Drew Barrymore. Drew Barrymore! Who doesn’t love Drew Barrymore. Really. Whether it’s because of E.T. or Never Been Kissed or Charlie’s Angels or her rom-coms with Adam Sandler. Drew. We love you. She’s adorable and twee like Zoey Deschanel except you can love her wholeheartedly and not even be remotely annoyed with yourself. Drew. SIGH. We heart you.
So why did you have to write a damn book.
Listen. I mean. It’s not OFFENSIVE. It’s just, you know, I spent a few years tutoring writing students in college and it kind of sort of really totally gives me a strong sense of freshman comp first drafts. As I was reading it, I found myself mentally drifting to my favorite movies of hers in order to recalibrate my respect. Like Ever After. She plays a soulful sword-fighting Cinderella opposite a fabulously cruel Anjelica Huston and I’d just rather think about that.
She said in the book—and on a stop at her book tour, which I was lucky to get a ticket to here in Ann Arbor the day after it came out—that Ever After was the point where she came down from her crazy years and decided to be an actress and a lady and no longer a wild child who would do things like flash her nipples at David Letterman on live TV. She said that she liked the idea of a strong heroine saving herself. And that inspired her. But it turns out—cue Forrest Gump here— that’s all she has to say about that.
She mentions that she was inspired to jump off a cruise ship in Greece, and destroy a Jeep by ramming it through a gated parking lot, and a few instances of running naked through fields but you know, she was just wild and crazy Drew! And that’s all she has to say about that.
The DRUGS, Drew! What about the drugs and the booze and the raucous parties with glamorous people? Come ON. At one point in Ann Arbor she said, a little stiffly, that it’s possible to be intimate without being scandalous. And while I do appreciate you are a Lady now and all, if you write a book and you completely gloss over the good stuff that we’ve all been wondering about then we’re going to feel a little cheated. Now maybe if you don’t remember all of the deets, that’s fine, just be honest about it.
Perhaps she feels that she’s done that already, in the supposed tell-all book Little Girl Lost, published in 1991 when she was 16 and definitely not yet out of her wild phase. It was written with the help of another writer, and maybe it’s more angsty or real. Or maybe it was a PR ploy to help her get back into acting.
Whatever. I really like Drew. As much as she likes exclamation marks, which is a lot. A lot!!!!
I think the problem is that we’ve seen the immaculately gorgeous Drew ugly-cry and be vulnerable in movies, and we liked that rawness, that realness, and it was always a way to get to the depth of the character and make you like her even more. And I guess that I assumed there would be some of that realness in the book. But there’s not. Well if there is some emotional intimacy, it’s in the form of a story about flying to India to spread the ashes of her dog, and it makes you sigh: O-kay, GWENYTH.
So. Drew is a producer and director and Golden-Globe-winning actress and CEO and uniquely beautiful and kind and charismatic and I suppose she doesn’t owe any of us a damn thing. It’s just I wanted a peek behind that pretty veneer, to understand the intricacies,the self-development, the moments that made this accomplished person the lovely woman she is today despite a total lack of parental guidance or structure to her life. There are moments of imperfection—such as serving her fiancé raw pancakes that he promptly threw up—but they’re light. And she wanted the book to be light, she said. Well, goal achieved.
I mean, she still gets my applause. All the applause. Always. Because of course. It’s Drew!
–By Tara Cavanaugh