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My Extraordinary Ordinary Life

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  149 reviews
In her delightful and moving memoir, Sissy Spacek writes about her idyllic, barefoot childhood in a small East Texas town, with the clarity and wisdom that comes from never losing sight of her roots. Descended from industrious Czech immigrants and threadbare southern gentility, she grew up a tomboy, tagging along with two older brothers and absorbing grace and grit from he ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Louise Turner
I loved this book, particularly Sissy Spacek's account of growing up in small town, Quitman, Texas. As I was reading that portion I kept thinking she reminded me of Scout Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird"--that same spirit, spunk, and streak of integrity. (I may have been disposed to think that way because one of my favorite audio books has Spacek reading Harper Lee's classic.) It didn't surprise me when she commented that "To Kill a Mockingbird" was her favorite book and Scout one of her favorit ...more
Delene H. Allen
Sissy Spacek is Extraordinarily Ordinary!

It was finally an honor to meet Sissy Spacek and Maryanne Vollers, and it was fitting that they conducted some of their research right here at the Quitman Public Library. I could not help wondering why Sissy would be writing an autobiography at such a young age. I love everything about this book! It is well-written and a pleasure to read. There are little line drawings sprinkled throughout the story that made me smile with recognition. The front cover art
Beverly Zearley
I loved this biography of Sissy Spacek!! I didn't really know much about her before reading it, but am now a complete fan!! I love how down-to-earth she seems and would love to meet her some time. We are a lot alike too, especially in what we like to wear in summer...button down shirt, knee length shorts and Chacos!! I am known as "Chaco Mom"! I can't wait to watch some of the movies that she has been in. The memoir was really written well and I highly recommend it!!
Sissy Spacek was born on Christmas Day, 1949, in Texas. She was the third child of Edwin and Virginia Spacek and the only girl joining her older brothers, Ed and Robbie. Born in Tyler, a thirty-eight mile harried drive on a holiday from their small ranch house in Quitman, her parents named her Mary Elizabeth, but her brother's called her "Sissy" and it stuck.

The small town, in the piney woods of East Texas, would have a lasting influence on the Oscar winning actress. Her perspectives came from t
The word "decent" comes to mind when reading this book, in the sense that the writer and her world is one of strength of character, modesty, morality and the appreciation of the true essence of "success" being that of love of family, friends, nature, community and work. Ms. Spacek seems to have lived a charmed life, not without its sorrows, no one can escape that entirely, but she has lived (and is living) a life of which she can truly be proud. Her professional accomplishments are impressive as ...more
Sissy Spacek is a long time resident of the central Virginia community where I also reside. We know her as a good neighbor and a person who cares about her community. Almost everyone I know has run into Sissy at some time or other around town and they all have nice things to say about her. For these reasons I was eager to read her book. I loved the descriptions of her childhood in small town Texas and the way she traced her roots back to Moravia. She seems to be a very grounded, sensible person ...more
I have never seen Carrie, Badlands, Coal Miner's Daughter, nor many of the films she references in this book, but I have always admired Sissy Spacek for her integrity and forthrightness. I loved her in The Help, and in Missing (which, if you haven't seen it, please do.) I like this autobiography because it shows a loving family growing up in a small town and doing ordinary things. There is no recovering drug addict storyline, no sexual exploits, just a level head and a powerful love, for family, ...more

From a small town in Texas to Hollywood fame to her current life in between Virginia and the movies, this is the life of Sissy Spacek. She grew up as a tap dancing, baton twirling tomboy following her older brothers around in the days when children grew up more free range. She pursued music, convinced she had no acting talent because she never landed a role in a school play, but, as most of us know, she finally ended up as an A list actor for many years. And whatever else you say about Sissy
I really enjoyed this book because Sissy shares with us her life. Not just her acting career but all the things that add up to make Sissy Spacek the woman she is! I could relate to many of her stories of growing up in the late 50s and the 60s. I have always admired Sissy as an actress but it is gratifying to find an actress who is so grounded in her own ordinary extraordinary life.
This book was not entirely what I expected. I though Sissy would give us more insight into the films she was in; but she spends about 80% of the book describing her childhood experiences growing up in east Texas. They are interesting and wistful; but I wish she would have spent more time discussing her film career. I was a little disappointed.
County Line
Sissy Spacek Takes Quitman Roots to Hollywood Fame and an Ordinary Life in the Hills of Virginia.

"East Texas neighbors and fans will enjoy Sissy’s walk through memories of living in Quitman and the surrounding area. Always adventurous, she and her brothers and friends would ride their bikes or walk to find entertainment in places like the town dump and the county courthouse and never lacked for anything fun to do. She remembers longing for the first warm days of spring each year when she could
love her personality and reading about her Texas childhood was spectacular. I had no idea that she and her husband were so close to David Lynch! Her stories about Badlands, Coal Miner's Daughter and Carrie were very entertaining. Great summer read.
Conrad Wesselhoeft
Written with grace and filled with poignance, I was reminded early on of "To Kill a Mockingbird," only to learn that the Harper Lee classic has had a lasting impact on Sissy Spacek.

Spacek has been blessed with a great life--a profoundly nurturing childhood in small-town Texas; a great husband and family; and an ascendant, much-heralded film career.

Many memoirs rush through the early years--eager to get to the sexier chapters of success and fame. But Spacek lingers on her childhood in Quitman,
Randy Auxier
This review originally appeared in the Carbondale Nightlife, Sept. 27-Oct.3, 2012, p. 18.

The difference between an autobiography and a memoir is pretty vague. But I think an autobiography should try to give the causes of the life. A memoir presents just the life as it was lived. Sissy Spacek did the latter. This decision was well-considered, and perhaps even calculated. Her new book won’t fly off the shelves. It also isn’t made for close study. When you are finished, you will know many facts abo
As a reader, I feel a special connection to the author of a memoir, especially one written by a celebrity who is as down to earth as Sissy Spacek.

I still recall her first movies and how she seemingly inhabited her roles. Almost as if they were made for her.

In "My Extraordinary Ordinary Life," I discover why this is true. Reading about how she grew up in a small town in Texas in the 1950s, I could totally feel connected to her life. Even though I grew up in a small California town, the similariti
In My Extraordinary Ordinary Life Sissy Spacek tells the story of her life from her childhood growing up in Quitman, Texas to her current days spent on her beloved Virginia farm. I have always admired Spacek as an actress and I really enjoyed reading this memoir. Her descriptions of her childhood made me nostalgic for my own youth and I was very touched by some of the personal stories she recounts. I was captivated by the stories of her family and also of her time as a struggling musician and la ...more
Ann Haefele

I have always been fascinated with Sissy Spacek. Maybe because my first date with my husband was to see the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter".
Sissy always seemed so down to earth to me, and after reading this memoir I know that is a truth about her. She has worked incredibly hard to keep her life relatively normal, and out of gossip headlines. She has had the same husband since she was in her early twenties, and raised two daughters mostly on a farm in Virginia. She considers her biggest complimen
Mike Maginot
I recently listened to Sissy Spacek read Stephen King’s Carrie. Her narrative voice, so different from the whimpering title character she played in Brian DePalma’s film of the same name, is pleasing to the ear. She spoke with authority and got to play all the parts this time around.

When the opportunity came to listen to Spacek read aloud her recently published autobiography, I thought it would be a pleasant trip down memory lane. Spacek starred in several of my favorite films and her husband,
Listening to Sissy Spacek tell her story was like taking a walk with a good friend and hearing about her life. I loved the tales of her early childhood, the complete love and support she always received from her parents, and the journey her life became as she chased her dream of being a country artist and her surprise in becoming a movie actress. I always find it fascinating to hear about the people upcoming stars meet in their life and who end up becoming just as or even more famous than the pe ...more
This was a wonderful book. Sissy tells her story in a very warm, genuinely heartfelt manner. She seems to be a very well-grounded person, having been strongly influenced by the small east Texas town she grew up in and by the loving family she was surrounded by. While she and her set designer husband Jack Fisk stay active in the movie business, they and their two daughters live on a farm in Virginia. She has a real sense of who she is and who she's not. I'd say the book is about half and half rea ...more
This was quite a captivating biography. As always, we never suspect what drives famous people to evolve into their final design and that is what fascinates me about this type of book. This book was ridiculously inexpensive so I picked it up though I didn't particularly care about Sissy Spacek. I found her life to be riveting and her way of describing it, to be as artistic as she is in her chosen field of acting. There are some very wonderful tales of family life in this book. It was the typical ...more
This was a very enjoyable book! The first half dealt with her childhood growing up in small town Texas and this part almost felt like reading a novel. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird- joy, craziness and tragedy. The second half included more of her experiences as an actress but still focussed on her family, friends and pets and moving to a farm in rural Virginia. But throughout her life, her strength comes from family, the wonders of nature, and her ability to show gratitude. A gem.
Catherine Read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a lovely memoir by a very genuine down-to-earth person who is in wonderment of the life she has led. She has lived most of her life in Texas and Virginia and is a very family oriented person. It was a treat to share in her reminiscences. I discovered just this year that the singer/songrwiter Skyler Fisk is her daughter. I've heard her music on Pandora and she's very talented. Sissy started out wanting a career in music as well but ended up acting in movies. ...more
i chose this because i have always thought SS was the most beautiful actress in H'wood, and one of the most unusual. Her performance in 'Night, Mother is life-altering.

so this sweet little book about her life growing up in Texas and her journey to acting served to verify what i'd read in other places.

nice read.
I don't think I would have picked up this book if I hadn't heard Sissy Spacek on Fresh Air talking about it. I was not a particular fan of hers (didn't dislike her...was simply neutral). She sounded so down-to-earth and likable on the program that I found her interesting. This book is perfectly titled, as it focuses on the ordinariness of her life and how determined she was to make her children's lives extraordinarily ordinary. I found the descriptions of her childhood and her adult life outside ...more
Chantal Shaw
Very light and enjoyable read. Sissy Spacek is such a great actor
and a very down to earth person and it was a delight to read about
her and her family.
Sissy Spacek's autobiography - a down to earth woman's story of growing up in a small town in east Texas, her loving family, the ups and downs of a normal family. Taking off for NYC at 18 as a singer/songwriter, and sort of falling into acting. According to Sissy, she only had a few classes at the Actors' Studio, so she's a natural. Meeting her future husband and their happy, artistic lives together. Her writing is easy-going, flowing, but I found the first part of the book rather slow. This is ...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
Spacek's title says it all -- somehow this Texas-born Oscar-winning actress has stayed down-to-earth and grounded. Readers learn all about her tomboy, baton-twirling, small town childhood, the loss of her beloved brother Robbie, and her initial intentions to make it as a singer-songwriter. Still married to the art director she met early in her motion picture career, blessed with two daughters and loving relationships with parents and friends, Spacek has a way of telling about her life that is ve ...more
Such a funny and touching book from one of my favorites from Texas. Her childhood reminds me of mine. A must-read for any of her fans.
A wonderful look into the life and times of Sissy Spacek. From growing up with her family in a small town to the challenges of being a world reknowned actress, she takes you inside her life nd makes you laugh, cry, and anger at the many things she has gone through.

Nothing comes across in this book more than the feeling that she is just a regular down home girl, and she likes it that way!
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“I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do or any place I wanted to be more than home. Where I can walk around the yard, sweeping leaves off the slate paths to my heart's content. Where I can spend all day in my pajamas puttering around the house, or curled up in my favorite chair in the family room next to the big stone fireplace. The walls are papered deep red, hung with Madison's paintings and lined with our favorite books. The furniture is comfortable and inviting. Our house is made to be lived in; we use every inch of it and don't mind the signs of wear and tear. There's a deep dent in the floor next to the hearth ... It's part of the story of this house, where a family has left its mark, and where it continues to grow and evolve.” 3 likes
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