In her delightful and moving memoir, Sissy Spacek writes about her idyllic, barefoot childhood in a small East Texas town, with the clarity and wisdom that comes from never losing sight of her roots. Descended from industrious Czech immigrants and threadbare southern gentility, she grew up a tomboy, tagging along with two older brothers and absorbing grace and grit from her remarkable parents, who taught her that she could do anything. She also learned fearlessness in the wake of a family tragedy, the grief propelling her "like rocket fuel"; to follow her dreams of becoming a performer.
With a keen sense of humor and a big-hearted voice, she describes how she arrived in New York City one star-struck summer as a 17-year-old carrying a suitcase and two guitars; and how she built a career that has spanned four decades with films such as Carrie, Coal Miner's Daughter, 3 Women, and The Help. She details working with some of the great directors of our time, including Terrence Malick, Robert Altman, David Lynch, and Brian De Palma - who thought of her as a no-talent set decorator until he cast her as the lead in Carrie. She also reveals why, at the height of her fame, she and her family moved away from Los Angeles to a farm in rural Virginia.
Whether she's describing the terrors and joys of raising two talented, independent daughters, taking listeners behind the scenes on Oscar night, or meditating on the thrill of watching a pair of otters frolicking in her pond, Sissy Spacek's memoir is poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, plainspoken and utterly honest. My Extraordinary Ordinary Life is about what matters most: the exquisite worth of ordinary things, the simple pleasures of home and family, and the honest job of being right with the world. "If I get hit by a truck tomorrow," she writes, "I want to know I've returned my neighbor's cake pan."
©2012 Sissy Spacek (P)2012 Hyperion (packaging elements only)
"My Extraordinary Ordinary Life is the book version of Sissy: warm, heartfelt, and very real. Perhaps most remarkable is that Sissy's life-from the ordinary experiences of growing up in and raising a close-knit family to the extraordinary thrills of starring in some of the most iconic roles in Hollywood-unfolds as gracefully on the page as it does on the big screen and, as all of her readers will soon learn, in everyday life." (Kathryn Stockett, New York Times best-selling author of The Help)
"My Extraordinary Ordinary Life describes a remarkable woman's journey from a baton-twirling East Texas gal to an Academy-Award winning star. Sissy Spacek tells her story with warmth and grace, never straying far from the small-town roots that shaped her." (Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses)
"[A] warm narrative...Like a folk song, Spacek's storytelling is tender and unhurried." (Publishers Weekly)
So many times when I read/listen to an autobiography of someone I admire, I end up being disappointed. The reasons for this are: the way the story is presented, the content feeling forced or stilted or suppressed, the language sounding nothing like the person I am reading about, or the fact that the person is just not who I imagined they were. Thankfully I can truly say that none of that occurred with this book and narration.
Sissy grabbed my interest, kept me enthralled, and never disappointed me in the least. She not only is as I imagined, but surpassed my expectations. I didn't think it possible but I am even more of a fan now than I was before listening to her telling her life's story.
Thank you, Sissy!
Life in the Thumb
Listening to Sissy Spacek tell her story was like taking a walk with a good friend and hearing about her life. I loved the tales of her early childhood, the complete love and support she always received from her parents, and the journey her life became as she chased her dream of being a country artist and her surprise in becoming a movie actress. I always find it fascinating to hear about the people upcoming stars meet in their life and who end up becoming just as or even more famous than the person telling the story. Sissy certainly met a lot of wonderful people in the business and many of them became treasured and real friends. Sissy's voice was easy to listen to and I still think she could be Loretta Lynn's twin!!
Recommend? If you have enjoyed Sissy's work in the past and are curious about her life growing up and the simple way she lives today, then this is one to add to your audio list for sure!!
Source: Purchased from Audible.com
Narrator: Sissy Spacek
Length: 9 hrs an 49 mins
Six Sentence Bookish Thoughts #123
© 2013, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Sissy Spacek reading her own words about her life with her warm Texas accent, enthusiasm, and delight is an experience not to be missed.
I was taken into her past, felt at home in the town where she grew up, and adventured with her when she went to New York. It was as though she took my hand and showed me the years and events of her life. What I found extraordinary was her sunny and cheerful attitude about everything that happened. And to my astonishment, when I came to the end of the story, I realized she had not said a single mean thing, not a catty comment, not a disparaging word of anyone. What remarkable generosity of spirit! I loved being in her world because even when sorrow struck, there was no pity, just heartache and grit, moving on but never forgetting..... nice to learn some of these lessons again...
She did a great job with keeping things interesting and telling her own story without sounding like a gossip.
It was simple to listen to and so refreshing to hear about a celebrity without all the drama and negative past.
Both of her parents but if I have to choose one, Sissy's mom. I love her positive outlook on life. I was very touched when Sissy speaks of her mom in chapter 13, when Mom was looking around the living room.
Sweet voice, just the right amount of country without sounding like Reba McEntire.
A beautiful star, inside and out, who never lost sight of her roots.
This was a very welcome and much needed listen (My last two books were Camina Salcido's devastating memoir and one other book that was so bad I couldn't get past the first few chapters). I felt cleansed after listening to Sissy's.
Very entertaining story!
It was like sitting down and having a conversation with Sissy.
I'm from Texas so I enjoyed hearing the Texas accent again. She highlights passages with laughter and inflections that emphasize the emotions she wants to express.
The death of her brother-I recently lost a brother, so I felt her sadness acutely.
Also the love she had for her parents and the lessons they taught her.
I could really relate to many things in the book so that made it natural for me to enjoy the book- Being from Texas and knowing how friendly Texans can be; my brother was born the day Kennedy was assassinated; I am learning the guitar now after so many years of saying "someday"; I saw Carrie when I was 18 on a first date and started crying when I got home and told my Mom about the movie ( in front of my date!) Sissy mentions that people think they know you because they relate to the movies she's been in. Well, I related to her because I really like the person she portrays herself to be in her book! So glad that she was able to remain grounded despite her fame, unlike so many people in the entertainment business. I also admire how she is phasing gracefully into roles that reflect her maturity.
Way to go, Sissy!
The illuminating view of small-town Texas life.
I found myself both laughing and crying.
I was mesmerized with the Sissy's story-telling, both written and spoken. At first, I was put off by Sissy's trips far afield into her family's history, but came to understand that everything was important to the picture as a whole. A wonderful picture of small-town life and the high, high value of the experiencing the "ordinary."
I really enjoyed this audible experience- Sissy Spacek delivers a wonderful, easy listening story of her life, she has a wonderful speaking voice and great perspective on the good and bad experiences of her life.
Her lilting, southern Texas accent is wonderful to listen to and adds dimension to her story.
No, I thought I would enjoy the story of her life especially since she and I are both of Czech ancestry but I found it boring and mundane.
Also boring. Sort of as if she was addressing pre-schoolers; not adults.
Prepare to be underwhelmed.
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