Tuesday, July 2, 2019

In Pieces by Sally Field

Rating: WORTHY!

This audiobook started out great, but went downhill quickly once Burt Reynolds came on the scene, and everything from that point on was annoying. I'd skipped almost nothing for the entire eighty percent or whatever prior to that point, but I skipped almost everything after it. That said, however, I consider this a worthy listen because it was heartfelt, informative, and beautifully read by the author, who has one of the best reading voices I've ever listened to.

The story is delicately told, but pulls no punches and hides no secrets. Of course it's one voice and no one the author talks about gets a chance to respond, but they can always write their own biography and address it that way. Talking of which, I'm really not a great fan of biographies, but I do read or listen to one now and then, and I like Sally Field as an actor.

I enjoyed her playing Spider-Man's aunt in The Amazing Spider-Man and the sequel, but prior to that I had seen her in Stay Hungry many years ago, and in Soapdish which I thought was hilarious and in which I really fell in love with her (along with Kevin Kline and several of the other cast members) as a comedy actor. I also loved her voice acting in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. She was great in Mrs Doubtfire and in Legally Blonde 2 too!

I have never seen her supposed masterpieces, Norma Rae or Places in the Heart for which she won academy awards so I cannot comment on those. They're not my kind of movie. I did take a look at Gidget and at The Flying Nun and was not at all impressed with those - not so much with her personally, but with the whole dumb-ass, tame, uninventive, unadventurous, moronic sit-com shtick, which frankly makes me barf, and which I suspect she might well feel the same way about, but at least it got her face and acting known. It did lead me to read Frederick Kohner's 1957 original novel, Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas which he wrote based on his own daughter's anecdotes, and I found that really entertaining and which I also review positively, today.

This biography begins with Field's early and difficult childhood, her molestation by her stepfather, and her various unsatisfactory relationships. She doesn't blame everyone but herself when things went wrong, either, shouldering her fair share. I found the insights she gave into actors, and directors and into her own lifelong learning of her craft quite fascinating and this was the major reason I wanted to listen to this, but there are also disturbing and moving moments, and amazing descriptions of her giving birth to her first two children, which makes me think she would have made a great comedy writer had she chosen to do that instead of act. What impressed me most though was how whole and sane she has managed to stay despite what she went through.

So overall, I commend this as a worthy read and I'm glad I listened to it (except for that last 20%!).