The B&N Podcast: Sally Field on “Going to the Places I Didn’t Want to Go”

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

With In Pieces, Sally Field has delivered an amazingly rare thing:  a memoir of growing up to become world-famous that isn’t really, much about fame at all.  It’s about the search for love and acceptance, her devotion to her beloved mother and the damage of an abusive stepfather, the peculiarities of growing up in a 1950s show business family, and the high-wattage straitjacket of her early fame in the television roles of Gidget and The Flying Nun.  It’s about her quest, in her work with Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio, to find moments of being via film roles like her Academy Award-winning turns in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart.  It’s about the roadblocks – put up by directors, boyfriends, writers and others – thrown in the way of a woman determined to follow her own vision, and to put the pieces of her life together for herself.    The result is eloquent, tough-minded, and as singular as the author’s career.  She joined us in the studio just before the publication of In Pieces, for an in depth conversation about this extraordinary book and her extraordinary life.

In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words–about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

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.

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Author photo (c) John Russo.

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