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.
(audio sent by publisher)