Wildflower, by Drew Barrymore

Descended from Hollywood royalty and working as an actress before she could walk and talk, Drew Barrymore has had much of her private life on display for the whole world to see. Now at the age of forty, Barrymore has increasingly and deliberately withdrawn from the public eye. Wildflower is not a memoir, but rather a collection of her stories.

The collection is as eclectic and free spirited as Barrymore herself. They are not in chronological order that allows the reader to dip in and out of the book as they please. They can be consumed all in one go or over a period of time.

They touch on her relationships with her notorious family, including her wayward mother and absent father. Behind the scene peeks at Charlie’s Angels, 50 First Dates and E.T. litter the book, as do snippets of her relationships with Stephen Spielberg, Adam Sandler and Cameron Diaz. But it isn’t all Hollywood.

Barrymore recounts her emancipation by the courts at the tender age of 14. Although she had already been exposed to much more than the average teen, she had to truly take ownership of her life. First up, getting an apartment, a job and doing the laundry. The laundry story, and indeed all the stories about her quick introduction to adulthood, is tender and sweet. The two stories, Dear Olive and Dearest Frankie, formed as letters to her two young girls, are heartbreakingly beautiful and universal for parents across the globe.

Wildflower is not necessarily just for the fans. While I do like Barrymore’s movies, I’m not a fan as such but she is a good writer (if a little enthusiastic with the exclamation points!!!) and it is easy to see her personality shining through the page. It is bubbly, upbeat and a very easy read. There are moments when you will laugh out loud and moments when you’ll reach for the tissues.

Wildflower isn’t your average celebrity memoir; it’s not a flashy ego-fest. Instead it is a wild rumpus of a young girl who blossomed into a strong, confident woman. 

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TITLE: Wildflower
AUTHOR(S): Drew Barrymore
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
RRP: $38.00
ISBN: 9780753557082

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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