The Great Peace: A Memoir

Mena Suvari. Hachette, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-87452-9
In this haunting debut, actor Suvari—best known for her roles in American Beauty, and American Pie—chronicles her life and rise in Hollywood, and opens up for the first time about being sexually abused. She traces how her seemingly idyllic childhood in the 1980s in Rhode Island crumbled as her parents faced financial trouble and the family moved to South Carolina. There, she started middle school and was groomed into an inappropriate sexual relationship by her older brother's friend. In frank and searing prose, Suvari illustrates how this violation sent her into a tailspin, even as her acting career took off at age 13 and she moved to Los Angeles. "I gravitated toward men who took advantage of my vulnerability and confusion," she writes. "A photographer. A manager. A lighting engineer." Time and again she found herself in toxic relationships—including two marriages she deems "ill-conceived escapes"—and numbed herself with drugs, all the while clinching leading roles and trying to find her footing in the limelight. Suvari writes that until now, "this life of mine was... my secret world of shame." While the experiences she details are devastating, her ability to weave them into a narrative of empowerment is what makes this so moving. In bringing her struggles to light, Suvari reclaims her story and will surely inspire others to do the same. (July)
Reviewed on : 07/27/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6540-5
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