In Pieces

by Sally Field

Hardcover, 2018





Grand Central Publishing (2018), Edition: First Edition, 416 pages


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. From Gidget's sweet-faced "girl next door" to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, 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 and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.… (more)


½ (172 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Carmenere
Thoughts I feel anyone who opens their lives to public scrutiny in a memoir deserves 5/5. Who am I to judge the content of it.
I learned much about Ms. Field and I can say that she accomplished quite a lot in spite of the detriments placed before her, some self inflicted others a matter of fate.
Show More
Her acting career is central to the book as are her sons, mother and the assorted male figures scattered through out. Burt Reynolds, wow, though not surprising.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Carlie
I have said this time and again – there are times when what I am reading is exactly what I need in life at that moment. This book hit the mark on a deep level for me. Sally Field is an extraordinary actress and has been in some of my favorite films, but I never really considered myself a big fan.
Show More
Something drew me to this memoir, and now I appreciate her in a more complex way.

She talks mostly about her family and her internal struggles. While she does dedicate a bit of the book to her work, it is focused on her craft and career rather than on the specific projects. Much of the book is about discovering herself piece by piece, memory by memory. She found in acting what she could not adequately express in her real life.

She had a strained and co-dependent relationship with her mother that allowed me to glimpse a new perspective of my own relationship with my mother. Her mother was an alcoholic, her father was estranged, and her step-father was abusive. I see my own mother and her relationship with her mother in the book. Generations of damaged women raising and damaging their daughters is a common story, I suppose. Still these stories need to be told so we can learn from each other and piece ourselves together.
Show Less
LibraryThing member FormerEnglishTeacher
As a 70-year-old, it’s hard for me not to see the Flying Nun when I look at Sally Field. Even as I watched her in the various roles she played in some great and some not so great movies, I saw that crazy nun’s habit and her flying with that Sally Field grin. This memoir, essentially a coming of
Show More
age memoir, takes Sally Field from Gidget through that nun all the way to the sunset of her career where she is playing parts she deserves: Mary Todd Lincoln and Norma Rae among them. The memoir, like most of those written by celebrities, contains more personal stories than I cared to hear about. One was of her brief relationship with the famed song writer Jimmy Webb. The incident she recounts reeks of gratuitousness. When asked about it, Webb said he didn’t mention Field in his own memoir because what they shared wasn’t especially noteworthy or memorable. Field’s relationship with Burt Reynolds toward the end of the book was especially sad given the energy the man sapped from her. And finally, Sally’s relationship with her mother, at the heart of her torment her entire life, was once and for all peacefully cemented nearly on her mother’s death bed. Do I recommend this autobiography? I can say I enjoyed most of it, and I think most people who respect Sally Field’s work over the past seven decades will enjoy it too.
Show Less
LibraryThing member janismack
I really enjoyed this book. I think I grew up alongside Sally Field, watching Gidget, the Flying Nun, Sybil, Normae Rae. I liked her honesty and observations since I remember what I felt about her when I was watching her work. In my mind, she sells herself short, I think she is brilliant. She is
Show More
the author of her biography which gives it a forthright tone. Recommended.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bookchickdi
Fall is a big season for publishers, one in which books with high hopes for success hit the shelves. Two books that fit that category are by a well-respected author of fiction, essays and nonfiction, and a debut author whose name is well-known to anyone who has followed television and movies for
Show More
the last 40 years.

The debut author is actress Sally Field, who took seven years to write her memoir In Pieces.

Field grew up in a decidedly female household with her mother, grandmother and great-aunts, all strong women. She tells some of their fascinating stories, explaining how they got to be where they were. It will inspire the reader to talk to their own mothers and grandmothers about their life experiences.

The biggest influence on Field’s life was her beautiful mother, an actress who had a modest film career. Field had a complicated relationship with her mother growing up, made more so when her mother married an actor/stuntman, Jock Mahoney. Mahoney sexually abused Sally at a young age, and that relationship resonated with her for the rest of her life.

As Mahoney’s Hollywood fortunes waned, Sally’s interest in acting earned her a starring role in the 1960s sitcom “Gidget.” It was a good first experience, but her second television show, “The Flying Nun,” was a deeply unhappy one.

She didn’t want to do it, but Jock convinced her that she may never work again and she needed to take the job. After a few desperately unfulfilling years there, she was introduced to the Actors Studio, where she came alive. She studied and worked hard to become a serious actress.

Field details the highs and lows in her personal and professional life, from her marriage at a young age and subsequent divorce to raising her three sons and working to get the kind of serious roles she wanted.

From her breakout role as a severely mentally ill woman in “Sybil” to her Academy Award-winning performance in “Norma Rae” to her very complicated relationship with actor Burt Reynolds, Field lays it all on the line in an honest portrait of her life.

Although her mother had a drinking problem as Sally grew up, it was her mother she turned to when she needed someone to care for her sons when she worked. And her mother was there for her and her sons at every turn.

She ends the book trying to understand her mother, what drove her and why they had such a complicated relationship. In Pieces is an indelible portrait of a woman we all thought we knew.
Show Less
LibraryThing member over.the.edge
In Pieces
by Sally Field
Grand Central
4.5 / 5.0

Nothing about the life of Sally Field is simple.
Her relationships - esp. with her mother- were all complicated. Very pure and straight-forward, sharing the ups and downs of her life, she has literally lived a life in pieces.
Pieces, that once
Show More
fit together, give you a more complete picture. Like a jigsaw whose picture is not totally revealed until the last piece is placed. Then it is amazing.

Sallys honesty and candor, her willingness to share the difficult and contentious pieces of her life, with such truth and courage. This is a surprising and compelling life story, I never knew her life was so complicated.. She shares it all with humor and I really feel like I know who she is, not just what she has done. This was hard to put down and loved her honesty and willingness to share all the pieces of her complicated life.
Recommended. Amazing.
Show Less
LibraryThing member BALE
Field's memoir was at times interesting but, overall, lacked substance. After listening to the audio version for 8 hours, I had to let this one go. It simply did not hold my interest.
LibraryThing member dele2451
Learned a lot about one of my favorite actresses and enjoyed the accompanying pictures immensely. She's a better actress than writer, but I am very glad I got to read her story in her own words. Too many biographical celebrity books are hastily cobbled together by third parties after the subjects
Show More
are deceased--I appreciate that Ms Field courageously shared her joys and difficult family experiences with us on her own terms while she is still very much with us.
Show Less
LibraryThing member knahs
This is a hard hitting book. Field's life seems to be mostly a downer and certainly as someone sexually abused as a child I would find that to affect you for the rest of your life. Yet at some point it seems you have to move on. I think Field did move on and certainly became a success but let this
Show More
baggage stay with her all her life. I wish there had been more on some of the films and co-stars she worked with such as Murphy's Romance (James Garner), Steel Magnolias (Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine), and Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams). And didn't she have any good times with Burt Reynolds? I also wish there had been more photos.
Show Less
LibraryThing member gypsysmom
I grew up watching The Flying Nun and I have admired some of her acting since then, particularly the title role in Norma Rae. After listening to this book (which Sally narrated) I have admiration for how she managed to climb to the top of her field. I have a few misgivings about the book which
Show More
meant I didn't rate it as high as I would if I was just rating Sally herself.

Sally's parents divorced when she was quite young and her mother, also an actress, then married a stunt man and actor. Sally didn't see much of her father but she saw decidedly too much of her stepfather. Almost from the beginning her stepfather made sexual advances to her and this continued for almost all of her time living in the same house. Sally managed to get an acting role (as the star of the TV pilot of Gidget) when she was still a teenager and then she was cast in The Flying Nun. Financial independence meant she finally got away from her stepfather but she then married her highschool sweetheart and had two children. That marriage fell apart due to her husband never finding a career that could contribute to the household. When Sally met Burt Reynolds during the filming of Smoky and the Bandit there was sexual attraction but again Reynolds seemed to view Sally more as his mother or housekeeper than a girlfriend. Eventually that relationship ended (one of the problems I had with the book was that one day Reynolds seemed to be consuming all her time and then he was history); Sally married again and had another child but that marriage also ended in divorce. Throughout her life Sally relied on her mother to help her raise her children but she never told her about the sexual abuse until her mother was dying. Sally continually says in the book how much she loved and admired her mother but it seems to me she must have also resented that her mother did not protect her from this sexual predator.

There are lots of details from Sally's career; it was especially interesting to hear how hard she worked to improve herself as an actor by taking classes with the Lee Strasberg Institute.
Show Less
LibraryThing member chickadee2
I'll just say that the book helps me understand her famous response to winning an Oscar..." You love me, you really love me"
LibraryThing member Tytania
I read this only because it was a book club pick. I do enjoy almost all memoirs; and this did have a good narrative arc, watching Field's acting career progress in "seriousness". But I never would have picked this book on my own, mainly because, I really just don't care about actors. I don't find
Show More
acting interesting as an art, and I don't find actors intrinsically interesting as people. And I had a hard time nailing down who exactly Sally Field was. Funny true story - when we were considering doing this book, someone in book club said that Sally Field was "so good in 'All in the Family.'" After some puzzlement, we all protested, "That was Sally Struthers!" Then someone added, "Yes, Sally Field was Coal Miner's Daughter." Then we all protested, "No, that was Sissy Spacek!" And I'm really embarrassed that I went home chuckling at this, and then read the book the whole time waiting for her to get to her big break playing Major Houlihan in the movie version of M*A*S*H. That, of course was, Sally Kellerman!

But seriously, I think I've at least got straight now who Sally Field is and was. She was Gidget, then the Flying Nun. She enjoyed being Gidget but hated every moment of the Flying Nun, and longed to be seen as a serious actor. The book climaxes effectively with her winning the Academy Award for 'Norma Rae'.

Of course, there's abuse along the way. Field's childhood was dominated by sexual abuse by her slimy stepfather while her drunk mother looked the other way. I'm glad she seems to have achieved some degree of closure on those issues by book's end.
Show Less
LibraryThing member carolfoisset
I was so disappointed with this book. I think I was expecting too much. I grew up adoring Sally Field from Gidget to The Flying Nun and on to her more serious roles in Norma Rae and as Mary Lincoln. Maybe it would have been better to read the print version, because I felt like the audio was hard to
Show More
follow. It felt like the story jumped around a lot and then circled back and went over the same things. I found it strange that she went into such detail on certain memories (which did not seem realistic) and on other bigger events would say "I don't remember how that happened". Towards the end of the book she did say that she had many journals that she referred to which made me think that would have helped her.
I thought it was neat that she was reading her book, but when I listened to it I found her expression overdone in many parts. Perhaps the way to go is the print and not the audio.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JReynolds1959
I don't believe there could have been a better title for this book. Sally Field has always been seeking approval, love, etc while always trying to be the person that someone else needed. She consistently put her own self on hold to fulfill that for other people, including her parents, her loves,
Show More

Some of this book was curt, you don't really know the true things that were going on, she only alludes to them. A lot left unsaid, but it is her book, so that is the way it is. It really kind of matches the personality that she portrays in the book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member LyndaInOregon
In Pieces is a surprisingly introspective book, less a movie-star biography than the story of one troubled woman’s journey toward conquering inner demons that seldom showed on screen.

Throughout most of her life, Field sought acceptance and fought feelings that she wouldn’t be loved if she
Show More
wasn’t good enough – though she struggled to define what “good enough” was, and how to get there. She found one kind of “good enough” in acting, in the capacity to lose herself in a character – or rather, to develop a character to inhabit. After beginning her career in lightweight television sitcoms, Field grew more serious about understanding and developing her craft, and spent years in various actors’ studio groups, eventually breaking away from the bubbly ingénue image with dramatic blockbusters like Sybil and Norma Rae.

Along the way, she acquired and shed several husbands, gave birth to three children whom she reared mostly alone, with the help of her mother, and struggled always to come to terms with a childhood trauma that would haunt her throughout her adult life.

If you’re looking for “and then I made this movie” or insider stories of the industry, or a list of Field’s lovers, you won’t find them here. And while she does discuss her well-publicized relationship with actor Burt Reynolds, it’s more as a journey of growth and self-discovery than it is a kiss-and-tell.

If some of the episodes she describes are difficult to read, if the reader occasionally wants to smack Field upside the head for some of the decisions she made, it’s all in the service of honesty and self-discovery. This one is worth the time.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Dianekeenoy
I have always liked Sally Field and enjoyed listening to her life story!
LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
I only read this because it was a book club read. I wasn't interested in Field at all, and I'm even less so after reading the book. She is not a gifted writer. I did enjoy reading some of the behind-the-scenes incidents that come with acting, and I got a feel for how ordinary day-to-day life can
Show More
be, even for the famous.
Show Less
LibraryThing member msf59
I do not read many celebrity memoirs, but this one called to me. I have been enchanted with Sally Field, since the 1970s, (I was too young for “Gidget” and barely remember “The Flying Nun”) and it has been great to see her evolve as an actor and continue to do challenging work, right
Show More
through her 60s.
The bulk of this book, focuses on her childhood and her development into a young woman, struggling to raise a family and hone her acting craft. She had a difficult relationship with her mother and suffered child abuse from her step-father, so the book goes pretty dark at times. It is also very well-written, proving Field, a natural storyteller.
The last 3rd of the memoir, deals with her Hollywood career, from Smokey & the Bandit to her stunning role as Mary Todd Lincoln in “Lincoln”. A totally engaging read and yes, Burt Reynolds comes off as a friggin' jerk.

Field narrates the audio version, and unsurprisingly does a stellar job. I highly recommend that format.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Dorothy2012
Definitely a memoir versus an autobiography. A documentation of an unexamined life.


Audie Award (Finalist — Autobiography/Memoir — 2019)


Original language


Physical description

416 p.; 6.85 inches


1538763028 / 9781538763025
Page: 0.3792 seconds