Saturday, February 5, 2022

Review: Full Circle by Andrea Barber

Genre: Biography/Memoir 
Publisher: Kensington Books
Released: Nov. 12, 2019
272 pages
About the Book:

She grew up in front of the world on the beloved sitcom Full House, but then actress Andrea Barber abruptly left Hollywood. Why did she leave and what did she do for twenty years out of the spotlight before returning to television? This is her funny and inspiring memoir of fame, heartache, resilience--and the reboot of a lifetime . . .

When Kimmy Gibbler burst into the Tanners' home on Full House in 1987, audiences immediately connected with the confident and quirky pre-teen character, played by ten-year-old actress Andrea Barber. During an eight-season run on one of the most popular series of the '80s and '90s, Andrea came of age in front of millions. But she was as far removed from her character as a girl can get. The introverted young star was plagued with self-doubt, insecurities, and debilitating anxieties that left her questioning her identity after the show's cancelation. Andrea wouldn't return to the public eye until 2016, for Fuller House. So what happened in those intervening decades that Andrea jokingly calls "the lost years"?

For starters, Andrea never stopped working. But it was on a series of life-changing transitions: earning a college degree, then a Master's, building a career in international education, getting married, and starting a family. She also faced some unforeseeable transitions: navigating a sudden divorce after nearly twelve years of marriage, and second-guessing her capabilities as a single mother. But it was her devastating bout with post-partum anxiety and depression that derailed Andrea's life--and became a crucial turning point.

Full Circle is a raw, refreshingly honest look into the life of a celebrity who has never been fully comfortable in the spotlight. Here Andrea shares her deeply personal struggles with mental health in a way she has never done before. She opens up about fighting her way back and finding solace--while finding herself--all before her life came full circle with her costars and lifelong friends on Fuller House. Sharing her journey from child star, to champion of mental health, and back to stardom, Andrea writes in a way that feels like catching up with an old friend.

You'll laugh, reminisce, and finally get to know the woman behind the zany next door neighbor.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

Ms. Barber grabbed my attention right from the start. It was interesting to learn how she shies away from stardom even though she has become such an iconic character (Kimmy Gibbler). When Fuller House first debuted I wondered what she had been up to since Full House ended, this book answered that question and so much more. I feel like I got to know the real Ms. Barber through this book. I found it interesting to learn that acting was not her main passion and that she has pursued other job opportunities. She shares her story with what felt like raw honesty, while parts of the book could be heavy and depressing, she adds in just the right amount of humor at the appropriate places that helped me not feel weighed down by her struggles and I knew that she would overcome. While it pained me to learn about the struggles with anxiety Ms. Barber deals with, I am glad that she was willing to put her story out there. I am sure she will touch many people through this book. The way this book is written made me feel like I was sitting down with her having a one on one conversation. She covers so many aspects of her life - love, heartbreak, friendship, family, fame, finding a place in the world and mental health. This book is not only for Full House fans. I would recommend it to anyone who struggles with mental health or even just anyone who is going through trying times. This book will give encouragement to continue fighting.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley; 
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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