Ashley Judd is an award-winning film and stage actor known for her roles in both box-office hits and art-house gems, and the daughter and sister of country-music royalty. In 2002, drawing on a deep well of empathy, she found her true calling: as a humanitarian and advocate for those suffering in neglected parts of the world.
Asked why she was opting out of a successful career, walking away while she was one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, Ashley herself could not provide an answer. She simply knew that after her first trip to the notorious brothels, slums, and hospices of southeast Asia, her own life depended on advocating on behalf of the vulnerable. Promising each new sister, I will never forget you, Ashley began writing extraordinary diaries -- on which this memoir is based -- expanding her capacity to relate to, and to share with a global audience, stories of survival and resilience.
Along the way, Ashley realized that the coping strategies she had developed to deal with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment, were no longer working. Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Ashley found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but an expanded kit of spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work.
Now, in this deeply moving and unforgettable memoir, Ashley Judd describes her odyssey, as a left-behind lost child attains international prominence as a fiercely dedicated advocate. Her story ranges from anger to forgiveness, isolation to interdependence, depression to activism. In telling it, she resoundingly answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and service to others.
Listen to Ashley Judd talk about how she came to write All That Is Bitter and Sweet in the video below:
Publish Date: April 2011
Publisher's Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
It's widely known that Ashley Judd is a popular actress, with a roster of both large and small films on her CV, and hails from the same family that produced a country music sensation, but Judd is also a dedicated philanthropist and a global ambassador for Population Services International (PSI). In this frank and heartfelt memoir, Judd reveals the tumultuous and abusive childhood that led her to wrestle with anger and abandonment. She worked through these issues in therapy in order to recommit to both her acting and her role as an advocate for sex workers and public health issues. Skeptics, who think of Judd as another actress out of her depth, should be quieted by Judd's completion of a masters degree at Harvard University in 2010, better equipping her to carry on her mission of social justice. In his foreword, Kristof calls Judd a serious advocate following "a calling." On paper she is sensitive, thoughtful, devoid of narcissism or unnecessary drama, and shows superb judgment in collaborating with Vollers, whose 2007 book Lone Wolf, about abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, was excellent. Judd's resolve and dedication to her work is humbling and inspiring, and her memoir is fantastic. (Apr.)