The first distinct memory I have of watching a movie was when I was around 4 or so. I was with my dad at one of his friends’ houses, and their kids were watching ET on TV. I remember really liking Gertie, probably because she was the only girl and not terribly far from my own age, and so began my interest in Drew Barrymore. I have watched quite a few of her movies over the years, and always enjoy her acting. I found her book available on Overdrive, so I decided to give it a listen.
The audio was read by the author, which I always like. It adds to the whole experience, and it almost feels like you are having a conversation with them. She seems so genuinely optimistic and friendly, and her quirkiness is so endearing. She feels like a best friend. Her voice is so melodic, and it always sounds like she has a smile on her face.
The book contains stories from her life, not in chronological order, but rather bouncing all over the place. While I do prefer chronological order, this feels more like sitting on an overstuffed couch and having a long afternoon talk with her over tea.
Barrymore has led a very interesting life, even by Hollywood standards. She began acting at a very young age, with her mother taking advantage of that, causing her to emancipate at the age of 14. She was not close with her father, so she ended up getting her own place, where she did not even know how to do laundry or cook or even wash dishes! She grew up fast, dropped out of school, and worked many jobs including at a coffee shop just to get by. She educated herself, which I give her huge props for, and became an avid reader, enjoying the works of Tolstoy, Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jane Austen.
Barrymore talks about getting the role of Gertie, filming ET, and working with Stephen Spielberg, who was like a father to her. She even met Princess Diana during the world promotion tour, and gave her a little ET stuffed doll. Barrymore discusses when she jumped on David Letterman’s desk topless, and how she now insists on modesty clauses and no sex scenes in all of her roles. She actively sought out Adam Sandler, feeling the need to work together on some compilation, and they have since been in 3 movies together, all of which I think are awesome! They really complete each other on screen, and are great friends off screen.
She is also very close with Cameron Diaz, having worked on a few movies together as well. Diaz is a godmother to Barrymore’s children, and they were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. They have gone on many adventures together, including camping, sky diving, and swimming with sharks.
Barrymore is very candid, and talks freely about postpartum depression, parenting, and how to make better choices than what she feels her parents made. She leads a more settled, simpler life now, learning how to balance life and work, and seeks to give the life she felt she missed out on to her kids. She also writes very lovely (and very personal) letters to each of her daughters, telling them how much she loves them.
Perhaps my favourite part of the book is when she discusses her love of nature and flowers, even calling her business “Flower”. She has a love of avocado trees, having one in her yard when she was younger, and she has since put a stipulation in her will that when she dies she wants to be buried under an avocado tree, preferably with a view of the ocean. I just love this idea!
I came away with a much bigger and better appreciation for such an incredible woman. She has lived an incredible life, trying to leave this world a little better than when she found it. She promotes body positivity and advocates for mental health issues, and travels to Africa to help build schools. She has never lived a dull moment in her life, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Barrymore!