Tuesday, April 10, 2012

‘Bitter & Sweet’ – A Racing Wife’s Tale

Credit: Paula Thompson/Skirts and Scuffs
Ashley Judd is a famed actress of film and TV, including her new series Missing, daughter and sister of Naomi and Wynonna Judd of country music fame, and wife of IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti. Think her life is all roses and rainbows? Think again.

All That is Bitter & Sweet, written by Judd with Maryanne Vollers, is more memoir than autobiography, skipping to pieces and places in Judd’s life rather than going year by year through an amazingly difficult life, from childhood to adulthood. There’s no sugar-coating here: Judd admits to her problems and the problems of those around her with frankness and vulnerability. She also delves deep into her humanitarian efforts in some of the world’s most neglected areas, trips in which she promised numerous women “I will not forget you” – and she hasn’t, weaving many of their stories into her own.

If you’re looking for sordid details of her life with Franchitti, you won’t find them here: this is more about her journey of self-exploration and her advocacy work, and how she used one to benefit the other and vice-versa. Franchitti is mentioned throughout the book, but is part of the background here, not the centerpiece.

Judd recollects meetings with fellow international advocates like U2’s Bono and Salma Hayek, spiritual leaders like Desmond Tutu, and men and women around the world who have given their lives and time to helping those less fortunate. She also remembers her own troubled life, her battles with depression and codependency, and even the good times, though they seemed few and far between.

Again, if you’re looking for the story of her life with Franchitti, look elsewhere. This is not the typical tale you would expect to hear from a glamorous woman who happens to be married to one of the world’s greatest race car drivers – but there is nothing typical about Ashley Judd.

“All That is Bitter & Sweet” and other books featured in Race Fan’s Book Shelf are available through Amazon.com.


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