Review: Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

I grew up in a household that had strongly opposing views about Drew Barrymore. My dad hated her and considered her trashy liberal scum. My mom loved her and considered her fun, engaging, and liked her movies. I mostly struggled with feeling torn about whether I was attracted to her or wanted to look like her (answer: both). Suffice it to say I was interested in reading more about this person whose movies I grew up with and was told to reject/admire/maybe kiss a little I dunno.

Wildflower is a collection of vignettes from Barrymore’s life, recounting her youth pre-fame up through present day. The vignettes bounce around from years but cover a broad spectrum of time including her first steps into stardom at a very young age and memories of ET and Spielberg, to her complicated relationship with her parents and her father’s death, to becoming a mother and the concerns that also brought. She talks a bit about her experience developing her own production company and her goals and values. There is a section about her experience helping out children in Africa that felt a little bit white savior-y, especially as the focus was on how this changed her perspective and her life and just felt a little bit cringey. But I do feel that her heart was in the right place. I wouldn’t blame people, especially people from the country she visited, to be a little miffed by her representation of it though.

I usually like books where I feel a connection to the author and can sort of curl up in that world and this wasn’t the case at all. I definitely felt like an outsider looking in, but not in a cold or bad way. It didn’t feel distant, more like Barrymore was taking me through her memories like the ghost of hollywood past and I was along for the ride.

Ultimately, it’s a book that I would recommend my dad avoid and my mom read ASAP.

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