It would be a stretch to call myself a super-fan of Busy Phillips — I was too old to be a fan of Freaks and Geeks or Dawson’s Creek; Cougartown never appealed to me — but I know who she is and watched her (now cancelled) talk show in E! Nevertheless, I like to listen to audio-book memoirs when they are read by the author. While the stories themselves are a bit dull, Busy does not disappoint in her delivery, with lots of energetic storytelling and great imitations of her family and friends, making them distinguishable characters.
Covering her life from birth to the present, Busy tries to highlight for readers the events that shaped who she is today. Some of the events are heartbreaking, such as her rape and unplanned teenage pregnancy (her story launched the #youknowme pro-choice moment on social media,) but she spends far too much time talking about her teenage years, pre-fame, and those chapters stretch on and on.
Her discussion of show business and its uglier sides — people stealing credit and commonplace sexual harassment she experienced — are interesting and insightful in creating for readers a true sense of the day-to-day challenges facing women in Hollywood. As with any actor’s story, it is a harsh reminder of the vulnerability they must bring to their work every single day; to face being judged –harshly — over and over again in order to have the career they want.
Busy extends her intimacies with readers by reflecting on her struggles with anxiety, pre-natal and post-partum depression, her martial challenges, and even her financial crises.
Her love of her friends comes through loud and clear (on the audio-book she often cries while telling sad anecdotes) and so does her love for her family. Liberally applied swear words and frank discussions about drinking and drugs are prevalent too, but the overall effect is funny and light-hearted. Busy seems thankful for her good fortune and her long-lasting career. She also relishes (so it seems) telling stories about crappy things other famous people (mostly men) have done to her. For the record, I don’t blame her one bit for calling them out on their bad behavior. She’s famous enough to survive any push back from them, and in the wake of #metoo, it’s nice to see actresses able to tell their stories freely, without fearing consequences.