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Publisher's Summary

A memoir by award-winning actor Mena Suvari, best-known for her 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 this vulnerable book, 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.

©2021 Mena Suvari (P)2021 Hachette Books

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Heartwarming Story with Hope

Beautifully written and read by Mena, her life story told with honesty, clarity and hope.

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  • Saxmanfam
  • 02-08-2021

Intense and hopeful but misogynistic :-(

Ok. So I’ve lived through many of the same experiences and I must first say that I’m really happy she came out alive. The story is well written, her performance is emotional but very clear and it’s an intense narrative of her life that I appreciate her courageously sharing. My problem really comes from the way she portrays many of the things that happened to her as just wrong, disgusting and immoral in all situations, not just when done without consent (which is obviously NOT ok for anyone to do to another person). It’s quite discouraging to read that viewpoint when, in reality and done consensually, using toys, having threesomes, etc is completely normal and acceptable. I, more than anything, hope she continues to work on herself to address the internalized misogyny to which she is still clinging. I am 100% against anything nonconsensual but this whole demonizing narrative comes across as sl*t shaming and really not ok at all. The way she speaks about other women is very yikes and reeks of her lingering confidence issues. Nothing screams “I’m insecure and uncomfortable with feminine sexuality and confidence” louder than saying stuff like “some woman” “a fckin STRIPPER” “big breasted girl” about various women you feel threatened by and predominantly identifying women by their physical appearance while describing men by their personality traits. Big yikes from a feminist perspective. Please keep working on yourself, my friend. <3

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel O
  • 15-10-2021

Way Too Dependent on Men

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Armando V.
  • 15-10-2021

Well written. And great story.

Good story of the struggles of life. It's very well written and you can feel the passion behind it. Must have not been easy to write and publish but Mena shows her bravery and published this.

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  • Em & Tines
  • 15-08-2021

There's something wrong

I expected an inspirational autobiographical journey towards self-acceptance. However, this book is definitely NOT that.

There is no personal growth here. If she experienced any, it wasn't successfully communicated. Instead, she tells her story almost entirely through the lens of a series of relationships with men where *growth* = ending one relationship and beginning another one.

Some were truly awful, others were kind--either way, the *transformative event* boils down to leaving one guy, and starting up with another.

However none of this comes across as healthy because whether the guy is good or bad is irrelevant. She repeats the same thing over and over regardless.

It starts with her saying that the new guy is *special* and not like anything she's experienced before. She says he *treats her well*--something she's *never had before*...etc.

What's weird about this is that she doesn't seem to hear herself LITERALLY saying the same things about the next guy that she said about the last guy..despite the fact she's the one narrating the book!

It's also sad to think the people who love her didn't point this out either.

*Spoiler Alert* There's no triumphant moment at the end. Basically in addition to choosing a better, kinder man to marry and having children with him, she switches to a vegan diet and works on reducing her carbon footprint--and then it ends.

Supposedly all is happy ever after... and now she's ready to share her story with others so they feel less alone? Okay...but this ending feels dishonest. Why share such painful events and degradation so explicitly then skimp on the details of the hard work it took to heal from it?

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  • BQ
  • 04-08-2021

Just whining. Save your credit.

Wah wah wah. Poor me. A self-centered, sanctimonious narcissist droning on about how terrible the world (and all its men) have been to her. Good God, she ought to open her eyes and notice the other people in the world. It was nauseating.

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  • teebee
  • 22-11-2021

I tried …. Teeth itching.

I’m so compelled to write this because I honestly was listening thinking “how did this get past her publisher?”
The writing is so bizarre - there is no continuity from one paragraph to the next. It was so weird.
She’s a fine actress, but I felt like she mugged (bad acting) the entire 2 chapters) o managed to get through. And she seemed so uncomfortable narrating it.
Disappointment. Not worth it.

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  • MAve
  • 17-11-2021

DNF for me

It's extremely rare that I don't finish books, but I just couldn't continue with this one. I applaud the bravery it took for her to tell her story, but I found the writing to be very one dimensional and incomplete.

First off, there are a lot of triggering topics in this book. If you don't do well with themes of rape, graphic sex and drug use, this book is NOT for you. After every story of drug use or terrible sexual experience, I kept waiting for the big "ah ha!" or learning moment, but sadly it never came. She just jumps head-first into the next terrible story. I was hoping to hear a few of her bad stories, but then cheer her on and feel inspired as she overcame her issues. Her book is just a running list of everything bad that's happened to her.

If you're looking for any kind of inspirational biography where good girl does bad, learns from her mistakes and uses her story to motivate others, move on. This book isn't for you.

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  • Nicole Placco
  • 27-10-2021

Great reflection and insight!

I loved how she shared her difficult story and the healing process. Some of the chapters I was on the edge of my seat. Most of her life was relatable to me and I learned a few things. It was great getting to know Mena (I feel like we’re on a first name basis now) who I always appreciated as an actor, and now to me as a beautiful human being.

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  • CathyF.
  • 14-10-2021

Raw honesty

I loved this book . This actress put it all out there . She seemingly really let us in and with raw honesty described a very real …very sad …complicated childhood and young adulthood . She lived what a regular person might think is typical Hollywood celebrity lifestyle also…. But that being said she was taken advantage of by most of the men that wandered into her life in the entertainment industry as well as ones that weren’t in the “business”. Sad tale and she had overcome a lot to be as successful as she is . I applaud her for letting us in . I hope she healed her soul writing this all down . She helped me with some of my own soul searching and healing . I was a fan before reading this touching memoir and now I’m an even bigger fan . Bravo Mena !!!!

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  • Michelle Lynn Elmore
  • 07-10-2021

Inspired ❣

Raw & incredible!!!
what is shared is courageous,spiritual, and a gift for all readers!! loved!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-2021

loved it

loved the book made me cry. listened to it in 3days. made me quite emotional because I can relate

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-08-2021

Draining and hard going

The book details Mena's life through her disfunctional relationship history. I found it exhausting and not in any way uplifting or particularly insightful. I don't want to criticise her. Maybe some people will enjoy it. I imagine it was cathartic for her to get it all out of her system by writing this book. But it's not funny, entertaining, uplifting or moving. She felt victimises by many people in her life. In turn she mistreats decent sounding people in her life, but seems to easily justify it. This didn't sit well with me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-2021

Raw, insightful and inspiring

mena is a beautiful narrator, i have always loved her movies and was excited to read this but wow it turned out to be so much more than expected. She has survived emotional and sexual assault and bravely tells her story, really would recommend this audible

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