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In Pieces

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10 hours, 41 minutes

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen.

With raw honesty and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships--including her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

404 pages, Audiobook

First published September 18, 2018

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About the author

Sally Field

14 books527 followers
Sally Field is an American actress and director. Her acting career began in 1965, when she landed the role of Frances Elizabeth 'Gidget' Lawrence in Gidget. Since then she has appeared and directed TV movies and miniseries. She won the Oscar for Best Actress for both Norma Rae in 1979 and Places in the Heart in 1984. Field also won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Brothers & Sisters in 2006.

Librarians note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,869 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,054 reviews30k followers
November 27, 2018
5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ This was unexpected. I thought I “knew” Sally Field from her movies, but it turns out she has a far-reaching, honest story to tell, and I took my time with it- some parts difficult, but all of it memorable.

Sally Field…My first introduction being either Steel Magnolias or Forrest Gump? I had heard of Gidget, the happy-go-lucky, girl-next-door, cute, charming, all smiles.

Sally Field has a story to tell. It took her seven years to write it and a lifetime to live and process it. She could have kept this all to herself; we certainly never would have known. Her family hardly knew.

Some have asked me if In Pieces is a “star book,” and I would say no. It is not salacious or gossipy, most definitely not braggy or boastful. It just is. She just is. And there most definitely are chronicles of the tv shows and movies as she is launched into stardom because those are part of her story, too. But with that, there’s always a humbleness, a demureness, where she never feels quite settled in her own skin, which you will come to understand as you learn her story; or at least, I did.

I first caught hold of Sally’s story when she wrote of her great grandmother and grandmother. The time periods, their stoicism and other personality traits, their inordinate strength; it all connected with me strongly because of the women in my own family. It had me revisiting my thoughts on another book I read and inter-generational experiences, good and bad, and how we pass them down to our daughters.

Sally Field writes with tenderness and complexity of most everyone she loved in her life, and that’s another aspect that connected to me deeply. It would be easy to write off the exboyfriend who was controlling, but a charmer, and make him out to be the monster that was most of the time, but instead she describes why she stayed, his strengths and what connected her to him (not naming any names here; that’s part of the fun of the book!). The same with her childhood love who became her first husband and the father of two of her children. Everyone would love Steve by the way she first describes him, but he is not without flaws, and neither is she.

That ultimately leads me to another aspect I loved. Sally’s honesty and ownership over her life. She doesn’t blame others or feel sorry for herself at any time. She recognizes where she may have played a role, and even when I didn’t agree and felt she was too hard on herself (definitely much too hard on herself!), that modesty she possesses only adds to her authenticity.

I also enjoyed reading about her relationship with her mother- her devotion and the complications in their dynamics. It brought me to tears several times and made me grateful for the ease of my relationship with my mother. Her children are described with the most tenderness, three beautiful boys, that she loves with a ferocity and, yes, she has regrets, but it’s all honest, genuine, authentic.

In Pieces is hands-down one of the best memoirs I’ve read, and this is one of my preferred genres, so I’ve read a few. I loved that my mind was changed about Sally in a way; well, maybe not changed…opened-up, and it was all about something I harp on- complexity of character. None of us are all good, or all bad, and Sally chose to let us see all the parts, all her pieces, her whole self. She most definitely didn’t have to, it was her story to tell, but she bravely and boldly did.

Thank you to the lovely folks at Grand Central for the invitation to read In Pieces. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,229 reviews2,934 followers
January 25, 2019
Sally Field's memoir has been out for awhile now and I just assumed all the rave reviews were because she's a likable person. (Don't worry, I will restrain myself from dropping her famous Oscar quote in this review.) But honestly the main reason people are giving it high marks is because it is so raw and honest. This isn't some fluffy autobiography churned out by a ghostwriter with the sole purpose of raking in the money by selling a ton of copies. It's actually quite powerful and moving and I rank it among the best celeb memoirs, or just memoirs in general I have ever read.

You really get the feeling as you are reading that Sally wrote this book for herself and I mean that in a good way. I never once thought anything she talked about was brought up as a juicy piece of gossip intended to get people talking about her book. Instead this book reads as woman in her early seventies trying to address things in her life that she has kept hidden not just from others but herself, and attempting to finally make sense of everything.

This isn't the type of book that in order to get something out of it you have had to have gone through the same experiences as Sally. My life is very different from hers but yet I can still identify with a lot of her feelings. In particular I was really drawn to the parts of the book in which she talked about having to put on this happy face and pretend everything was okay when in reality it wasn't and she was uncomfortable. I also completely understood that feeling of no matter what your age, at times you still feel like a little girl or boy.

Some people might not consider this a complete memoir because there are large parts of her career that aren't discussed and her second marriage is kinda glossed over. However, after reading I really feel like I know Sally Field and understand her which to me is more important than learning about what it was like to work on certain movies or shows.

I walked away from this book with real respect for Sally Field. It's not hard to figure out why she is such an amazing actress. One, even when she had a successful tv show, she still had a desire to learn more about her craft. And two, it's obvious that she is able to draw from her life experiences and find something that helps her find a connection to the character she is portraying.

I feel grateful that she shared so much of herself and I don't hesitate to recommend this book.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,850 reviews34.9k followers
November 20, 2018
I grew up watching Sally field along with many other people in my age group. I liked her the same way many others did.

While visiting my mom in Arizona,
she and her neighbor were both talking about Sally.
I was pretty surprised to hear them call her a “cold fish”.
Sally Field, was my
Mother’s neighbor in their small private golf
community at that time.
I had met Sally once - years prior when I was a young teen, in Oakland, California. She was “Giget”, to me then: a cute perky ‘star’. It was exciting to meet her.

‘Before’ reading this book - I had already heard that, “Sally tells all”....
“Sally tells the truth about her haunting childhood”....
and that.....
“The two-time Academy award winner- must ‘really’ be a great actress... because who knew she was so unhappy”....
“It must have taken courage for her to write her book”.

Many readers were totally captivated and hoped that her memoir might help other people.
Having read her memoir myself now, I
have mixed feelings....
Much was disjointed. and needed serious editing.

I wasn’t surprised to read the bleak side of
“Giget goes to Hawaii”, or “The Flying Nun”....
There was sadness in her life for sure.
I did get what Sally Field was up against in her early years as an actress ... living mostly in a male dominated world. It couldn’t have been easy for a young female - unsure of herself - to quickly adapt to her pretend world so different from her own.
She fantasize about Giget’s happy family. Sally came from a dysfunctional home environment. Giget’s life was happier...she had a nicer on-screen father...and a much better teenage bedroom that her real one at home.
Sally kept an armor shadow over her secrets for years.... which didn’t help her feel worthy.
Her stage voice for many years was stronger than her own.
Without a script to follow... Sally didn’t know what was best for ‘herself’ to follow.
She lived through sexual abuse, an abortion, failed marriages,
and motherhood with challenges.

The highlighted moments the world saw were squelched by comparison - from what Sally had to say about her personal life.

Forest Gump wasn’t once mention. Guess she figured that was a Tom Hanks film.

This quote by Sally - taking us inside her head - honest thoughts about herself - is an example of the tone this memoir....
“Why is it easier for me to write about times in my life that felt humiliating or shameful? Is it because those are the things that haunt me?
Do I hold on to those dark times as a badge of honor, are they my identity? The moments of triumph stay with me but speak so softly that they are hard to hear — and even harder to talk about”.

At times... I, too, was captivated like other readers, other times I was bored.
There were details I just wasn’t interested in.....
but heck, why shouldn’t Sally have written a book? Many stars have before her, with less to say - who haven’t won any Oscars, let alone two.

I’m sorry Sally experienced so much suffering in her life. I hope that in the seven years it took her to write this book ...it was healing. Most readers are responding positively...
May that, too, be supportive to her.

The book was too long though...
parts much too tedious to read...
....too long for a book without an ounce of humor.

Profile Image for Cheri.
1,686 reviews2,241 followers
November 16, 2018
”I wait for my mother to haunt me as she promised she would; long to wake in the night with the familiar sight of her sitting at the end of my bed, to talk to her one more time, to feel that all the pieces have been put into place, the puzzle is solved, and I can rest.”

Margaret Morlan, Sally Field’s mother, was discovered by a talent scout sitting in the audience at a Pasadena Playhouse, and she almost instantly had an acting career. She was 23 when her career began, and was modestly successful, she was probably best known for her starring roles in the 1951 sci-fi movie ”The Man From Planet X,” and 1952’s ”Captive Women” When Sally Field began to act in small school plays, her mother was her champion. And while this memoir includes stories of her experiences as an actress, like anyone else her life is more complex than that.

”My memories begin here, with the book, memorizing words, and the comforting smell of noodle soup… all connected to this world of women, and to the house where my grandmother lived as long as I knew her.”

Her grandmother’s house is where Field and her mother and her older brother lived after her mother left her marriage to her first husband, it was also where her mother had lived when she was pregnant with her first child while her husband was a soldier off fighting the war. Filled with generations of women, going back to Field’s great-grandmother, and great-aunt Gladys.

”All of them with wounds that wouldn’t heal because no one acknowledged they were bleeding, and yet each of them needing the other to be near. And that—I realize—is how this story fits into my life. These generations of women, weaving a pattern into a lifelong garment, unconsciously handed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter to me.”

Sally Field’s life off-stage, off-screen was nowhere near as simplistic as Gidget, or as fancifully silly as The Flying Nun. When her mother remarried, to Jock Mahoney, a stuntman, it wasn’t long before young Sally became the object of her stepfather’s sexual advances.

Acting became her way to channel all those feelings into something else, to transform them into something moving, lovely, something relatable on stage or on screen, and a way to safely separate herself from her own life and step into another’s shoes. Playing these characters gave her a stable, safe place to share herself with others. And with this memoir she transformed all of these feelings into something incredibly personal and vulnerable, putting her story into words for once, sharing her story which she kept hidden away for years, in part even from herself.

”When she found her voice, I heard mine. By standing in Norma’s shoes, I felt my own feet. If I could play her, I could be me.”

There are things she learns along the way, plenty of charming stories, a bit about her own relationships through the years, some lovely photographs, snippets of celebrity dating stories. But this isn’t a gossipy tell-all about other celebrities. This is, in part, an ode to her mother, who died seven years ago on Field’s 65th birthday, and also a note of gratitude for the therapy that playing those many complex character roles provided. It also offers introspective thought on the woman she is, the woman she was, and how her career has given her the unique opportunity to explore the woman who she wanted to become.

This memoir was seven long years in the making, written by Sally Field, after her mother’s death. I can’t imagine trusting anyone else with such a personal story… She writes beautifully, and honestly.

Her memoir does contain some Hollywood “tales,” in part as she pours through her old journals, and newspaper clippings from the past. Just thinking of the emotional energy it would take to relive some of those moments, to re-examine your feelings from all those years ago, I can see why it would take seven years to process.

Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,298 reviews4,828 followers
September 4, 2021

Sally Field

Sally Field, born in 1946, is well known for her extraordinary body of work in television and movies - including two Academy Awards for the films 'Norma Rae' and 'Places in the Heart.' Sally had to struggle to be taken seriously as an actress, however, because her early television roles as 'Gidget' - a surfing, boy-crazy teenager and 'The Flying Nun' - a petite novice who's airborne by her cornette, labeled her as a Hollywood lightweight.

Thus young Sally wasn't offered the dramatic roles she craved until she fought for them.

In this memoir Sally writes about learning her craft, demonstrating her talent, and finally getting good roles, but that's only part of the actress's compelling narrative. Sally also talks about her personal life, and her story is heartwarming and uplifting.....but also sad and shocking. I was surprised to learn that Sally - who has such a spunky, cheerful public persona - was used and abused by several men in her life.....starting when she was a child.

Sally comes from a long line of capable women, and was largely raised by her devoted grandmother and loving mother.

Sally Field's beautiful mother Margaret Morlan Field

Sally's mom, who she calls 'Baa', was born Margaret Morlan. Margaret was a beautiful woman who - discovered at the age of 23 - became a minor Hollywood actress best known for starring in the movies 'The Man From Planet X' and 'Captive Women.'

Baa always encouraged her daughter's aspirations to be an actress, and told Sally she was 'magical' in a middle school production of 'Romeo and Juliet.'

Unfortunately, Baa was also a product of her times, and unable to stand up to assertive men. Margaret divorced her first husband when Sally was small and allowed her second husband, Jock O'Mahoney (Jocko Mahoney) - a handsome, athletic stuntman and actor - to bully and humiliate Sally's older brother Ricky and to force both children to engage in athletic activities above their weight class.

Margaret Field and Jocko Mahoney

Jocko Mahoney

Jocko Mahoney with young Ricky Field and Sally Field

Four-year-old Sally was simultaneously thrilled and frightened by Jocko, and didn't understand it was wrong when he put his face and hands under her nightgown.

The abuse escalated when Sally was twelve, and Jocko started putting his penis between her legs (no penetration). As Sally matured, Jocko started to act like a jealous boyfriend, spying on her and interfering in her friendships with boys. In the book, Sally chastizes her (now deceased) mother, writing: "I adored you all my life.....and during those important years you abandoned me."

Jocko Mahoney with Margaret, Sally, and Ricky

In later years, Sally was attacked by a boy she was dating named Jimmy, and manipulated onto the casting couch by producer Bob Rafelson when she auditioned for a part in the film 'Stay Hungry.'

Bob Rafelson

Afterwards, starting in the late 1970s, Sally had a five-year, soul-sucking relationship with the actor Burt Reynolds, who (at least with Sally) was a needy, selfish, egotistical man. Burt was nastily dismissive of Sally's talent and career, and didn't want her to talk about her work or her children.

Burt Reynolds

Sally Field and Burt Reynolds

Before all that happened, though, Sally had to witness Margaret and Jocko's marriage going downhill. Baa started to drink heavily, and Sally notes: "Vodka and swallowed emotions had thickened her body and bloated her face. Maybe she didn't want to be beautiful anymore and closed up shop [because of] something horrific in the house." In any case, Jocko left Margaret for another woman in 1968.

The stuntman/actor always took an interest in Sally's career, however, encouraging her to take early television parts she disliked such as 'The Flying Nun' and 'The Girl With Something Extra.' Jocko was especially persuasive if there was something in it for him....like a job or an IOU from a producer.

While she was making 'The Flying Nun' Sally married her childhood sweetheart Steve Craig and - in a few short years - had her first two sons Peter and Eli.

Sally Field and Steve Craig

Sally Field and Steve Craig

Sally, Steve and their baby Peter

Sally and baby Peter

Sally also began to attend 'The Actor's Studio', where many great talents honed their craft. There Sally's spirits soared when - after one of her scenes - the renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg said: "You were quite brilliant."

Lee Strasberg, a Polish-American actor, director, and theatre practitioner who was involved in the creation of Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.

Having gained experience and confidence from early film roles and acting classes, Sally was ready to tackle more challenging work. She got the role of 'Sybil' - a woman with multiple personalities - in the acclaimed 1976 television movie of the same name, and went on to make many more excellent films including: 'Norma Rae', 'Absence of Malice', 'Places in the Heart', 'Murphy's Romance', 'Steel Magnolias', 'Mrs. Doubtfire', 'Forrest Gump', 'Lincoln', and many others.

Sally also worked in primetime television, with continuing roles in 'ER' and 'Brothers and Sisters' and guest spots on other programs. Sally even did some stage work, recently appearing in 'The Glass Menagerie' and 'All My Sons.' Very busy gal!

Sally discusses some of her jobs in detail, with stories about auditions, directors, producers, cast, crew, rehearsals, filming, dailies, post-production, and so on. The book is by no means a tell-all, but we do hear about an actor with poor oral hygiene; an actress who made sure her face was always front and center; and some lovely professionals who treated Sally like a daughter during her early years.

Sally found it impossible to sustain a 'forever relationship', and over the years she divorced Steve, had several boyfriends, and married and divorced Alan Greisman - with whom she had a third son named Samuel.

Sally Field and her second husband, Alan Greisman

Through it all Sally continued acting, often relying on Baa to help with the kids. This sometimes resulted in tension between Sally and her mother, since Sally resented Baa's close ties to the boys. (This is rather ironic, since Sally constantly asked her mom for help.)

Perhaps as a result of the sexual abuse and job angst she experienced, Sally was a troubled woman. She admits to having an eating disorder during 'The Flying Nun', and says "I was feeling alone and hiding in a closet of food." The actress didn't purge but says "I might have liked regurgitating the self loathing I shoved into my body." To lose the extra weight, Sally went on starvation diets, got massage therapy, and took amphetamines.

Sally also talks about feeling extreme anger, sometimes escalating to red hot rage, towards Jocko.....and sometimes towards Steve and Baa. She also notes that, while married to Alan Greisman,"I became a stationary lifeless lump who couldn't find comfort." In fact Sally often felt anxious, and sought therapy.

On the upside, Sally "loved every minute" at 'The Actor's Studio', where she did improvisations and intense acting exercises.....and learned about sense memory and emotional memory. Sally especially valued the guidance she received from Lee Strasberg, who "spurred her on."

Interspersed through the narrative are anecdotes about Sally's biological father Richard - who had shared custody when she was a child.....and watched sports when she visited 🏈.

Sally Field's biological father, Richard Field

Sally also talks about her precious sons Peter, Eli, and Sam, whom she loves dearly 💖; her smart, accomplished brother Ricky - who's a physicist 👍; and her capable half-sister Princess O'Mahoney - who's an assistant director and production manager 😃.

Sally Field and her son Peter

Sally Field and her son Eli

Sally Field and her son Sam

Sally Field and her brother, the physicist Rick Field

Sally Field's half-sister Princess O'Mahoney

Sally finishes the book with a tribute to Baa, whom she "loved dearly and misses every day." 😥💕💙

Sally Field's mother Baa

This book, which Sally composed without a ghost writer, is raw, honest, and inspirational. Sally's life was a success despite her dysfunctional childhood and other problems, and I admire the actress's tenacity and talent. I do feel the author over-dramatizes some of her 'memories', but this is a minor quibble. I'd recommend the book to all readers who enjoy celebrity memoirs.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Lisa.
605 reviews229 followers
September 30, 2018
An astounding revelation of a life in pieces by an Academy Award winning American icon.

Academy Award winning actress Sally Field, tells her story about a challenging and lonely childhood, the career that helped her find her voice, and her journey as an actress, daughter and a mother. She has captivated the nation for more than five decades beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From her early roles as Gidget, and The Flying Nun to the complexity of Sybil, Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has impressed audiences and captured our heart. Field takes us behind the scenes of not only her career but in her complicated relationships with both family and friends.

A brutally honest and astounding story of one of my favorite actresses. Deeply personal, I felt as though by listening to this book I might be invading her life, but instead she has invited me in and ask me to curl up on her couch and listen to her story. It’s not a story I wanted to hear and it was difficult to listen to. While it brought me to tears, I know it was a story she needed to tell. A story she has needed to tell for a long time. I was shocked by her feelings of being broken and unlovable and the reasons behind it. She needed to tell this story as much as we need to hear it.

As Sally Field said in her memorable 1985 Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Actress in Places in the Heart, “...I cannot deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me.” Yes, Sally we do really really like you!

Publisher Hachette Audio
Published September 18, 2018
Narrator Sally Field
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

Profile Image for JanB .
1,113 reviews2,157 followers
December 18, 2019
Sally Field is a favorite actress of mine, and we now know her persona as happy and bubbly was a façade to cover deep pain. The pain she tapped to portray such characters as Sybil, Norma Rae, and Mary Todd Lincoln. All those pieces, as painful as they were, came together to form Sally Field, the serious, accomplished actress we all know today.

I appreciated her sharing her life with her fans, as well as the honesty and openness with which she shared the most painful parts of her past. She narrates the audio and hearing the story in her own voice was very powerful. This is not a Hollywood tell-all, although there is a little of that. But it’s an important story that needed to be told, and a cautionary tale of how deeply a troubled childhood can affect self-esteem and color every subsequent relationship.

I hope by writing this book she has gained a bit of peace and come to terms with her past. Mostly I hope she knows that we, her fans, “really do like her”.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,164 reviews881 followers
November 7, 2019
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 needed 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.
Profile Image for Mel.
116 reviews90 followers
September 26, 2018
Anytime an author writes their story I want to hear them tell it to me if it's an option. Void of gestures, eye movements, and other body language components, it's the voice that often gives the color of the story that you don't see in black and white text or hear from a narrator interpreting another's story. A trained actress on the level of Field could probably convince us the sky is really falling, but Voice and all of its inflections can mutiny when speaking from the place of a wounded child.

Aldous Huxley once said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Just try to ignore you have a splinter festering deep in your skin. Listening to Field work out those facts was for me listening to a little girl finally release misplaced guilt and accept the respect and accolades she has earned...and above all, like herself. On a bigger scope, it's the story of so many of us that learned to put on a smile and bear some weight of unknown origin that fed our heads with feelings and doubts that caused us to constantly condemn our every action and word.

With the positives of being able to listen to someone tell their story are the forces that keep balance in this crazy, beautiful, harsh, confusing world. Field feels alone on this stage, as bare as the woman that looks out at you from the cover of the book. Her life is the background slowly rolling by behind her like stage dressing, and she stands stripped of any props bravely facing the revealing lights, so bright they don't even afford her shadow as a support. She talks of being sexually abused by her father, an alcoholic mother incapable of connecting to her daughter, and the self-blame so often associated with sexual abuse when a young teen's body, groomed and perpetrated for so many young years, eventually betrays itself and responds in even the smallest way, a goosebump, a momentary flush, or some other damning betrayal. [*Note: Field doesn't belabor the point and this is not a book about sexual abuse.] She feels responsible for her failed relationships, and is constantly trying to twist and turn herself to fit into the shortcomings of others. But it is a book that reinforces physics if you will, that actions have repercussions and consequences; a child of Hollywood confused by TV mommies and daddies; walking through life like a trapdoor will fall out from under you with your next step; being the Gidge when at home you are seen as Lolita. It is also a book about mothers and daughters, the balancing so much love when life just happens and you look at that person and still love them but just want to punch them! Happily, it is a bit a book of redemption.

These are the negatives: it's hard not to reach out and hug this little girl or tell this teen that it's not her fault her mother is an alcoholic; or that if everything Hollywood disappeared in a second she would still be important and beautiful and talented. "Sally! You did no less than what any of us struggle to do every day...our very best without a manual!" She is hard on herself about how she raised her children--or wasn't there to raise her children. She is also nearly blunted when she talks about the sexual harassment and abuse, accepting it as part of the life, or routine treatment of *B rated* actresses and daughters (her sister was named *Princess* for hell sakes!).

This could easily be a sad story of regret, instead, it is a bold testimony to the hard-earned strength Sally Field found, the courage to just persist and to fight through the shame for transparency and redemption where possible. Things don't wrap into a beautiful bow with the theme from Gidget playing in the background, this isn't the movies after all, but Field reassured me that none of us are free from challenges life throws at us. If we are lucky we can get through it with grace and in one piece. It is also very entertaining, as you'd expect from a Hollywood life or a woman that achieves so much. Its the yin/yang...laugh/cry kind of read that you relate to, unless you are one of the rare few that actually had the glittery Gidget life we thought Sally Field surely had.

I wouldn't classify myself as a Fan or Un-Fan of Field. I was young and indifferent, too young for Gidget, I watched TheMonkees instead of The Flying Nun, never saw Smokey and The Bandit, but I saw her brilliance in Norma Rae, Steel Magnolias, Forrest Gump, Lincoln, and the powerful remake of Sybil.
[An aside: I worked with a patient diagnosed with Dissociative identity disorders, DID also known as multiple personality disorders MPD, and Field had me convinced she wasn't acting.]
Perhaps her bravest role yet has been in looking back and sharing a victorious life that will further all of us coming out from our hiding places and pursuing the fight. In all walks of life we struggle for grace and respect and never has it been so ubiquitous. I hope the Truth sets her free and thank her for a beautiful book.

Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,651 reviews1,485 followers
April 11, 2019
I sat glued as I approached the end of this book; I did not want to put it down. It completely absorbed me. This is not your typical actress memoir. It has a message. It speaks of communication and the absence of communication within a family. It speaks of the bond between mother and daughter. Even if you do not have a strong bond between your own mother or daughter, I recommend reading this.

We all know of the famed American actress Sally Field, the recipient of two Academy awards, two Golden Globe awards, three Emmys and many, many other awards too. We have all seen her on the screen. Many of us have a favorite, be it Gidget, The Flying Nun, The Girl with Something Extra or Norma Rae, Sybil, Forest Gump, Steel Magnolias, Not Without My Daughter or another of the many films she has acted in.

The book focuses upon her path toward becoming the actress she sought to be, rather than detailing a comprehensive list of all her work. It is not a book that drops names. When she speaks of those who have guided her in her acting career, she speaks of them to explain what they have taught her or how they have shaped her. Her work with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio is one example. The book is an autobiography that explains how she has come to be the person she is and the actor she has become. The two are intertwined, one and the same.

The book is equally much about her as an actor as about her as a daughter and mother and wife. It is about personal family relationships. We come to know all in her family. She is introspective. She is honest. She speaks from her heart. She analyzes her own strengths and weaknesses. Her relationship with her mother is the central theme of the book.

Sally Field can also write. She expresses herself fluidly. She expresses herself in a heartfelt manner. She is not selling herself; she has instead a message to deliver. She has figured out what she wants to say, and she says it. She says it well. She makes you care.

Sally, of course, reads here her own audiobook. She is a delight to listen to. You feel the truth and honesty of her words. Her total lack of pretention is marvelous. You would never guess that this woman is now in her seventies. The narration I have given five stars.

I was not expecting to come to feel as close to Sally as I have. She reveals the most intimate aspects of her personal life and she has done this with remarkable honesty. She is neither judgmental nor bitter. Few with an acting career retain such humility. I respect her, admire her and like her.
Profile Image for Martie Nees Record.
659 reviews129 followers
October 14, 2018
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Pub. Date: September 18, 2018

If booksellers need to call this autobiography a memoir for sales purposes then it should be labeled a literary memoir. The first thing the reader needs to know is that this is not a kiss-and-tell book. If that is what you are looking for, search somewhere else. I’m sure there are a few promiscuous celebs out there with juicy memoirs currently on the bestseller list. This life story “isn’t about Hollywood or any of that,” Field said in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly. “It is about my mother and me, my trying to find [out] more about that. And the craft I found at the age of 12.” The intelligent actress-turned-author, Sally Field took seven years to write her soul-searching, often critical self-examination without a ghost writer. It is a heartbreaking read about a little girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather from ages four to fourteen and how that affected every feeling and decision she made in adulthood. The book is divided into three sections. Each begins with quotes of wisdom by authors such as Emily Dickson, Mary Oliver, and others. Some readers might find this tiresome. This reviewer personally enjoyed them.

Fields begins her quest for self-discovery by reading her journals that she has kept her entire life. She pours over old photos and goes into the far corners of her mind to find memories she worked a lifetime to forget. The first half of the book centers on her financially strained family living in a small California cottage. Their home consists of baby Sally, her toddler brother (both from a marriage that dissolved in divorce) and four no-frills hard-working women: her great-grandmother, great-aunt, grandmother and mother, all of whom were in pain but maintained a culture of household silence. It is here she learned not to talk out loud of hurt or angry feelings. Out of this very maternal household, she had the most fraught relationship with her mother. Fields proves skilled at painting vignettes of her childhood that convey how complicated the dynamic between them could be.

In the style of a memoir, she does talk about some celebrities such as her one-time boyfriend Burt Reynolds and even The Monkees. But one gets the distinct impression while reading that her goal in sharing these stories is to help us understand how she approached intimacy, not simply to name drop. Why didn’t she explain to Davy Jones that his sexual innuendos made her uncomfortable? Why did she always need to put Reynolds’ needs above her own? Including her own career and sometimes even before her own children? Years later, in therapy, she learned that she didn’t possess any coping skills when stressed or frightened, nor did she know how to express her discomfort. Fields writes that she spent most of her childhood “going into a cloud of fog, hidden in a mental whiteout…and floating through the fog was the familiar feeling of fear.” When making the film “Sybil” about a woman with multiple personalities she was aware that she was using her childhood fog to help her nail the scenes, but “never consciously saw how connected [she] was to Sybil, never saw [her]self as having used similar psychological survival techniques.” One day her therapist asked her in a casual tone if she could name all the different parts of herself. “Parts, fragments…or personalities” she replied “I call them my pieces.” And to her surprise, she immediately, without hesitation, named all the parts of who she is.”

Because of this, Fields candidly lets the reader know some of her memories are shattered and she is not always sure she is remembering everything correctly. The three-time Oscar-winning actress is a private person and throughout the years of working on this book she was never sure she would actually take her haunting finished product to a publisher. The reader will be glad that she did.

Find all my book reviews at:
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Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
1,926 reviews205 followers
July 16, 2019
In Pieces

I read somewhere in GRs that a reader had established a rule for themselves that they would never “review” memoirs as it was the sharing of a person’s memories of their life. That hit me as a true and correct way to operate, so I’m going to adopt that mode of response to memoirs. In Pieces is just that. . . by that darling person, Sally Field.

I’ve loved her since I could recognize her, and I loved the Flying Nun, and Gidget. As years went by, I looked for her, like you look for a favorite cousin or aunt or extended family member whose relationship to you is totally so complicated that no one can identify it other than the every few year sightings family gatherings allow. As I grew into my woman-self I noted that sad, tentative vulnerability just behind her eyes and thought that was proof of what a great actress she was – surely it was for the photo op she put that look on. . . . as years moved along and the look remained, I began to wonder. It was always there, like a trapped animal.

So to Sally I say: I hope by the writing of this book and the stating of the outrage, and the confusion at parental failures that some freedom was gained. The forgiveness you arrived at is impressive and inspiring to those of us who have a difficult time letting go. I don’t want to reveal myself as a crazy fan, but I wept for you, Sally, reading this. And the night you said “They Love Me!!” as those of us gathered round the TV watched, you should know we shouted yes, and cried along with you – we DO love you!. Happy days to you for all the rest of time and whatever’s next! Your work is fabulous, and thank you for sharing this book with us - a greedy group to which you didn’t owe one iota – your fans.
Profile Image for Valerity (Val).
929 reviews2,734 followers
December 30, 2018
In Pieces           

I found this to be a very engaging and poignant memoir by one of my favorite actresses. I thought it was beautifully and intelligently expressed and really enjoyed listening to her reading of the audiobook. This was the 2nd night in a row I’d be staying up to listen to another book, and I’m sure I nodded off in a couple of places being so tired. So I plan to listen to it again to find any parts I may have missed.

I’ve always been aware that she is brave, but I’m really blown away by her ability to share the painful things she went through. Many of us can relate to growing up in a dysfunctional family and having self-esteem issues that she shares. Obviously, it goes beyond that for her, and she strives to rise above. She talked about her closely intertwined relationship with her mother, who often watched her children while she was working. Sally had even asked her mother to haunt her when she was dying. I liked getting her side of things on the relationship between her and Burt Reynolds (who passed away this year) having read a couple of his books and one by his first wife Judy Carne. I think anyone who likes Sally would really enjoy this book, an excellent biography.

On my BookZone blog:

Profile Image for Terrie (mostly "in" now) Robinson.
356 reviews517 followers
November 21, 2020
"In Pieces" by Sally Field was mesmerizing read!

This is not a memoir from Sally Field about her television and movie career as a successful actor, although it does cover some of her most famous roles and the relationships that took place during those times. This is Sally sharing details of her childhood where her feelings of loneliness, not measuring-up and intimate secrets of visits to her stepfather's bedroom from ages 4 through 14 are told. Secrets that were locked away inside of her, following her around like a shadow through her life. She folded her shame, fear of complicity and threat of danger neatly and securely in the dark memories of her tarnished youth. Still, she always wondered if her Mother knew what took place between Sally and her stepfather so many years ago.

Her Mother passed away when Sally was 65 years old. She admits writing this book to uncover her Mother. To discover every moment of her. She needed to find her, feeling angry with her and lost from her when she was gone. You hear through the book how she deeply loved her Mother and idolized her for her beauty. But she remained a mystery to Sally and their relationship was often strained and complicated. She never felt she could speak openly to her Mother and felt abandoned by her at times when she needed her so desperately.

She wrote this book for herself, too, telling her literary agent that she didn't know if she would ever release it. She is someone who knows that memories are painful to remember but writing this book took her places she knew she never would have gone. It took Sally 7 years to write it all down, looking for the answers hidden to her for all those years.

In the book, Sally speaks of often being in a fog through her young life in school with one exception - acting in drama class. Acting changed her when at age 12, her school had a really good drama department, and in the 7th Grade, "....it was the first time I had this experience of being out of my body, where a bell rang and everything went clear and I could hear myself and I wasn't lost in a fog. And, then it was gone and I didn't know what to do with my hands. I spent the rest of my life really chasing that feeling "that fireflies on the edges of my eyes something" that exalting about being alive, which has to do with losing yourself in any form of the arts." The love of acting began for her in that moment.

She continued to chase that feeling, striving to make herself better and honed her skills as an actor by working with Lee Strasberg at his Hollywood "Actor's Studio". She learned to morph herself into the character she was auditioning for and excitedly dressed like the character, down to the hair and make-up. She loved acting and she yearned to be successful at her craft.

Although, Sally felt Gidget and The Flying Nun where not her finest moments, I have fond memories of both from my youth! I remember watching Sally as Gidget with my sister, sitting on our bedroom floor in front of the built-in cabinets that held our television just outside our double walk-in closet that divided us like the six years in age between us. But, watching Gidget brought us together! We watched The Flying Nun together, too. But, Gidget! She was California and we were California Girls, too!

This book is deeply personal, hauntingly raw and fiercely honest. She exposes herself to all who read this memoir in a "hold nothing back, let her rip" fashion. I loved her in my youth as Gidget, I loved seeing her acting evolve through the years but I love her more now for sharing all her pieces!

I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,908 reviews727 followers
December 6, 2019
All that glitters is not gold came to mind so often while reading this autobiography. Indeed, Sally Field seemed to me as a happy go lucky girl, one to be envied for she was famous and adorable.

However, the truth was she never really was happy, searching for that illusive star called fame. Even with achievements that many a Hollywood Star would want for themselves, Sally’s life was fraught with unhappiness in her childhood. She was sexually abused by her stepfather and had a somewhat tenuous relationship with her mother.

She never could seem to look in a mirror and see what so many others did and do. She is and was a beautiful girl grown to womanhood entertaining us from her staring as Gidget, and The Flying Nun, to the marvelous acting in Sybil and Norma Rae and so many others.

Happily now, Ms Field seems to have found that happiness and gladness she has made so many of us feel as she acted out so wonderfully the parts she played.
Profile Image for Nancee.
89 reviews
October 5, 2018
I like Sally Field. I really like her.
Unfortunately, I did not like her memoir. I found it slow moving and dull. Ultimately, it was the story of her relationship with her mother through the years. And it felt like it took years to read about it. Sorry Sal.
Profile Image for Erin .
1,203 reviews1,107 followers
February 28, 2021
Sally Field was one of my mom's favorite actresses. My mom grew up watching her on The Flying Nun. I've probably seen Steel Magnolias a 100x and she was in 2 of my favorite childhood movies Mrs. Doubtfire and Forest Gump. When I started taking care of my mom at the end of her life we watched Sally Field's tv show Brothers and Sisters together. So Sally Field has always just been around but I never knew anything about her life. I think I just assumed she'd led a boring life because she wasnt in any of the tabloids I read as a teenager.

Boy was I wrong!

In Pieces isn't a straightforward memoir, it's more of a deep dive into the darkest and most traumatic episodes of her life.

-Sally talks about her parents messy divorce
- She talks about being molested by her stepfather
- She talks about her abusive relationship with Burt Reynolds
-She talks about repeatedly being sexually harassed and assaulted by various men in Hollywood including tv rock group The Monkees
- She talks about getting an abortion at 17 years old

I was not prepared for just how dark this book would be. Sally is true survivor. I felt myself getting angry for Sally and its obvious that Sally didn't even write about the most awful things that she experienced.

I have a newfound respect for Sally Field after reading this book. The things Sally has survived would have broken a different kind of person and the craziest part is that Sally has always seen herself as not strong in anyway.

A Must Read!

All The Stars!
Profile Image for MissBecka Gee.
1,409 reviews579 followers
March 1, 2019
It's got everything you would expect from an actress in a memoir...sad and slightly bitter childhood memories, name dropping and sparks of happiness sprinkled throughout.
The big difference for me was the writing. Sally Field has a way with words.
She relays her memories with such picturesque beauty you really do feel like you're there.
She manages the timeline of the book beautifully despite the content not being very exciting.
I really admired how she wasn't afraid to reveal unflattering pieces of herself, with regret, but without apologies.
It doesn't really get into much of her career after the 80's which was a bit disappointing.
I think with a good narrator this might have been better as an audio.
Profile Image for Maureen.
314 reviews66 followers
June 22, 2019
I feel as if I grew up with Sally Field, as a teenager I loved to watch Gidget and then the Flying Nun and then Sybil. I never know what a terrible childhood Sally had. Sally took seven years to write this memoir. She was neglected as a child and abused by her stepfather. This is a raw look at her life and how she used acting to escape reality. It is beautifully written with pictures. Sally Field gave her all to this book. I think everyone should read it.
Profile Image for Myrna.
703 reviews
September 28, 2018
This is a linear memoir but the majority focuses on her early years. After talking about the film Norma Rae she speeds right through the rest of the years. Maybe she only shared the “pieces” she says had the greatest impact on the woman she is today. I’m not sure. Also, in this memoir, you will not find the perky Sally she’s personified but more of a people pleaser but not a total push over with some deeeeeep revelations. After listening to her memoir (read and written by Sally), I liked it and her as well.
Profile Image for Laura Noggle.
669 reviews383 followers
April 10, 2019
*Honest, raw, soulful: This is not your run-of-the-mill celebrity memoir—Field goes DEEP!*

Wow! What an amazing book! Definitely my favorite memoir of 2019 so far.
Tear jerker of an ending. 💔

"Like flipping a switch, I began to bubble" ... Sally Field gives us all her walled off sections, slowly building from her childhood on.

I came into this book knowing almost nothing about Sally Field, other than she was in Forest Gump, Mrs Doubtfire, and maybe I'd heard of The Flying Nun.

This book is an IN DEPTH look at Sally Field's life starting from childhood. I don't want to spoil any of her revelations, although if you read too many reviews you'll probably find them. I had no idea.

This book is meaty, tough, touching, and powerful. Field is beyond insightful as she dissects her past successes and failures, writing unflinchingly about missteps and gut wrenching moments—most likely because she wasn't sure if she'd ever publish it. Writing for herself, Field took seven years (and lots of therapy) to complete this book which shows in the meticulous intimate revelations and astute phrasing.

At its core, this is a book about relationships, family, and a personal understanding of one's self. Field had a complicated relationship with men but more importantly, with her mother—something that wasn't (sort of) resolved until shortly before her mother's death.

It's not hard to see why In Pieces was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, a Sunday Times Book of the Year, and nominee for the 2019 Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir and Goodreads Choice Award Best Memoir/Autobiography 2018.
Profile Image for Constantine.
785 reviews120 followers
March 5, 2022
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Genre: Nonfiction

I like Sally Field as an actress. She is not a favorite of mine but definitely a very good actress. This book was good to read. It has lots of the troubles she went through in life be it her struggle as an actress or the hardships that she faced as a human being. Of course, the highlight of the book as many readers say is her opening up about being abused by her stepfather in her childhood. One has to be really brave to tell the world that.

As a book, the writing though is not extraordinary or anything like that but it feels very honest to me and this is a very important factor when I read a memoir, to believe the author so I can be in his/her shoe while reading. The book focuses a lot on Sally's early years. I feel I know now the young Sally who struggled in her teenage and as a young adult but I still don't know enough Sally the mature woman today. So I wish there was a bit of balance in that. I would've appreciated it more if there was more focus on her professional life in the later years too. One thing that felt good though, was she telling her mother about being abused, that was a good read.

I think this memoir is a decent one. It would be a good pick if you are interested to know more about the actress. And in case you like to watch her playing a different role on screen then I would recommend one of her recent films "Hello, My Name Is Doris".
Profile Image for StMargarets.
2,808 reviews447 followers
March 11, 2019
A harrowing read in some ways. Sally Field did not have an easy life - growing up or in her career or in her relationships with men.

She was neglected as a small child and sexually abused by her stepfather. Those pieces followed her around for most of her life as she used acting as a way to get in touch with the scary emotions dwelling inside her.

The narrative is in chronological order, but there are a great gaps in time and SF has no conclusions to make. She's still a work in progress and I don't think she's found a lot of inner peace just yet. She says she wrote this for her three sons so they could understand the unspoken forces working in her life - and in theirs.

There isn't a lot of Hollywood gossip. SF is really diving deep into her psyche and past. Some parts are harrowing. Others tedious. She survived them all and is still standing, still striving. I hope she'll find some peace now that she's exposed the darkness to light.
Profile Image for Laura.
54 reviews
September 19, 2018
What a beautiful and brave human being Sally Field is. In this book she reveals painful and honest truths of her past and how they laid the foundation for the person she is today.
The audiobook is read by the author, which makes the book so much more personable and compelling. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Carole P. Roman.
Author 76 books2,204 followers
November 1, 2018
Raw and gritty, this is an insider's look to a dysfunctional Hollywood family. Not what I was expecting, Sally Field draws back a curtain and vividly exposes her hard-scrabble childhood with an abusive step-father and an emotionally absent (perhaps drunk) mother. Through the carnage, she stumbles into her acting career in a haze of drugs and emotional eating, marries her childhood sweetheart and survives by enabling gross bad behavior from everyone she knows except perhaps her brother. (who seems to have escaped with education).
Life never gets better and she is constantly used by the men in her life, yet somehow her determination to be a successful actor propels her through the battlefield of her life and gives her the material to draw from so that she can act authentically.
Poignant and sad, I think it is more of an apology to her sons, so they understand the bigger picture of her life. Her three children's sacrifice of a safe and comfortable childhood was caused by the tornado that was her existence and though it may appear it was plain old bad choices, there was a bigger picture. She was lost and only by becoming the actress she became could she break apart the pieces of her self and put them back together.
Sometimes disjointed, sometimes more of a therapy session, I read it and felt bad. She is a very good actress that was able to mask the worst pain and for that, I give her kudos, but I wonder if the pain was worth the price of success.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,207 reviews112 followers
November 1, 2018
I have been a huge fan of Sally field for a number of reasons: Versatile as an actress, as a kind individual and the roles she played has sparked a great interest in me. My favorite movie is Ms Doubtfire,she plays the dutiful wife that is stuck in a marriage that is not going anywhere..Then she hires a 'nanny' to care of her life but there is more to the story that I don't want to spoil for the people who have not watched it. It is something about her as a person that inspires me, and reading this book made me love her even more.

I cannot tell you that I read every passage of the novel but what got me reading were certain pivotal pages. I liked how she talked about her attachment to her mother and the lessons that she instilled in her, it felt like I was sitting by her telling her life story. I really love how this book encompassed all what a good novel supposed to conquer. It was a really sweet and touching story, Fields has always been a pleasure to watch on film and reading her story is very poignant.

It is very lengthy so I skimmed a lot of filler but not enough for me to rate it lower than what it deserved.

Sally Fields is a legend , she is a natural bon story-teller and loved that she decided to write this.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
May 27, 2019
Extremely intimate and candid. This autobiography leaves readers shocked and emotionally moved. I have read many autobiographies and appreciate them a great deal when they are not sugar coated or paint a completely pretty picture since most of us are very aware of how messy but beautiful life truly is.

My quick and simple overall: extremely incredible. Highly recommend this autobiography when you reach for your next nonfiction read.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,632 reviews3,209 followers
November 9, 2018
2018 Best Memoir & Autobiography
Semifinal Round Nominees

Sally Field has been in my life from the beginning.
She was the cute Gidget...
The Unbelievable Flying Nun...
The woman in Smokey and the Bandit...
She broke her typecasting with Stay Hungry...

And then she Leaped to the Next Level with Norma Rae...
Causing the Oscar Moment none of us will ever forget...

"You Like me, You Really Like Me..."

And We Loved her, We Really Have for So Many Years...
Now This is Her Time... Breaking It All Down ...

In Pieces-September 18th 2018

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Profile Image for Gary.
327 reviews198 followers
September 26, 2018
I saw Sally in person and have a signed first edition copy of her book. I read it nonstop for two days , savoring it. Very well written, heartfelt. It read like a novel...and I really enjoyed it. A very honest account of her life and her acting career.

I highly recommend this one.

I just watched Maniac, on NETFLIX, that she stars in. Quite good!
Profile Image for Tooter.
393 reviews160 followers
February 24, 2019
Surprisingly good. If Sally Field actually wrote this (and not a ghostwriter), she's extremely articulate and talented.
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