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September 2022

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Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
Fans of well-written and insightful autobiographies of public figures.

In a nutshell:
Actress and author Driver shares the details of a few stories that provide the reader with real insight into her life.

Worth quoting:
I listened so didn’t take down any particular phrases, but there were definitely multiple times I had a strong positive reaction to something she shared.

Why I chose it:
On one level, I’m a bit of a fan in that I think she is fantastic in Grosse Pointe Blank. On another, I have vague memories of claims that Matt Damon broke up with her on Oprah, and I was sort of hoping maybe she’s touch on that? (Spoiler: she does, in the classiest way possible.)

Review:
What an absolutely lovely autobiography. Given I’ve listened to some this year that left me a bit wanting in terms of both the quality of the writing and the choice of stories shared, I was a slightly hesitant, and thought perhaps this was no longer my genre of choice. Driver’s writing put all concerns to rest, as she provides a well-written, well-edited, and well-read (seriously, get the audio version she reads herself) collection of essays that provide insight into a privileged life. And even with that privilege, I didn’t get the sense ever that she was out of touch, or unaware of how lucky she has been in some aspects of her life. She seems to have a strong sense of self, and that comes across in this book.

The book isn’t just about her time as an actress – in fact it starts with a story about her being a bit of a brat as a child. I’d say nearly half the book is about her childhood, and the stories are fascinating. She doesn’t go from episode to episode – she seems to have carefully selected things that for her represent an important time and story in her life. There are just a handful of chapters, and each chapter is pretty narrowly focused, so don’t expect to get her literal life story.

She obviously does discuss her career, but I’d say it’s maybe 1/3 of the book max? The final chapter is heart-wrenching and beautiful, covering the short illness and death of her mother.

As with any memoir, I have no idea what was left out, how truthful the stories are, etc. But I get a sense that Driver has shared a lot of herself, and while it’s obviously not all of herself, it doesn’t feel censored or self-edited in an untrue way. I don’t ‘know’ Driver in any real way, but the book makes me feel now that I do, just a little bit, and I appreciate her contribution to this genre.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend

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