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My Extraordinary Ordinary Life Hardcover – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The key here is that phrase in the subtitle,“extraordinary ordinary.” Spacek, who hails from Quitman, Texas, got into show business by accident, playing her guitar for a group of friends while she was visiting her cousin, actor Rip Torn, in New York. She lucked into stardom with her second movie, Terrence Malick’s instant classic Badlands (on the set of which she also met the movie’s art director, Jack Fisk, to whom she is still married). Spacek wound up in her Oscar-winning role in Coal Miner’s Daughter because Loretta Lynn, the movie’s biographical subject, had been telling people Spacek should play her in the movie. Readers looking for one of those dirt-dishing Hollywood memoirs should keep looking, as this is the story of an ordinary, down-to-earth woman who has lived, quite by chance, a life that has more than a few extraordinary aspects. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes insight, but that’s not what the book is about. This is one star bio that puts family above fame, tranquility above stardom. --David Pitt


"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 bestselling 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, New York Times bestselling 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, starred review

"Sissy Spacek writes with the same bright animation and verve as she has lived her, indeed, extraordinary life."―Sally Mann, artist and writer

"I took this book to heart, for in the end, there is no more devoted friend, no more faithful friend than Memory, a friend who commands you to interrogate and lay bare the sweetness and its opposite, of your everyday existence, the unexpected turns of it, the mystery of your origins. My Extraordinary Ordinary Life is not only a splendid example of that, but it reminds us of Sissy Spacek's true voice, a voice that we first come to know in a uniquely American way, through a character in a movie. But the soul of this dear book is not a fiction, it is shaped and infused with truth and love."―Jamaica Kincaid, award-winning author

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401324363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401324360
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By sanmokimba on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always admired Sissy Spacek's work as an actress, but admire her even more now after reading about the life she has led, focusing on what means most - family and friends and the simple moments we all experience. In this celebrity-centered world, it is rare to read about an actress who puts family before fame and appreciates the joys of everyday life. This memoir is beautifully written, allowing you to visualize all that has made Sissy who she is today. Also, plenty of amusing anecdotes about those who have shared her journey, including other famous actors and directors. A lovely book that I highly recommend.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dave - a Tennessee fan on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited to hear Sissy Spacek on NPR's FRESH AIR on Monday that I ordered BOTH her new book, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, and her audiobook. On a future long trip, perhaps up Interstate 81 through Tennessee and Virginia, I will listen to Sissy read her book. I look forward to that trip.

I have had the honor of seeing Sissy Spacek twice. During a college spring break in March 1979 COAL-MINER'S DAUGHTER was filming in Wise, Virginia. I drove from Kingsport and stayed with my dear aunt in Clintwood. She dressed me up in 1961 clothes. My movie career began and ended in the rainy fair scene in COAL_MINER'S DAUGHTER. (It was cold!!!) I recall Sissy Spacek was cheerful and joked with the crowd. "Isn't movie-making glamorous?" She was a joy. She also turned in a fantastic, Oscar-winning performance as Loretta Lynn.

Four years later I watched Ms. Spacek film some scenes when she came to my hometown, Kingsport, Tennessee, and starred with Mel Gibson in THE RIVER.

Four years ago I was blown away by her performance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS. I am a physician in the dementia field. Ms. Spacek was fantastic as an artist in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Thank you for the exposure to this increasingly prevalent condition.

Last summer's THE HELP was widely anticipated. We were delighted to find out that, once again, Sissy Spacek, graced the screen in an effective and funny role.

Sissy, I am a bit surprised that you are writing your autobiography at such a young age. I wish for you many, many more movie and TV roles that touch us, teach us, and enhance our lives. Someday I hope to get to you a copy of my photos from those two cold March days in 1979 at the fair scene in COAL-MINER'S DAUGHTER.

Bless you and THANK YOU,
Tennessee Dave
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bennet Pomerantz VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Oscar Winner Sissy Spacek may need to add Grammy award winner next year If I had my way. Her audio biography My Extraordinary Ordinary Life is a tribute the woman and the actress.

Sissy's soft spoken, storytelling vocals is like swinging on porch with an old friend recanting family stories. The stories may be Sissy's, but you are sipping lemonade, leanning back in the hammock and letting her talk to you...the most perfect summer listening expierence.

I must remark she has a wonderful upbeat energy that does not waver in nine compact disks of listening you will have to. She packs a four decade career into ten hours and you are still spellbound at her relaying her life. She does it with out a lot of fanfare.

Note this is not a celebrity gossip, tell all type of audio book. This is the story of a journey-woman actress and her successes and failures.Note, even in her failures, she finds a grain of joy to savor. This is one of the more positive audio biographies I have heard in a long time.

If I have only one bad thing to say, I wanted more more after she was done. I have heard Ms Spacek narrate the King's novel Carrie on CD. She is more focused in retelling her personal stories than the King Novel.

If you are wanted a good time on audio for your long commute or long summer traveling. You should listen to Sissy and enjoy her southern kindness.

Bennet Pomerantz
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Coxwell on June 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a long time admirer of Sissy Spacek, I couldn't wait to listen to her autobiography. It was simply wonderful ! If I found myself back home before a section ended I would sit in the car and listen until I got to a stopping point. Sissy's story is not a gossipy Hollywood tell-all, so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. This telling of Sissy's life, from her birth in Texas to New York and Hollywood and finally to her serene life in the horse country of Virginia is a open, honest and unvarnished as any autobiography I have ever read. Sissy makes the reader feel that she could be a friend telling her story while sitting together on a big front porch sipping iced tea and reminiscing about good times and some sad ones. I too grew up in the South about the same time Sissy did, but in a city, not a small town like Quitman, TX. She made me long for a small town childhood. The book is open, honest, and well-written. It captures the reader's attention from the first few words makes him/her wish for more when it ends. In a world where children of celebrities are dressed to look like mini adults, have every wish granted, and are indulged to a ridiculous extent, it is so refreshing to read that there is someone Like Sissy Spacek who had the good sense and enough concern for her family to move them away from all the trappings of Hollywood and rear them in a truly family-oriented environment. She has been married to the same man for over 30 years and makes no bones about how much they love each other. The bottom line is this: Sissy Spacek is for real and so is her book.
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