The actress wants her new book Wildflower to touch readers: 'I hope that every once in a while it catches you inconveniently feeling something'

By Julie Jordan
October 22, 2015 11:15 AM
Dave Benett/Getty

When Drew Barrymore first began writing her new book, Wildflower, she knew she wanted it to be “easy reading” for people. “I didn’t want to write anything heavy,” she explains. “I knew that it would not have anything to do with my past as what you think you know. There’s always so much more to people and there’s always so much more fun things than everybody knows sometimes.”

Barrymore’s busy life as actress, business mogul – she co-founded Flower Beauty, Flower Eyewear and Barrymore Wines – wife to art consultant Will Kopelman, 38, and mom to their two daughters, Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months, left little time for moments of reflection. Yet the idea of sitting down and putting her personal stories to paper was exciting.

“I’m certainly not known for being boring. I think I’m definitely known for being fun or wild so I wasn’t trying to prove that,” she says. “I also think things that are more emotional and raw are also a lot lighter than they seemed. Someone once said to me, ‘Your life It’s so sad.’ And I was like, ‘Well, no, it’s not to me, but I could see how you would think that.’ That’s the heavy perspective. Are you kidding me? My life is amazing.”

The cover of Drew Barrymore's book, Wildflower
Diego Uchitel

Barrymore’s book, Wildflower hits bookshelves on Oct. 27.

Chatting over a glass of ros wine and a bacon cheeseburger at a bustling restaurant in Manhattan, Barrymore explains that she didn’t want the book to be a memoir. “I was just trying to tell stories,” she says. “I was excited about inconveniently making you feel something because it made me feel things when I was writing it. After it was finished, I was like, I think this has become something about the in-between moments that really no one was privy to.”

Barrymore’s heartfelt tales in the book include poignant memories from her childhood, like getting her breakthrough role in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and sweet moments spent with her maternal grandfather to her adventures living on her own by age 15 as an emancipated adult and learning the basics, like how to do laundry. “I was very confused Which machines were which? Was this the washer or the dryer? What the hell?” she writes. “Like a kid cheating on a test, I just started to spy on whatever other people were doing.”

The actress says she wrote the book especially with her young daughters in mind. “It really is for them. When I first started having children, people were like, ‘Well, what you going to tell them about [your upbringing]?'” Barrymore says. “And there was always a connotation and insinuation of, ‘You should be ashamed,’ But that’s crazy. [My daughters] are going to know I’m not some holier-than-thou person who just doesn’t want them to live. I just want to guide them in the best way possible.”

Drew Barrymore Shares Her Favorite Childhood Memories

Writing the book “was a really beautiful, year-long process,” adds Barrymore, who would steal away for three hours a day, two to three times a week to work on it. “The first stories I wrote at a coffee house in our summer vacation town,” she says. “I would sneak out before the girls were up. I put my laptop in my bicycle basket and rode to the coffee house. It was very cliché but I was really excited.”

The actress’s joy exudes from the book, which is what she hopes readers will take away with them. “Like writing about my dog, Flossy, I was bawling,” she recalls. “And if I’m laughing while writing about Cameron [Diaz] and these jack-asses that we were with, hurling ourselves out of a plane, and then crying writing about my grandfather in this Hawaiian hotel room, I’m like, Okay, maybe all that will come through.”