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Extended Audio Sample My Extraordinary Ordinary Life Audiobook, by Sissy Spacek Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sissy Spacek Narrator: Sissy Spacek Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781401326258
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In her delightful and moving memoir, Sissy Spacek writes about her idyllic, barefoot childhood in a small East Texas town, with the clarity and wisdom that comes from never losing sight of her roots. Descended from industrious Czech immigrants and threadbare southern gentility, she grew up a tomboy, tagging along with two older brothers and absorbing grace and grit from her remarkable parents, who taught her that she could do anything. She also learned fearlessness in the wake of a family tragedy, the grief propelling her “like rocket fuel” to follow her dreams of becoming a performer.

With a keen sense of humor and a big-hearted voice, she describes how she arrived in New York City one star-struck summer as a seventeen-year-old carrying a suitcase and two guitars and how she built a career that has spanned four decades with films such as Carrie, Coal Miner’s Daughter, 3 Women, and The Help. She details working with some of the great directors of our time, including Terrence Malick, Robert Altman, David Lynch, and Brian De Palma—who thought of her as a no-talent set decorator until he cast her as the lead in Carrie. She also reveals why, at the height of her fame, she and her family moved away from Los Angeles to a farm in rural Virginia.

Whether she’s describing the terrors and joys of raising two talented, independent daughters, taking readers behind the scenes on Oscar night, or meditating on the thrill of watching a pair of otters frolicking in her pond, Sissy Spacek’s memoir is poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, plainspoken and utterly honest. My Extraordinary Ordinary Life is about what matters most: the exquisite worth of ordinary things, the simple pleasures of home and family, and the honest job of being right with the world. “If I get hit by a truck tomorrow,” she writes, “I want to know I’ve returned my neighbor’s cake pan.”

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Quotes & Awards

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

  • “[A] warm narrative like a folk song, Spacek’s storytelling is tender and unhurried.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tami | 2/10/2014

    " While I dd enjoy the book, it had a lot more of her career than of her home life included. Although in fairness, maybe that is truly the balance of her life? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 2/7/2014

    " This was a charming autobiography which made me seriously regret that I did not grow up in a small town in Texas. I liked that a great deal of the book detailed Sissy Spacek's growing up years, where there is often only a chapter or two. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginger Williams | 2/1/2014

    " Ms. Spaces is a charming and talented lady who has led an interesting life. I enjoyed reading about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 1/13/2014

    " Love little Sissy. She's honest, humble, and a really good actress. I loved her in Coal Miner's daughter, Badlands, the Help. She's a natural actress and her singing work in Coal Miner's Daughter makes her a mult-italent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Read | 1/9/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a lovely memoir by a very genuine down-to-earth person who is in wonderment of the life she has led. She has lived most of her life in Texas and Virginia and is a very family oriented person. It was a treat to share in her reminiscences. I discovered just this year that the singer/songrwiter Skyler Fisk is her daughter. I've heard her music on Pandora and she's very talented. Sissy started out wanting a career in music as well but ended up acting in movies. Her early interest in music made her the perfect actress for Coal Miner's Daughter. Great insider stories about the making of that movie as well as details of Badlands, Carrie and Raggedy Man. A great "curl up in the armchair" read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Meredith | 12/10/2013

    " I'm sorry to say, this memoir is painfully boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey | 12/4/2013

    " Carrie, 3 Women and Welcome to LA were some of my favorite films of the 70's so naturally I would enjoy knowing more about Sissy Spacek. I loved this book. I was surprised to find out that Sissy's husband Jack Fisk was best friends with David Lynch. Great detail is revealed on the productions of Badlands, Carrie, Coalminer's Daughter, The Straight Story and The Help. I highly recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hanson | 12/3/2013

    " Not as entertaining a book as I had hoped for. Still, Spacek manages to come across as someone you'd like for a friend or a neighbor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Perry | 11/29/2013

    " Sweet book about a lovely person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louise Sumner | 11/17/2013

    " Especially liked the portions about growing up in small-town Texas. A nice counterpoint to Mary Karr's work on the same topic. Rounds out the picture. The writing was a little wooden but that is to be expected with a ghost. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 10/12/2013

    " An enjoyable peek into the life of this great actress. Reminded me to watch again some of her movies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Thomas | 10/10/2013

    " Down to earth and honest - much as I imagine her in person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marge | 9/8/2013

    " Although I liked it, I found myself bored with much of the text. She never mentions HOW the actor Rip Torn is related to her. She stayed with him and his then-wife, Geraldine Page, when she first went to New York. But some of you may like this book more than I did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 9/4/2013

    " What an excellent memoir! A thoroughly enjoyable (and quick) read by this down-to-earth actress. Highly recommended!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patsy Hall | 8/21/2013

    " First part is much like the book I've been writing. Too bad I'm not famous, so someone will want to publish it! If you're from Texas and a baby boomer, it's an interesting read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 8/20/2013

    " I enjoyed learning about her warm and nurturing family and the path her career took. She portrays herself as a normal, humble persona that I want to believe and hope is true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 8/20/2013

    " The ordinary-looking actress with great and extraordinary talent has endured and enjoyed a simple life. Her grief isn't acting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 7/22/2013

    " The story itself was OK but what made it special was listening to Sissy Spacek read the book herself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 6/28/2013

    " Excellent book ESPECIALLY if you're a Sissy Spacek fan like me :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 2/25/2013

    " Slightly rushed once she meets her husband but still a very interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 12/12/2012

    " Enjoyed getting to know one of my fave actresses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy Mulder | 11/29/2012

    " She's led an interesting life, but did not tell her story inthe depth I was looking for. She was incredible in Coal Miner's Daughter, and I would have liked to hear more about that--and her other films as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele | 10/29/2012

    " Loved this book. If you are a fan of Sissy, you will love this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlene | 10/13/2012

    " I liked reading about her life. I like her movies too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 8/30/2012

    " Now I need to see some of her very first movies! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 8/28/2012

    " Such a great book! Sissy is so ordinary really and she's grateful for being ordinary. An enjoyable quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krisi Kranz | 7/15/2012

    " Liked the book. She is just as she seems a down-home girl from the country. Somehow she has managed to keep he family safe from Hollywood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luke Womick | 5/18/2012

    " It starts slow then really cooks. I read this and saw Tree of Life. So great. Such a cool, humble and bohemian lady. Total ruler. "

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About the Author

Sissy Spacek has been one of film's most respected actresses for more than three decades. Her many honors include an Academy Award®(Coal Miner's Daughter), five additional Oscar® nominations (Carrie, Missing, The River, Crimes of the Heart, and In the Bedroom), three Golden Globe Awards and numerous critics awards. Some of Spacek's other film credits include Raggedy Man (directed by husband Jack Fisk), A Home at the End of the World, The Straight Story, Affliction, Badlands, and The Long Walk Home.