In Pieces was not what I expected at all from a celebrity memoir but it is all the better for it. I enjoy listening to memoirs in the audio-book format but not if I am required to use the right side of my brain for a task at the same time; because of this I tend to listen audiobooks while driving or cleaning but listen to music at work. However, this week I devoured Sally’s story during a long day at work that involved a lot of numerical data entry.
“How can you change who you are and learn what it takes to get up, over and over, if you can’t allow yourself to feel how much it hurts to be knocked down?”
Sally is so open and honest in her writing. She discusses her difficult childhood at length; her parents divorced when she was young and her mother’s second husband, a professional stunt man turned actor, sexually abused Sally for years. A quarter or more of the book is devoted to Sally’s traumatic upbringing and while it is difficult to swallow I admire her perseverance in the shadow of such an unbearable childhood as well as her willingness to share such dark secrets.
Sally’s education was never a priority in her house so when she graduated high school she wasn’t sure what path she would take until she stumbled across the chance to act in a new TV show called Gidget. After Gidget was cancelled she was offered The Flying Nun which she turned down before her abusive step-father threatened her that if she said No to this role she would never work again. While Sally has had a long, illustrious career she chooses to focus her recollections of her early days in Hollywood; primarily the awful time she had during the filming of The Flying Nun as well as the years she spent with Burt Reynolds which is when she did Sybil and Norma Rae.
Unfortunately she only briefly touches on the roles she had after the early 80s which was disappointing because I would have loved to hear more about the set of Forest Gump, Steel Magnolias and Mrs Doubtfire. However, while I loved her writing style and could have listened to her narration for days, I understand that if she devoted the same energy and number of pages to these roles as she did for her years on The Flying Nun then In Pieces would have come close to a thousand pages. I can only hope she considers writing another memoir about her time as part of the Hollywood establishment.