The actress explores her journey to Hollywood, fame and being a single parent among her collection of personal essays, Managing Expectations, debuting in May
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Minnie Driver
Minnie Driver
| Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Minnie Driver is ready to tell her own story.

From growing up in England and Barbados before embarking on her journey in Hollywood to becoming a single mother to her son Henry, 13, Driver, 51, is now sharing it all in a collection of personal essays, Managing Expectations, debuting in May.

"I have spent the greater part of the last 30 years synthesizing other people's stories," she tells PEOPLE exclusively. "It was fun—it still is! But eventually, if storytelling is the central thesis of your life, you start to question why you aren't telling your own."

Driver insists she "wanted to write stories that speak to the commonality we all have with our own idea of failure and success—and that of the world's," she adds. "How, no matter what we do for a living, our lives are both hard and exalted; love works out or it doesn't, we are both confident and insecure and there is no glamour in profound loss. My life has been—and still is—messy, odd and lovely. I've spent my life creating things and this is the next chapter (pun intended)."

Minnie Driver Managing Expectations
Credit: HarperOne

When it came time to decide what parts of her life she was willing to share, Driver "wanted the stories to be chronological and to include something from each of the decades I've been alive," she says.

"There are stories I have told to friends for years and having watched and loved the reaction they induce, I knew must be included. There are much harder stories of heartbreak and the slippery ephemera of fame that I had to talk myself into telling because they were huge inflection points in my life and to me, deserved acknowledgment," she says.

The actress, whose mother, Gaynor Churchward, died while she was writing the book, was torn to include her thoughts about the loss in the collection.

"For many months, although I saw no way of including it, her death was all I could write about," Driver says. "Somehow though, maybe from the action of just sitting down every day and writing my way through the most difficult thing that has happened in my life so far, a story emerged that I could share, that I wanted to tell. So, in some ways, and in this instance, the mechanics of writing, determined what I would write about."

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Driver, who also hosts her iHeart original podcast, Minnie Questions with Minnie Driver, hopes that while reading the book, readers will "laugh! And feel some things and recognize circumstances that we all share in this human experience."

"I hope they are reminded that life not working out, is in fact life working out—most of the time—and that it's our expectation of how things 'should' look that often trap us. However gilded someone's life looks from the outside, I'm pretty sure the same bumbling, unsure, sometimes joyful chaos is going on inside all of us."

Managing Expectations will be published by HarperOne on May 3, 2022.