In this intimate, beautifully crafted collection, Driver writes with disarming charm and candor about her bohemian upbringing between England and Barbados; her post-university travails and triumphs—from being the only student in her acting school not taken on by an agent to being discovered at a rave in a muddy field in the English countryside; shooting to fame in one of the most influential films of the 1990s and being nominated for an Academy Award; and finding the true light of her life, her son. She chronicles her unconventional career path, including the time she gave up on acting to sell jeans in Uruguay, her journey as a single parent, and the heartbreaking loss of her mother.
... full of pithy and sharp recollections of her rebelliousness and determination ... often at its strongest in its more intimate moments, when she seeks the kinds of connections she was denied as a child and could only fake for the cameras ... The fiercest writing in Managing Expectations is in its concluding chapter about her mother, fashion designer Gaynor Churchward, who died last year following a cancer diagnosis ... Driver’s memoir isn’t filled with much in the way of celebrity gossip or outsize personal trauma. But it reflects an actor’s close attention to strange, exasperating, heartbreaking behavior all around her, conveyed with wit and poise.
... latest in a long list of essay collections by celebrities that have been published over the past decade or so. It’s also one of the best. From the very first essay, Surprise, which begins with an enraged nine-year-old Driver being driven back to boarding school against her will after a weekend at home, Driver establishes her distinct literary voice: warm but unsentimental, emotionally insightful, with a strong sense of the absurd ... she brilliantly captures her child self’s angry sense of abandonment by both her parents, but presents that rage from the perspective of an adult who has come to terms with those parents’ faults ... Driver is equally adept at exploring the events of her adult life. She writes movingly about the complexities of family, the death of her mother and becoming a mother herself. She writes powerfully and without any self-pity about fame and the unpredictable life of an actor, openly acknowledging the failures and difficult times ... readers who come to this memoir looking for celebrity gossip will find something much more substantial: an intelligent and emotionally engaging work by a warm and witty writer.
Driver candidly shares her joys and sorrows and successes and failures with wit, grace, and humor. She has an eye for the telling detail and easily parses the significance of each experience she writes about. The final essay in the collection is particularly affecting. In it, she writes movingly about her mother’s final illness and death in a way that will connect with anyone who has faced that experience. Fans of arts memoirs will enjoy this thoughtful and elegant book.