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My Extraordinary Ordinary Life

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  850 Ratings  ·  165 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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Louise Turner
Jul 03, 2012 Louise Turner rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 08, 2012 Delene H. Allen rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2014 Beverly Zearley rated it it was amazing
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!!
Jun 12, 2012 Sara rated it liked it
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
Feb 28, 2013 Florence rated it really liked it
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
Jun 18, 2012 Tamara rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2015 Spela rated it really liked it
I was listening to this audio book and it felt like hanging out with a chatty friend (with a lovely southern twang). Just an easy-going story of a life. Once I let go of expectations for drama, I truly enjoyed it. Ms. Spacek has such a positive take on life and she lives it. I now want to watch several of her movies that I haven't seen before.
Jul 24, 2012 Julz rated it did not like it
I started this book thinking Sissy was someone who came from simple roots in Texas to make it to the big time in Hollywood. Instead she had ample resources, spent years as a self-centered musician, had a family who paid her way to spend summers as a teenager in New York with her uncle, Rip Torn, and his wife, Geraldine Page, and sat at the knee of Page backstage on Broadway. Hardly humble beginnings as folksy as she may have dictated the stories to her co-writer. I was left feeling less admiring ...more
Sylvia Valevicius
Jun 24, 2015 Sylvia Valevicius rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A warm, engaging memoir/biography written with author Maryanne Vollers. A light, smooth read. Not syrupy as one might think in spite of many details of Spacek growing up with enviable loving parents and siblings within idyllic conditions in small-town living of East Texas. Except for a family tragedy that we wish would not happen to anyone, Sissy's life was charmed.

She counts her blessings. She reveals her talents as a musician, an award-winning actress, a lovely mother, wife, and all-round good
Jun 18, 2014 Karin rated it really liked it

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
Oct 13, 2013 Arlene rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
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.
May 08, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
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
Aug 07, 2014 County Line rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2012 Anita rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2014 Conrad Wesselhoeft rated it it was amazing
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,
Jul 21, 2012 Victoria rated it it was ok
I love Sissy Spacek, but I thought this book was a bit tedious.
Randy Auxier
Sep 27, 2012 Randy Auxier rated it liked it
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
Jul 05, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
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
Ann Haefele
Jul 17, 2012 Ann Haefele rated it liked it

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
Sep 21, 2013 Mike Maginot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Aug 08, 2013 Staci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2012 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, showbiz
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
Patsy Tindell
Feb 15, 2016 Patsy Tindell rated it really liked it
Sissy Spacek tells the story of her growing up years in Quitman, Texas. Her father was a county ag agent and her mother taught Sunday School at the Methodist church. She continues to tell the story of the beginnings of her carreer in the movies. She also tells about her own family, her husband and daughters.
Jul 03, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2014 Laurie rated it really liked it
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.
Hope N
Mar 15, 2016 Hope N rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I'm going to preface this review by saying that I generally don't read memoir because I find the genre boring and that I got this book as a gift, so people who love memoir should add extra enthusiasm points for this book. That said, this was an enjoyable read. Sissy Spacek has a fascinating life and this book is an interesting window into growing up in small town Texas in the 1950s and Hollywood a couple decades later. She talks about the different films she's worked on and tells behind-the-scen ...more
Catherine Read
Oct 08, 2012 Catherine Read rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2015 Marsmannix rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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.
Jan 20, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2016 Siri rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about the making of Carrie and Coal Miner's Daughter, two of my favorite films. And enjoyed reading about her farm and life outside Charlottesville, nearby. Otherwise the book was pretty, well, ordinary.
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