Brooke Shields’ Faces Her Family’s Demons In ‘There Was A Little Girl’
Family relationships can truly be the most complicated of all, and yet we always hope they can change for the better. In Brooke Shields new book, There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, she candidly recounts how the course of her life was forever altered by her mother's addiction to alcohol.
As someone who lived with an alcoholic parent, I could relate to the feelings and emotions behind Shields' firsthand account, and therefore found this book difficult to read. Not because it wasn't well written or inspiring in its message, because it was, but rather because the subject matter touched places in my heart and soul that I thought had healed years ago.
There Was A Little Girl not only offers readers a glimpse into the actress's life, but it also allows readers like me to look into their own pasts and encourages them to peel back the layers of their lives. Shields suggests that if we reflect on our history, we can see things a little more clearly than before. This was particularly the case for me when I read this beautiful book.
Shields further reminds us that every child seeks approval, guidance and love from his or her parents. If this need is not met, children will always wonder why. She paints a tender yet realistic portrait showcasing both the many triumphs and failures of her and her mother.
In fact, the most touching part of the book for me was the epilogue where Shields writes a letter to her mother. Here she tells her mother she loves her.
I realized that up until the end I was fighting the same fight. I was navigating your demons. I was trying to do for you what only you could do for yourself. I was never going to 'fix' you. I see too that much of your unhappiness was independent of anything I did or was, but a child, one carries that responsibility. I did not have faith that you would be OK, so I kept trying to be the source of your happiness and self-worth." (397)
Those words convey the heavy burden of responsibility many children carry when raised by a parent with an addiction. It shapes you in ways that you can't even imagine. However, Shields also reveals how she found the strength and desire to be someone better for her family and friends, but most importantly, for herself. She chooses to live authentically so she can be present in the lives of those she loves. Brooke Shields' There Was A Little Girl is an uplifting and frank memoir you don't want to miss!
THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL
The Real Story of My Mother and Me
By Brooke Shields
399 pp. Dutton. $26.95.