I thought I knew Sally Field. To me, she was the Flying Nun, Sister Bertrille. All those other roles that followed…Norma Rae, Sybil, Mary Todd Lincoln…were departures or outliers from the perky and adorable actress I’ve known most of my life. So I believed.
If Ms. Fields accomplished nothing else with her story, she’s forever convinced people like me that she’s never been Sister Bertrille. She’s always been the actress who’s a two-time Oscar winner and a three-time Emmy winner. And, we now know that so much of her unfortunate childhood gave her the insights to portray those complicated characters. It’s a childhood framed by strong but flawed women and men who abused, used or abandoned her. As I listened to her tell her own story, I was consumed with sadness for the little girl who learned early that she need to deliver a performance in order to please the people around her so she could feel worthy, liked and to survive, masking her true feelings and nature. I never understood her now infamous Oscar acceptance speech where she stated, “…you like me! Right now, you like me!” I get it now and her reasoning behind it saddens me even more.
While Field tells her story pretty much in a chronological fashion, it’s definitely in pieces, those events throughout her life that either shaped or deeply impacted her psyche or illustrated her nature. By the end, I felt all those pieces came together to reshape my image of her, giving me a more correct portrait of this complicated and talented woman. She still sells herself short but that’s just who she is. You’ll be surprised at the relationships she entered throughout her life, including her five-year emotionally destructive one with Burt Reynolds, some shocking and others inevitable. I’m so glad I listened to her story. It’s taken decades but I finally feel like I know the true Sally Field and I’ll never look at her the same way again. And, I see the haunting cover of this book, her self portrait, with fresh eyes.
- Release Date: September 18, 2018
- Narrator: Sally Field
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 41 minutes
- Publisher: Hachette Audio