October 22, 2015 10:45 PM

Drew Barrymore opens up about the lessons she learned throughout her troubled childhood and how she finally found her happily ever after. Subscribe now for this exclusive interview, only in PEOPLE!

Drew Barrymore has already lived quite a life.

After finding fame at age 7 following her breakthrough role on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the actress has spent years making movies and finding her way in the industry. Yet it’s her role as mom to daughters, Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months, with husband, Will Kopelman, that has most changed her life.

In her new book, Wildflower, Barrymore, 40, reflects on “the in-between moments” of her very public childhood and shares intimate stories — from working on the E.T. set with director and mentor Steven Spielberg to the professional relationships and lifelong friendships she’s made with Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz and her producing partner at Flower Films, Nancy Jovonen.

“It was such a private, quiet thing to write the book,” she says. “It was just for me. My girlfriends aren’t even in it enough as far as I’m concerned because they are such a big part of my life. They seem like just my friends, but my friends were like my first family. But it was a very quiet thing. I really dedicate it to my kids.”

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So would she encourage her daughters if they want to become actors? “One hundred percent,” she says. Even at a young age? “No!” she immediately responds.

“Not even a little. Not until they’re 18. I know it sounds crazy, but I want them to be kids. But I would by no means poo-poo a thing I love so much!”

Even after becoming an emancipated adult by the age of 15, Barrymore says she’s grateful for the invaluable lessons she learned about herself as an actress and a person along the way. “People ask in a weird way, ‘Would you let them be actors?!’ I’m like, ‘What are you insinuating, that acting is so horrible?’ What is it that you are saying?’ ” she says, laughing. “It’s wonderful, of course I would encourage it! They just have to be kids.”

“I think I heard Meryl Streep say something like, ‘I let my kids be in school plays when they were teenagers,’ ” Barrymore adds. “And I’m like, ‘Ooh, I don’t even know if that’s true but that sounds good.’ Whatever Meryl says.”

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

For more of our exclusive interview with Barrymore — in which she reveals her own memories of childhood and the happiness she’s found as a wife and mother — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Julie Jordan

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