Marnie'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
Dec 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: biography-autobiography

Each of us is the sum total of our experiences, and this book shares some of the various life events of one Ashley Judd. I was not a fan of hers before I read the book. I only read the book because I am a devourer of autobiographies by just about anyone. I loved this book and became a fan as a result. I will agree with others who said the book is at times poorly stitched together. I agree she is a bit sensitive and dramatic at times for my own personal sensibilities. But how can any of us know what it's like to walk in her shoes until and unless we head over to these grossly impoverished places and do the hard work she is doing on a regular basis? I sincerely doubt I have her resilience, tenacity or energy, and for all that she has done and will still accomplish on behalf of millions who have no opportunity to advocate for themselves, I greatly admire this woman. Warts and all.

Books can inspire us to be better people, no matter how imperfectly written or put together, and this is one of those books. I am well traveled and well educated, and am not the least bit sheltered or naive. But this book opened my eyes fully to a plight of far too many in our global population that heretofore I've been unable or unwilling to truly see in all its wretchedness and expanse. This book has made it impossible for me to ever look away or ignore this scourge of inhumanity ever again. I give this book 5 stars not because it's a study on perfectly executed writing, but because it grabbed me by the throat and forced me to take a long hard look at something I would rather never have seen if it were left to my choosing.

And oh by the way, this woman also chose to go back to Harvard, of her own volition, to get a Master's Degree in public administration to better help those who are in no position to help themselves. Criticize her "histrionics and tears" all you want, I'm not capable of this accomplishment in my wildest fantasies. It's true that it's not fair that she can request an audience with practically any world leader and get it just because she's a Hollywood starlet, but at least she's using her access for phenomenal good. If the rest of us are doing nothing more for the betterment of the world than sitting inside our comfortable homes writing thoughtful and condemning book reviews, then shame on us. Talk about "not fair".

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