Crystal's Reviews > All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir

All That Is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd
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's review
May 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from May 17 to 30, 2011

there was a duality to this book for me, implied in the title itself. All that is bitter and sweet--and this book was both for me. Not just in the stories Judd related about the horrific situations and conditions around the world, but also in the grueling personal stories she told, versus the hope she felt after recovery, and the difference organizations like the ones she works with are doing. PSI is not an organization with which I'm familiar; it sounds like they do a good job being effective and helping some of the neediest people in the world. and I applaud Judd's drive to help those people herself, with her involvement, attention, political action, financial contributions, etc. I found the insider perspective on the Hollywood life/ activist lifestyle interesting. Her religious beliefs--uber feminist universalist unitarian?--were a bit odd for me, but it's her life, and so I didn't think on it too much. It was odd that I could relate to her thought process and personality in so many ways, and yet I'm not sure I would want to be friends with her personally...she seems like she'd be uncomfortable to know. then again, so do many of her famous friends, people like Bono. I was pleasantly surprised to hear about Salma Hayek. I didn't know about her work at all, and I was left with the impression she's a comfortable, fun person to be around. But uncomfortable people are important, because they make everyone else face the darkness around them and DO SOMETHING about it, instead of just blindly accepting it or ignoring it. I guess I have more sympathy for those around me listening to my rants about politics, the environment, etc.
Related to that, my only sadness was that she didn't address any of the issues she and have common interests in--no mention of mountaintop removal mining and the tragic loss of home and livelihood for the Applalachian people affected by it. She only mentioned her work with Defenders of Wildlife in passing, and I would have liked to have heard more about it. Considering the passionate level of attachment and sensitivity to animals that she has, I am surprised she didn't touch on it at all.
I am not at all sorry I read this, but I don't want to read it again any time soon. I also do not want to go through rehab. it sounds very uncomfortable, no matter how productive. She sets a great example for those who need the help, though, and shows how effective it really can be. So, good for Ashley Judd. Keep it up!

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