Here’s a thing I’m going to attempt to not do again: buy an audio book written and read by an author who is not a humorist or comedian. This is not a slam on Ms. Barrymore’s writing skills; it’s just that I think that this wasn’t in a format that was conducive to really getting a lot out of this totally fine selection of memoir-esque essays.
I appreciate that Ms. Barrymore didn’t spend a lot of time in the book focused on the aspects of her childhood that those of us who remember it would consider ‘salacious.’ She mentions in passing the reason her mother sent her away, and expressed profound understanding of her mother’s strengths and weaknesses in raising her, and she speaks of her years as a child actor, but that isn’t the primary focus of the book.
In fact, nothing in the book was really bad and nothing was really good. At times the audio version felt a bit like listening to a novel or a radio play, and that wasn’t always a good thing. Some of the stories were very cute, and I get the sense that Ms. Barrymore is very self-aware. Yes, she does come across as a bit of a hippie, and there’s a whole lot of sincerity, but there’s also a bit more … wit (that seems mean)? Sarcasm? I’m not sure. But more of whatever that is than I was expecting. It’s not just loads of flower language and talk of the healing power of crystals.
I genuinely feel that I would have enjoyed the book much more if I had read it and not listened to it. Reading it would allow me to absorb each essay and hopefully get more out of it than the audio version. Yes, it was at times funny to hear the voices (and screams) punctuating some of her stories, but it didn’t have enough to really keep me engaged. So, audio book: 2 stars. But I’m betting that the visual version would get at least three.