she did a good job.

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  7. I've seen very positive reviews of this. I love her too!

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    1. She's easy to love and respect when you know about her past.

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  8. I love Drew Barrymore but I am not so familiar with her backstory. She sounds like an amazing person and this book doesn't sound too memoir-ish so I would love to give it a try.

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  9. I saw Drew Barrymore several years ago on Inside the Actor's Studio and came away admiring how she overcame her personal struggles. Your review makes me think that I'd really like this book. Thanks for the audiobook recommendation.

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  10. Thank you for this review, Diane. I think I will have to look this one up. I really like Drew Barrymore and respect her.

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