April 26, 2016
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
Nonfiction - Memoir
2015 Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Read by the author
Finished on January 20, 2016
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today.
Born into Hollywood royalty, the granddaughter of the great John Barrymore, Drew Barrymore became one of the biggest stars of her generation. Despite an unconventional childhood, her life went on an incredible trajectory (in both good and difficult ways) after starring in E.T. at the age of six. She became an emancipated adult at the age of fourteen and built a life and career of her own that millions of fans admire. Growing up wasn't always easy for Drew, but through patience, hard work, and great friendships, she did it. And now she's writing about it.
Wildflower is a portrait of Drew's life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences she's had throughout her life. It includes tales of living in her first apartment as a teenager (and how laundry may have saved her life), getting stuck under a gas station overhang on a cross-country road trip, saying good-bye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more adventures and lessons that have led her to the life she has today.
And that life, as readers will learn, couldn't be more happy or successful. As an actress, producer, entrepreneur, and mother to daughters Olive and Frankie, Drew has found a happiness, balance, and peace that is truly inspirational. From fans who love her work to anyone who has ever had to struggle to become an adult on his or her own terms, this is a book that will inspire, delight, and show the true meaning of family, happiness, and love.
I rarely read celebrity memoirs, but this one caught my eye and I decided to give the audio a try. I was recently disappointed with a couple of celebrity audio books, which were read by the authors (Carole King and Billy Crystal's), so I wasn't entirely sure the audio was the way to go with Drew's new book, Wildflower. And yet, other than a few times in which she literally screamed or exclaimed something like, "OH MY GOD, NO!!!!" (which was pretty annoying, since the sudden change in volume was enough to make me pull my headphones away from my ears), I was pleased with the memoir and enjoyed learning about Drew's life as a child star (I loved her in E.T., The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates), a wife and a mother.
Wildflower is more of a collection of vignettes about parenthood, work, pets, and friendships rather than a chronological account of her life. I appreciated the conversational tone and the absence of name-dropping, which only occurred when it was obviously necessary in recounting a story or event. When she shared stories about Steven Spielberg, Adam Sandler and Cameron Diaz, they were expressed with genuine honesty and I never got the sense that she was bragging about her superstar life as an actress. Drew comes across as a very down to earth woman, who like all of us, faces her own insecurities, heartaches and fears. In addition to her enthusiastic recounting of fun and exciting events in her life, she also shared more tender and heartfelt stories, which she read with great emotion and on a few occasions, with a catch in her voice. I'll admit that I found myself getting choked up a couple of times. And, this was all before she and her husband announced their divorce.
Wildflower is an entertaining peek into Drew Barrymore's life and with the exception of the overly enthusiastic "performance," I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to fans of this sort of memoir, as well as those who like inspirational reads.
Barrymore was named an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Since then, she has donated over US$1 million to the program. In 2007, she became both CoverGirl's newest model and spokeswoman for the cosmetic and the face for Gucci's newest jewelry line. In 2010, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for her portrayal of Little Edie in Grey Gardens.