Hannibal Free Public Library

In Pieces


Sally Field

January 24, 2022

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.




An American icon tells her own story for the first time — about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.  One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen.  Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother.  Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.




  1. Why do you think the author chose In Pieces as the title of her memoir? What does the title mean to you in terms of the story? Do you think your experience of the book would have been different if it had a different title? Why or why not?


  1. Field’s opening chapter focuses on “My Grandmother’s Daughter,” telling the story of her mother and the “world of women” who raised Margaret, and would later help raise Sally and Ricky. What is the significance of this world to young Sally and to the book itself?


  1. When Sally is four years old, she meets her future stepfather, Jocko, for the first time. How do you see this moment playing out in the rest of the book, and in Field’s personal and professional lives as an adult? How do you think her life might have been different if she had learned a different lesson from that moment, or if her mother had rushed in to comfort the scared child?


  1. Family relationships are central to the book, especially Sally’s complicated but loving one with her own mother, Margaret. Describe this relationship. How do you think Field’s relationship with Margaret informed her own actions as a mother of three sons later on?


  1. Field describes her acting as a time when “I felt free…I could hear myself.” Why do you think this was so valuable for her?


  1. After the casting agent stops seventeen-year-old Sally on the street and invites her to audition for the sitcom Gidget, Field says, “Something had reached out of nowhere to change my life, just as it had for my mother and even my grandmother before her.” (102)  Do you believe chance, or fate, is always simple coincidence, or something more?


  1. A number of very different men flow in and out of Field’s life over the course of the book. What do you think drew her romantically to certain people? How much of the decisions we make about who we love are unconsciously driven by established patterns in our own history?


  1. Field writes intimately of many traumatic events in her young life, but rarely states them matter-of-factly on the page. Indeed, many of the most painful revelations are unveiled only gradually. Why do you think she chose to write her own story this way? Do you find that this storytelling style added to your experience of the book? Why or why not?


  1. In Pieces tells vivid, revealing, and often very funny stories about Field’s early career. Why do you think her primary focus in the memoir was on those early years, rather than the big blockbusters of the 1980s and 1990s?


  1. Do you consider this memoir a “feminist” book? Why or why not?


Adapted from: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/In-Pieces.pdf and https://www.grandcentralpublishing.com/titles/sally-field/in-pieces/9781549143076/