An endearing, earnest, lightly cultivated garden of stories from the actress.
The voice of the woman who captured hearts as a child in E.T. is instantly recognizable in this sweet work. In her preface, Barrymore (Find It in Everything: Photographs by Drew Barrymore, 2014, etc.) shares hesitation at calling her book a memoir, a term that “seemed heavy to me, and I want this to be light.” What follows lives up to her intention. It’s a time-hopping assemblage of, among other things, sky diving with friend Cameron Diaz, exploring religion in India, and creating Flower Films, a girl-powered production company. We learn of her deep need for approval and a cycle of worry and relief pervading her professional life, but Barrymore has found happiness (the exclamation points prove it!), and there’s no place for dirt in this garden. Barrymore perfunctorily addresses her unstable parents, wild child years, and famous relatives, an approach that creates unresolved questions. The few stories from her younger years that she does share are humble (“I really am so sorry and remorseful”), and readers get the sense that she is writing in full knowledge that her two daughters will be reading this someday. Accordingly, it’s writing to and about her daughters and motherhood where Barrymore shines. She allows herself to be vulnerable and overcome with wonder, just like the girl America fell in love with decades ago. Although she is a flower child, free and thriving, in several instances, the book would have benefited from a heavier editorial hand—e.g., an office that’s described as “warm and truly lived in” is again called “warm and utterly organized” two sentences later.
It’s easy to like Barrymore, and even if her life isn’t quite an open book, we get an often funny, occasionally tear-jerking picture of a woman who has replaced past darkness with love and light and who just wants everyone to be happy.