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In Pieces


In Pieces

Most often I read fiction, but I also love sprinkling in a nonfiction book --- a biography or a memoir --- so I was happy to read IN PIECES for review.

It’s our inclination, I think, to assume we know famous people --- we know them from interviews, their characters, the images captured for magazines and online celebrity sites. I remember being in a green room once when John Goodman walked in. I nearly hugged him as I would greet a friend because I felt like I knew him. Thankfully, I stopped myself in time realizing that I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me! With that awareness, I began to read what Sally Field chose to share with us. And even as I finished the book, I know it’s only pieces of her.

Those pieces, however, are captivating, unexpected and deeply emotional. Field puzzles out who she is as she tells her story from her earliest memories with a flawed but dearly loved mother, a dispassionate father, and a once-beloved but abusive stepfather.

"[IN PIECES] is an ideal gift for anyone who loves one of the most celebrated actors of our time."

In this memoir, spanning more than six decades, we get more than a glimpse inside Field’s upbringing --- her lonely youth and her struggles with feeling inadequate, alone, and even unloved and unseen. She is fiercely honest and strips herself bare in so many ways as she ponders and analyzes her life choices and influences.

Again and again, I found myself startled and saddened by Field’s pervasive inner doubts and self-loathing since the person we see on screen --- whether big or small --- is so secure and stunning, delivering her roles with confidence. More proof I didn’t need that the images we see don’t let us know much at all. Not a bad lesson for our country’s celebrity-crazed youth, is it?

I experienced this story both in reading the physical copy --- plentiful with personal photographs --- and in listening to the audiobook read by Field in that very familiar voice I’ve grown up knowing, which felt even more intimate as she shared her memories, experiences and decisions.

IN PIECES lets readers see beyond Gidget and the Flying Nun, beyond Sybil and Norma Rae, and lets us see Sally Field --- the woman before, behind, becoming all of those characters. Field reveals how she landed her first job, learned her craft and challenged herself, and how her personal and professional lives intertwined, knotted together and frayed. And, of course, she talks about Burt Reynolds (I wondered if his death freed her in some way to discuss their relationship more candidly).

Many times I wanted to pull Field --- of all ages --- into an embrace, to tell her she is worthy and lovable. For the many millions of fans who feel like they know her and whose lives were enriched by her performances, IN PIECES is the perfect read. It’s an ideal gift for anyone who loves one of the most celebrated actors of our time.

Reviewed by Leah DeCesare ( on November 9, 2018

In Pieces
by Sally Field

  • Publication Date: October 15, 2019
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538763036
  • ISBN-13: 9781538763032