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The Great Peace: A Memoir

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A memoir by award-winning actor Mena Suvari, best-known forher iconic roles in American Beauty, American Pie, and Six Feet Under. The Great Peace is a harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in Hollywood, in which young teenage model-turned-actor Mena Suvari lost herself to sex, drugs and bad, often abusive relationships even as blockbuster movies made her famous. A memoir by award-winning actor Mena Suvari, best-known forher iconic roles in American Beauty, American Pie, and Six Feet Under. The Great Peace is a harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in Hollywood, in which young teenage model-turned-actor Mena Suvari lost herself to sex, drugs and bad, often abusive relationships even as blockbuster movies made her famous. It's about growing up in the 90s, with a soundtrack ranging from The Doors to Deee-Lite, fashion from denim to day-glo, and a woman dealing with the lasting psychological scars of abuse, yet knowing deep inside she desires so much more from life. Within these vulnerable pages, Mena not only reveals her own mistakes, but also the lessons she learned and her efforts to understand and grow rather than casting blame. As such, she makes this a timeless story of girl empowerment and redemption, of somebody using their voice to rediscover their past, seek redemption, and to understand their mistakes, and ultimately come to terms with their power as an individual to find a way and a will to live—and thrive. Poignant, intimate, and powerful, this book will resonate with anyone who has found themselves lost in the darkness, thinking there's no way out. Ultimately, Mena's story proves that, no matter how hopeless it may seem, there's always a light at the end.


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A memoir by award-winning actor Mena Suvari, best-known forher iconic roles in American Beauty, American Pie, and Six Feet Under. The Great Peace is a harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in Hollywood, in which young teenage model-turned-actor Mena Suvari lost herself to sex, drugs and bad, often abusive relationships even as blockbuster movies made her famous. A memoir by award-winning actor Mena Suvari, best-known forher iconic roles in American Beauty, American Pie, and Six Feet Under. The Great Peace is a harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in Hollywood, in which young teenage model-turned-actor Mena Suvari lost herself to sex, drugs and bad, often abusive relationships even as blockbuster movies made her famous. It's about growing up in the 90s, with a soundtrack ranging from The Doors to Deee-Lite, fashion from denim to day-glo, and a woman dealing with the lasting psychological scars of abuse, yet knowing deep inside she desires so much more from life. Within these vulnerable pages, Mena not only reveals her own mistakes, but also the lessons she learned and her efforts to understand and grow rather than casting blame. As such, she makes this a timeless story of girl empowerment and redemption, of somebody using their voice to rediscover their past, seek redemption, and to understand their mistakes, and ultimately come to terms with their power as an individual to find a way and a will to live—and thrive. Poignant, intimate, and powerful, this book will resonate with anyone who has found themselves lost in the darkness, thinking there's no way out. Ultimately, Mena's story proves that, no matter how hopeless it may seem, there's always a light at the end.

30 review for The Great Peace: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    WOW. This is an incredibly brave, powerful, raw and vulnerable memoir of a lifetime of sexual and emotional abuse. I had no idea the trauma Mena Suvari endured from such a young age and the way it shaped the rest of her life through a series of abusive relationships, drug use in attempts to cope and unhealthy body image issues. Listening to her tell her story was so moving. I loved that she finally found some healing through therapy, healthy relationships and the power of sharing her story. A mu WOW. This is an incredibly brave, powerful, raw and vulnerable memoir of a lifetime of sexual and emotional abuse. I had no idea the trauma Mena Suvari endured from such a young age and the way it shaped the rest of her life through a series of abusive relationships, drug use in attempts to cope and unhealthy body image issues. Listening to her tell her story was so moving. I loved that she finally found some healing through therapy, healthy relationships and the power of sharing her story. A must read, especially for fans of Know my name. Read with care though as this book may be triggering for anyone who has experienced similar trauma. CW: rape, sexual and emotional abuse, drug use Favorite quote: "I want this book to provide companionship to those who are isolated and alone. I hope it can be a light showing there is a way out. I never want anyone to look at me or anyone else who has gone through similar experiences and ask 'How could you let that happen to you? And not just once but repeatedly.' It's not our fault. I spent a lifetime hiding from the truth then I discovered that truth was my power. Truth is our power."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen T.

    I had a real hard time connecting with the author in this book. She did overcome some horrific events in her life and hearing she had no stable family members or friends to help her is very heart breaking. Reading her thoughts and words just come across very cold which is where the disconnection comes. Maybe that is because she is still working on her thoughts and who she is, whatever it is I didn't feel it. Again, it could be just her style of writing, over all I am so glad she was able to overc I had a real hard time connecting with the author in this book. She did overcome some horrific events in her life and hearing she had no stable family members or friends to help her is very heart breaking. Reading her thoughts and words just come across very cold which is where the disconnection comes. Maybe that is because she is still working on her thoughts and who she is, whatever it is I didn't feel it. Again, it could be just her style of writing, over all I am so glad she was able to overcome all the horrible things she had to deal with and continues to work on herself mentally.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    I don’t know exactly what to say about this book. I got 1/2 way through and just could not take another minute of it. While the author was brutally honest about her continuous drug use and explicit sexual activity (over and over and over and over and over) there was some contradictory excuses she gave for always being the victim. It was super frustrating and sadly I just could not read another page.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nikki14

    I don't particularly like writing reviews of memoirs but the writing was not great in this. She jumped around quite a bit to the point where it was clear that chapters overlapped but the reader isn't clear on exactly which parts overlap. in addition, hardly any dates were included so clear chronology was also missing. The part that I didn't love, was the choice to make almost every chapter about the men in her life rather than herself. This was a very strange choice for a memoir. Especially near I don't particularly like writing reviews of memoirs but the writing was not great in this. She jumped around quite a bit to the point where it was clear that chapters overlapped but the reader isn't clear on exactly which parts overlap. in addition, hardly any dates were included so clear chronology was also missing. The part that I didn't love, was the choice to make almost every chapter about the men in her life rather than herself. This was a very strange choice for a memoir. Especially near the end of the book, she defines herself in terms of the relationships she's in and not about who she is as herself. As a result, I really don't know who she is or what she stands for. I only know what she has been through. I hope she's in a much better place now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    All I can say about this book is that it is terribly written. It is disjointed, more like a rambling of her memories. Looking forward to reading about a troubled girl who rose above her trials and tribulations, I was disappointed by the way she conveyed her emergence from her difficult past. My advice is not to waste your time. I’m glad that I read this for free on my library app as it would have been a complete waste of money. I’m only sorry that I didn’t abandon it after several chapters; I re All I can say about this book is that it is terribly written. It is disjointed, more like a rambling of her memories. Looking forward to reading about a troubled girl who rose above her trials and tribulations, I was disappointed by the way she conveyed her emergence from her difficult past. My advice is not to waste your time. I’m glad that I read this for free on my library app as it would have been a complete waste of money. I’m only sorry that I didn’t abandon it after several chapters; I remained optimistic that it would redeem itself with the progression of her memoir. Alas, it was not meant to be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mo Smith

    ehhhhh i have real mixed feelings on this. on one hand, holy shit, this girl has had some truly terrible things happen to her and i just want to give her a hug. on the other hand, “this man was horrible to me and i got away from him and then i met THIS man” got real exhausting and eye-rolling after awhile.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Loni

    Heavily focused on her many toxic relationships, sexual abuse, her drug use and trauma she endured throughout her life. I applaud her for her openness, often in graphic detail which at times was a bit much. I mostly liked this book, but at times it was frustrating that she kept getting into so many toxic relationships and staying in them for years. But I realize that's part of the cycle from trauma, and not seeking help and healing from it for many years. Heavily focused on her many toxic relationships, sexual abuse, her drug use and trauma she endured throughout her life. I applaud her for her openness, often in graphic detail which at times was a bit much. I mostly liked this book, but at times it was frustrating that she kept getting into so many toxic relationships and staying in them for years. But I realize that's part of the cycle from trauma, and not seeking help and healing from it for many years.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Get this woman some help. This is one of the least peaceful books you'll ever read, quite the opposite if it's title. Suvari goes through her bad life choices and blames most of her problems on other people. There certainly should be empathy for what she says was childhood sexual abuse from a three-year-older boy when she was around 12, but that doesn't account for all the horrible decisions she made the rest of her life and how she wrecked her relationships. The book is depressing and uninspirin Get this woman some help. This is one of the least peaceful books you'll ever read, quite the opposite if it's title. Suvari goes through her bad life choices and blames most of her problems on other people. There certainly should be empathy for what she says was childhood sexual abuse from a three-year-older boy when she was around 12, but that doesn't account for all the horrible decisions she made the rest of her life and how she wrecked her relationships. The book is depressing and uninspiring. There is very little about the movies or TV shows she has made. Instead it's her attempt to make sense of her life. She thinks "The Universe" controls her destiny and what happens to her. In truth she has had addictions and mental health issues for decades. Her cavalier attitude toward doing drugs or bedding men before pushing them away belies an insecurity and immaturity that doesn't appear to be resolved. The last eight years of her life are wrapped up in a few pages where she tries to spin everything positive by "reclaiming my power" (having her breast implants removed?) and in a few sentences stating her new-found "truth" of admitting to doing drugs in order to numb her pain due to the "emotional abuse" of others. The real truth, after reading her book, is that she was abusive and often the one hurting others. But her pages are not filled with apologies. Instead she ends by thanking "The Universe for continuing to guide me." Mena Suvari, all that means is that you're still guiding yourself and that you still haven't accepted objective truth. instead of writing a book that rehashes all the terrible moments of her life so that she can blame-shift, she should spend more time in therapy to admit causing her own problems, find true spirituality, and end up with a great peace.

  9. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Twiles

    Sadly, I had to DNF this. It was all about Mena's rather insipid - and in one case downright repugnant - boyfriends and not her acting career, as I'd assumed it would be. I think (maybe?) the point of the book was that (eventually) Mena learns she doesn't need a man to survive but I couldn't get far enough to ascertain if that is factual. Why she preferred to write a book about her unimpressive boyfriends rather than her impressive professional accomplishments, I couldn't tell you. If you get su Sadly, I had to DNF this. It was all about Mena's rather insipid - and in one case downright repugnant - boyfriends and not her acting career, as I'd assumed it would be. I think (maybe?) the point of the book was that (eventually) Mena learns she doesn't need a man to survive but I couldn't get far enough to ascertain if that is factual. Why she preferred to write a book about her unimpressive boyfriends rather than her impressive professional accomplishments, I couldn't tell you. If you get successful enough in life that you manage to get a deal to write a memoir, people probably want to hear about you, not the various losers you've dated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This is a beautiful memoir that is very personal and heartbreaking because the author truly bares her soul. She talks about how she lost herself in Hollywood as a teen to sex, drugs, and abusive relationships. Meanwhile, she became famous in the 90s for her blockbuster movies. The author shares stories that reveal mistakes and includes all the lessons she learned about herself along the way. She made a decision to grow from those experiences rather than casting blame. I thought it was interestin This is a beautiful memoir that is very personal and heartbreaking because the author truly bares her soul. She talks about how she lost herself in Hollywood as a teen to sex, drugs, and abusive relationships. Meanwhile, she became famous in the 90s for her blockbuster movies. The author shares stories that reveal mistakes and includes all the lessons she learned about herself along the way. She made a decision to grow from those experiences rather than casting blame. I thought it was interesting how the author wrote about fame and how it happened to her all of a sudden. She was easily recognized for her work, yet no one knew what was going on behind the curtain. I loved this very powerful quote, "That's how it was. Deep down in the marrow of my bones where no one could get, no matter how they ripped into my flesh, I held onto my dreams and the hope I had for myself. I looked for the beauty that was all around me, compelled to see it no matter how hard it was to find. I knew there was a glimmer of light that I could follow through the darkness. I never got the apologies I wanted from the people who hurt me, but I came to understand they were necessary for my well-being. I needed only one person's forgiveness. This is her story." To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/men...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    How is it even possible to rate someone’s memoir? I would think you really need to separate the writing style from the content and message. It is apparent that Mena Suvari wrote this all herself, and for folks who tend to critique writing style more harshly it would be harder to connect with this book. However, I feel like the true value for the reader comes in the form of its message. Suvari’s vulnerability and search for acceptance and love while suffering over a decade of physical and emotion How is it even possible to rate someone’s memoir? I would think you really need to separate the writing style from the content and message. It is apparent that Mena Suvari wrote this all herself, and for folks who tend to critique writing style more harshly it would be harder to connect with this book. However, I feel like the true value for the reader comes in the form of its message. Suvari’s vulnerability and search for acceptance and love while suffering over a decade of physical and emotional abuse make this a story that sounds too horrible to possibly be true. But it is, and hopefully it resonates with others who may have gone through a similar experience. I really enjoy reading memoirs as a reminder of our common humanity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    chris

    HIGH 3 trigger warnings: sexual assaults, drug use, some graphic sex scenes, emotional manipulation/abuse a true fighter with a great story of hope. not at all what I expected because mostly I had no idea what she's had to survive. didn’t like: the heavy narration and very little dialogue, the ending wasn’t as much of a gut punch as I hoped for, the backstory parts that were threaded in which interrupted the pacing/flow, for me, and sent the reader backwards in time when it could have been covered HIGH 3 trigger warnings: sexual assaults, drug use, some graphic sex scenes, emotional manipulation/abuse a true fighter with a great story of hope. not at all what I expected because mostly I had no idea what she's had to survive. didn’t like: the heavy narration and very little dialogue, the ending wasn’t as much of a gut punch as I hoped for, the backstory parts that were threaded in which interrupted the pacing/flow, for me, and sent the reader backwards in time when it could have been covered within that time period instead, also it might have been helpful since she did her own narration to have had her work with a vocal coach/narration expert (maybe she did?) to bring out a more dramatic vocal telling of her own story as opposed to it just being a story that was read outloud. liked: her poetry wish she had included so much more than she did, the honest and bare vulnerability, the story flowed, good pacing, some really great dramatic scenes in there that had me so rooting for her (when she jumped on that dude, like wow), there’s clearly an arc going on.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm not sure where to begin with this, but I think it will be better to start with the positives. If you're familiar with Mena's work you may have assumed wrongly (so wrongly) that she was similar to her choir girl character in American Pie. Well, Mena was anything but that and her actual story is deeply surprising, which makes her memoir extremely interesting. To her credit, Mena pulls back every single layer and allows her readers to know her on the rawest level possible. The girl has guts. Mu I'm not sure where to begin with this, but I think it will be better to start with the positives. If you're familiar with Mena's work you may have assumed wrongly (so wrongly) that she was similar to her choir girl character in American Pie. Well, Mena was anything but that and her actual story is deeply surprising, which makes her memoir extremely interesting. To her credit, Mena pulls back every single layer and allows her readers to know her on the rawest level possible. The girl has guts. Much of what she went through was absolutely sickening, especially those situations with much older men and it affirms the belief that there is a lot of sexual assault that is overlooked in Hollywood. I am impressed that she was willing to share so much and I was admittingly intrigued by the shock value of everything she shared. I am sorry for the ways she was taken advantage of by men who should've known better and will likely never be punished for what they did. Now, it is extremely hard to read a memoir and not develop feelings positive or negative toward the person sharing their story. This is where Mena's memoir loses me. While I am empathetic to many of her situations, I didn't come out of this one thinking about how much she's learned or grown. I couldn't help but notice that every end of a relationship was immediately followed by a new one, and sometimes the new one had even started before the end of the old one. By the end, it was clear to me that although Mena has perhaps identified her issues with going from one horrible relationship to another, she doesn't seem capable of being alone. At times she seems to recognize that she hasn't allowed herself time alone to figure out her true self but she just as quickly moves right on to talking about the next guy. Sadly, her memoir makes it clear that she defines herself by the relationships she has instead of truly taking the time to know who she is without a man. It's also harder to be empathetic to someone who seems to have done her fair share of crappy things to people as well. Outside of my issue with her dependency on relationships, I really took issue with how superficial she was at times. I got tired of her constant mention of designer names - it would've been fine if it was just to support stories she shared, but I felt like there were constant unnecessary name drops throughout the book. Additionally, when she is on vacation and injured, her potrayal of herself at the hospital is that of a spoiled brat. So in a nutshell, while I felt empathy for a lot of what Mena went through, I came out of this one liking her a lot less not because of the story she shared, but because of what it revealed about her true self. I think Mena has the potential for growth and change, but she's got a long way to go.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    My gosh I could not finish this book. What an entitled victim. White spoilt attention seeking brat who plays the victim and is rude and hurtful to so many people she encounters. Your ‘pain’ and ‘trauma’ seem to be an excuse for all of your abhorrent behaviour. F off and read Yenomi Parks book. A lesson in humanity you clearly need!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carey Calvert

    What immediately comes to mind when a celebrity publishes a memoir? Is it a tell all? Trite. Does the celebrity have a new project to push? Cliche. Why now? The enigma that is Mena Suvari published her memoir The Great Peace (the title of a book of poetry and stories she wrote in her late teens) in July.  Mena’s mission is two-fold: that she is still that chick (whom Lester Burnham and I fell in love with in American Beauty), but more importantly, to help others realize there is light at the end o What immediately comes to mind when a celebrity publishes a memoir? Is it a tell all? Trite. Does the celebrity have a new project to push? Cliche. Why now? The enigma that is Mena Suvari published her memoir The Great Peace (the title of a book of poetry and stories she wrote in her late teens) in July.  Mena’s mission is two-fold: that she is still that chick (whom Lester Burnham and I fell in love with in American Beauty), but more importantly, to help others realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel included sex, drugs and abuse. In several short chapters interspersed with her own poetry, Suvari guides us from a little girl who never doubted her ability, through large sweeps of inner turmoil and harrowing relationships (stay away from guys named Tyler and Simone). It was anything but a great peace she sought, and realizes the irony. The reader does as well. And in Suvari’s own words, she often felt disgusted, ashamed, and in denial about what happened to her and what she allowed herself to do and be a part of. Born in a wealthy family whose wealth disappeared as Suvari came of age, Suvari often felt an outsider; someone oblivious, if not in fact, allergic to fame, and with two hit movies within months of each other, her star catapulted. Do I consider myself great? Do I think I'm kind? Do I see myself as lovely? Although with every evaluation I just can't find A way to determine what's true in my mind Time may hold the answer for me I don't know. I can't give up. I can't. ... and she hasn't.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    4.5 - This is a highly readable and deeply personal memoir. I so admire her writing about the truth of her experiences with clarity and insight, and this book should be helpful to other women who may find themselves in abusive, manipulative relationships. She has done a good service for women with her honesty, and one would be hard-pressed not to feel empathy with her struggles. I read this practically in one sitting, as it was so compelling.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Mena is truly brave brutally honest about herself in this book and shares things I know that I would never share. I couldn't put the book down as she careened from one disastrous relationship to the next. She has had and lived an interesting life so far and I hope things continue on a positive path for her. Mena is truly brave brutally honest about herself in this book and shares things I know that I would never share. I couldn't put the book down as she careened from one disastrous relationship to the next. She has had and lived an interesting life so far and I hope things continue on a positive path for her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kami Hubbard

    Thank you for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. No one should ever have to endure that trauma, let alone at such a young age. Thank you for sharing your story and communicating that we are all a work in progress. Your courage and strength will certainly give others in similar situations hope that there is a better life that lies ahead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    William (Bill) Fluke

    Not as bad as Sinead O’Connor “Rememberings” , but close. The first 2/3 of the book had me interested in hearing Mena’s very vulnerable stories of her abuse and toxic life as a young actress. But when it became story after story about her jumping from one bad relationship into another it was hard to keep viewing her as victim. How she could go through all 270 pages without speaking of seeking out some serious mental health counseling to identify her co-dependency is shocking. And the book was fr Not as bad as Sinead O’Connor “Rememberings” , but close. The first 2/3 of the book had me interested in hearing Mena’s very vulnerable stories of her abuse and toxic life as a young actress. But when it became story after story about her jumping from one bad relationship into another it was hard to keep viewing her as victim. How she could go through all 270 pages without speaking of seeking out some serious mental health counseling to identify her co-dependency is shocking. And the book was frustrating at bouncing between full disclosure (all the sex toys and partners) on some subjects and then sweeping over others with an obvious avoidance of key points in her life. Example: how can she speak about “American Beauty” without mentioning at all anything about the accusations and downfall of actor Kevin Spacey. Best example- she is in this long romance and marriage to an Italian named Simone with some mystery behind the $250,000 engagement ring he buys her and that mystery is never revealed. And then she breaks up with Simone after -“he finally confessed what he had been up to”- but the reader is never told what “he was up to”. WTF!? I am not demanding she tell all, but you can’t bring this up if you are not going to tell the reader. I am sure writing this confessional did her good but glad this one was a lend from the library and I didn’t contribute my $$ to Mena Suvari- who leaves us not really knowing anything about her current life other than that she had her breast enhancement reversed!?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Matteson

    This is an incredibly brave, raw, vulnerable memoir of a lifetime of sexual and emotional abuse. I had no idea the trama Mena Suvari endured from such a young age and the way it shaped the rest of her life through a series of abusive relationships, and drug use in attempts to cope. She writes poetry and that was probably my favorite when she would read excerpts of them throughout. Some parts i really felt bad for her, I was empathetic to her making the same mistakes over and over. I’m happy she This is an incredibly brave, raw, vulnerable memoir of a lifetime of sexual and emotional abuse. I had no idea the trama Mena Suvari endured from such a young age and the way it shaped the rest of her life through a series of abusive relationships, and drug use in attempts to cope. She writes poetry and that was probably my favorite when she would read excerpts of them throughout. Some parts i really felt bad for her, I was empathetic to her making the same mistakes over and over. I’m happy she finally found therapy and some healing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    When in doubt, go to the library.

    Just one relationship story after the other, what a boring woman. The first half was incredibly strong, and I was astonished that she's still standing after what she's been through. I thought this was going to be an empowering memoir about a woman finding herself. Suvari has worked, traveled and presumably has women/friends in her life, but you wouldn't know it from reading this. Someone needs to tell her there's a whole world out there. Men are a very small fraction of it. Just one relationship story after the other, what a boring woman. The first half was incredibly strong, and I was astonished that she's still standing after what she's been through. I thought this was going to be an empowering memoir about a woman finding herself. Suvari has worked, traveled and presumably has women/friends in her life, but you wouldn't know it from reading this. Someone needs to tell her there's a whole world out there. Men are a very small fraction of it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin Nudi

    She's an exceptional person and a good storyteller. Enjoyed this one! She's an exceptional person and a good storyteller. Enjoyed this one!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin Lahey

    It’s impossible to forget Mena Suvari’s role in the excellent movie American Beauty. And then of course she was also in American Pie. There was certainly a consistent on-screen persona about her. But was that really an accurate big screen depiction of her personality? Given my recent deep dive into memoirs of actors and musicians linked to my formative years, I just had to read Mena Suvari’s memoir “The Great Peace” to learn about her story, her journey, and how she came to have such a big scree It’s impossible to forget Mena Suvari’s role in the excellent movie American Beauty. And then of course she was also in American Pie. There was certainly a consistent on-screen persona about her. But was that really an accurate big screen depiction of her personality? Given my recent deep dive into memoirs of actors and musicians linked to my formative years, I just had to read Mena Suvari’s memoir “The Great Peace” to learn about her story, her journey, and how she came to have such a big screen image. The title alone was certainly promising and mysterious. There’s a harsh honesty in Suvari’s story, bordering on brutally honest. She shares some incredibly personal stories and issues, basically laying herself bare for all to see… well read. It’s a very sad story where we get a lot more than we could have ever expected. A sobering behind-the-scenes look at her life, her rise to stardom, but more importantly, her very personal struggles and demons. It’s interesting. As readers, we often want to get all the bad stuff in memoirs, and we hope the authors don’t hold back or sugar coat it. In “The Great Peace”, I almost feel like I could have used less revelation. However, I believe that this may have been the only way for Suvari to achieve her true peace, or at least get as close to it as possible. She had to reveal herself, her inner self, and deconstruct her image and any misconceptions around it. She certainly succeeded in doing that, and then some. There were times where I didn’t understand why she kept on detailing certain storylines blow by blow, but then again, that’s not for me to decide as it’s not my story to tell. Maybe that particular part required more effort to exorcism that particular demon. One thing is for sure, we cannot accuse Mena Suvari of not being committed to telling her story. The Great Peace was not a quick and easy exercise to try and make a quick buck. This was a deeply personal cleansing, one that she really did not have to do so publicly. But by choosing to do so, she may save someone else’s life, or at least show them that it is possible to escape what can appear to be an inevitable downward spiral. Avid movie goer’s recollection of Mena Suvari’s big screen depictions may be within the American Beauty or American Pie realm. With “The Great Peace”, she succeeds in debunking an aspect of the American Hollywood Dream…. While we go to a movie to temporarily escape reality, the actors/actresses in that movie may be in it to escape their own reality. This is less of a Hollywood Memoir and more a personal and emotional exorcism. Most of the book is about her repeated relationship issues. Quickly, deeply, and unequivocally jumping into seemingly “meant to be” relationships and marriages are also constantly repeating occurrences. And the phrase “smoked some pot” may be the most used one in the entire book. There is absolutely no doubt that Mena Suvari deserves a tremendous amount of applause for her courage in sharing such an eye-opening life story. It’s a sobering tale, an empowering tale, and a very important tale.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jojo Wise

    I found her book to be interesting but in a way that makes most people watch a train wreck. She claims to be a Mensa but continues on about how she was abused for years and couldn’t hold her drugs, alcohol or money. She plays the victim throughout the book essentially blaming everyone but herself. Lots of the book just seemed unbelievable and overly dramatized. I tried hard to like the book but she came across as a Karen, entitled, unlikeable and insincere. It would have been better if it were f I found her book to be interesting but in a way that makes most people watch a train wreck. She claims to be a Mensa but continues on about how she was abused for years and couldn’t hold her drugs, alcohol or money. She plays the victim throughout the book essentially blaming everyone but herself. Lots of the book just seemed unbelievable and overly dramatized. I tried hard to like the book but she came across as a Karen, entitled, unlikeable and insincere. It would have been better if it were fictional. I listened to the book on tape, and because Mena read it, she seemed just like a difficult and unlikeable person. I guess if you don’t like the Hollywood types, this will resonate with you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary Sisney

    Mena calls herself a survivor, and she is, not because of her experiences with sexual and physical abuse by men (she also physically abused a couple of them) but because she survived multiple accidents, including one before she was born. Part of my problem with this book is not the author’s fault. I’ve read too many celebrity memoirs, and so this one seems derivative. It’s most like Mary-Louise Parker’s and Rickie Lee Jones’ (at least Mena has only two names). Like Jones, Suvari is a should be i Mena calls herself a survivor, and she is, not because of her experiences with sexual and physical abuse by men (she also physically abused a couple of them) but because she survived multiple accidents, including one before she was born. Part of my problem with this book is not the author’s fault. I’ve read too many celebrity memoirs, and so this one seems derivative. It’s most like Mary-Louise Parker’s and Rickie Lee Jones’ (at least Mena has only two names). Like Jones, Suvari is a should be innocent blonde who’s had a wild sex, drinking and drug life. Like Parker, she describes her life in terms of the men she’s been with instead of her acting roles, the places she visited, or her experiences with her female friends. But there were echoes of other memoirs. The experience she had with an eagle reminded me of Hunter Biden’s odd experience with a similar large bird (I can’t remember if it was an eagle or a a hawk). And the Costa Rica scene where she was injured and had to be carried on a makeshift gurney was eerily similar to a scene in another memoir read earlier this year. I think it was Shawna Rodenberg’s KIN; she was definitely one of the memoirists who enjoyed riding horses as does Mena. Although Mena’s story ends happily, I worry that she hasn’t yet figured out her life. She claims that she damaged herself more than anyone and yet thinks the women who claim no agency in the METOO movement are brave. She even says, “it’s not our fault.” She needs at least to explain that seeming contradiction. She also never spent any time alone, discovering her own power before moving on to the next savior, the next man to rescue her. She apparently didn’t completely leave Sal until she met Mike. Will she leave him when she finds a better looking man (she was initially attracted to Mike’s eyelashes)? It wasn’t Mena’s fault that she was born beautiful, that her psychiatrist father and seemingly clueless, disinterested mother neglected her or that she was raped by her older brother’s friend when she was only twelve and then blamed by the friend and her brother for the rape. But it’s now her fault that she continues to follow the same destructive serial monogamous (although she cheated a couple of times) pattern, dumping one man when she finds another one. It’s also her fault that she’s so superficial and foolishly unrealistic. In addition to his long eyelashes, third husband Mike had the perfect name—Hope. I hope she doesn’t find out later that it wasn’t his real name the way she found out that one of her “dream lovers” was younger than she thought he was.

  26. 5 out of 5

    LMH

    A very brave memoir by actor Mena Suvari. I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author. The author gets into great detail about various abuses she suffered through her life, and the abandonment she felt from her family. It's interesting to read these words, and think about the shifts that we've seen in culture in the last 30 years. Where were her parents?!?!?!? This is such a large question for much of Mena's teen years, but parents were more absent during the 80s and 90s. With Mena's A very brave memoir by actor Mena Suvari. I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author. The author gets into great detail about various abuses she suffered through her life, and the abandonment she felt from her family. It's interesting to read these words, and think about the shifts that we've seen in culture in the last 30 years. Where were her parents?!?!?!? This is such a large question for much of Mena's teen years, but parents were more absent during the 80s and 90s. With Mena's father also being elderly compared to her mother, and the various issues she outlines her family having gone through, there was obviously a lot on everyone's plate. But still. Reading this memoir through today's lens, it is hard not to despair for a young girl left so vulnerable to people who were free to prey on her. The structure of the book sees Mena Suvari navigate through her various romantic relationships, with mentions of her work woven between. The focus is much more on the relationships she has had with men, and the relationship she's trying to now build with herself, rather than on her work. While I can appreciate that, especially given my further comments below, it is always nice to get a little more of a "look behind the curtain" at the work that people do. For actors, they're privy to an industry culture that few people see. I'm always obsessed with inside looks, no matter the industry, and it would have been great to see a little more of that from her perspective. This memoir will be like other celebrity memoirs, in that there are descriptions of predators swirling around various experiences, and what sounds to be like trouble with addiction at various life stages. It's hard to imagine how trust building works in such environments. The more celebrity memoirs I read, the more it seems like the industry is soul crushing and toxic and causes so much pain. An important part of this work is Mena's reflection on her past young self, and understanding now that what had happened to her was abusive, however not necessarily being able to understand that for herself at the time. This is what I think will land in a very powerful way with readers. I hope writing this memoir was healing for the author, and I hope it helps people out there who may be struggling with similar circumstances.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sutter

    THE GREAT ESCAPE is not a book you escape in for the pleasure of reading. You will remember it long after you close the book, filled with anger at what the world has given this talented actress. Mena Suvari is best known for her roles in American Beauty and American Pie, but now she will be better known for her honesty in baring her soul, and ripping away the horrors of the past by coming to terms with them. Her youth was marred by a horrible rape by a childhood friend, setting the wheels in mot THE GREAT ESCAPE is not a book you escape in for the pleasure of reading. You will remember it long after you close the book, filled with anger at what the world has given this talented actress. Mena Suvari is best known for her roles in American Beauty and American Pie, but now she will be better known for her honesty in baring her soul, and ripping away the horrors of the past by coming to terms with them. Her youth was marred by a horrible rape by a childhood friend, setting the wheels in motion for her ascent into unspeakable thoughts and suicidal tendencies. She even one day discovered a suicide note that was packed away, illuminating how dark the past was. She didn’t even recall penning that note. That first sexual assault was one of many, and her life was turned upside down so often, Suvari hiding the shame of the assault and telling no one. As she began her life in acting in her teenage years, the shadows of the past were forever haunting her, and how she managed to forge her career in Hollywood is testimony to some inner strength and resilience. But the sad aspect of all this, is the fact she was drawn to many men in relationships that mirrored the past in many ways, men who may have seemed fine in the beginning but soon their true colors came through, and she found herself a victim on many occasions of their disregard for her needs. There were two marriages that were doomed to eventually fail, because the men took advantage of her insecurities and faith that it would work out. Time and time again the messages were clear it would not work out, but she seemed to disregard these signs, the toxicity of the relationship becoming more dire. Even when she was in therapy earlier in her life she kept thinking she would be fine, and the notion of happily ever after eventually would save her. It didn’t, and in the book we feel like as she talks about returning time and time again to the same person, to scream into the book, “Mena, run, they’re not good enough for you.” She is currently happily married, and truly a survivor of life’s tragic scenarios. This book should offer inspiration for others who have faced similar perils, and hopefully let them know, no one is ever truly alone.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This author spends an entire book blaming others for her own inability to have self-introspection. While I feel for her past of abuse that nobody should have to go through, she still very much comes across as a privileged white woman complaining about how hard her life is and how no one is around to support her. It was maddening listening to chapter after chapter of her making the same stupid mistakes: cheating, jumping from one guy to the next, and being financially frivolous. The most disgusti This author spends an entire book blaming others for her own inability to have self-introspection. While I feel for her past of abuse that nobody should have to go through, she still very much comes across as a privileged white woman complaining about how hard her life is and how no one is around to support her. It was maddening listening to chapter after chapter of her making the same stupid mistakes: cheating, jumping from one guy to the next, and being financially frivolous. The most disgusting part was where she foolishly rode a horse to a gallop despite not having any experience, and then of course made the horse and herself suffer an injury. She briefly touched on how she was getting better care as a white woman than anyone in the small village she was in Costa Rica. I thought it was going to be a come to Jesus moment for her where she finally realized these poor people have it so much worse, that women die on the way the hospital while in labor because they’re hitching a ride in the back of a flatbed for hours, how no one has money to make it to the hospital in time for help…but no, instead she complained about how she didn’t feel like she was treated well enough at the hospital and had nothing but derision for them. She’s spoiled and sick. This author and her book honestly make me sick. She truly seems like an awful person.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin Hale

    As someone who lived most of her life hiding her circumstances and previous traumas, Mena Suvari opens up publicly about her heartbreaking experiences of sexual abuse & hardships in this raw & gripping memoir. It serves as an inspiration and empathetic lesson in how someone can experience the lowest of lows while even at the highest peak of her career, and the courage & strength it takes to pull out of dangerous situations & heal from the deep, dark wounds. From an abruptly broken family life as As someone who lived most of her life hiding her circumstances and previous traumas, Mena Suvari opens up publicly about her heartbreaking experiences of sexual abuse & hardships in this raw & gripping memoir. It serves as an inspiration and empathetic lesson in how someone can experience the lowest of lows while even at the highest peak of her career, and the courage & strength it takes to pull out of dangerous situations & heal from the deep, dark wounds. From an abruptly broken family life as a teen that left her mostly unsupervised & vulnerable to outsiders looking to take advantage, to her many romantic relationships that ended in toxic flames, her story is one that will resonate with so many females who have ever lost themselves in trying to be someone they are groomed, guided or modeled to be by exterior manipulative forces. She shares her deepest secrets, regrets, lessons & triumphs in an unflinching light as a tool to heal & connect with others who have similar shared experiences. I enjoyed that the chapters were succinct & quick to read, and that she was very clear & pointed in what happened without leaving much to speculate. It's a memorable book that will sit in my heart/mind for a while.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    4-5 stars I saw this audiobook and was like wow, I have not thought about her in a long time. I wonder what her story is going to be and it was quite the audiobook. First, I love that it is narrated by Mena herself and second, she is so brutally honest about so much. There are things in this book that I don't even know that I would include. But as she explains, to move past it all she has to tell it all being as honest as she can. I think Mena does exactly that for herself. She said, "Truth is p 4-5 stars I saw this audiobook and was like wow, I have not thought about her in a long time. I wonder what her story is going to be and it was quite the audiobook. First, I love that it is narrated by Mena herself and second, she is so brutally honest about so much. There are things in this book that I don't even know that I would include. But as she explains, to move past it all she has to tell it all being as honest as she can. I think Mena does exactly that for herself. She said, "Truth is power." This is one of the saddest memoirs I have ever read. It was really hard to listen to because it is a sad look at what emotional and sexual abuse can do to a person. Mena added in drugs to cope and a line of men who treated her so horrible, you can't help but feel for her. It is so sad to see girls/women who get so pounded down by emotional abuse that they can not see or believe that they are worthy of something better. It's such a bad cycle that so many women find themselves in . Thank goodness that therapy and a good man in her life can turn things around. Recommended. The book is the manual for what not to do in your life, Hollywood or not.

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