Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

Julianna Margulies, a three-time Emmy-winning actress, proves herself equally skilled as a writer with this heartfelt, ingratiating and captivating memoir. A natural-born storyteller, Margulies spends the first half of Sunshine Girl spinning tales of growing up with her sisters as their divorced mother constantly uproots them with moves from New York to Paris, England and various states. Her eccentric and self-absorbed mother was constantly searching for herself. "My stability, I learned quickly, depended on my mother's happiness," she writes, "and her state of mind fluctuated with every boyfriend."

Margulies's people-pleasing skills kept everyone around her happy but she seldom nurtured herself. This trait continued with a neglectful and undermining boyfriend she stayed with for a decade. Until, she writes, "At thirty-five, I woke up. Finally admitting to myself that I could not keep living in this state of joylessness." Finally, putting herself first, she left her boyfriend and turned down a $27 million offer to stay with ER for two more years. Two years after moving to New York, she met her husband, had a son and started starring in The Good Wife. Balancing motherhood and a 60-hour-a-week work schedule is grueling and guilt-inducing. Her son's first two sentences were "Mama work" and "Mama tired."

Sunshine Girl is an ideal book club pick. Margulies's upbeat and humorous globetrotting tales of growing up in a quirky family mix well with her encouraging stories of pursuing an acting career and succeeding. This is the kind of introspective feel-good book that readers will want to share with friends. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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