I honestly liked this book-- it was very open, honest, and felt like sitting down having a conversation with The Lady herself. I did not know some of the things she revealed in this book, but, a lot of it explains the agoraphobia-- though to think she suffered through that for her children's entire childhood... that's so SAD...
I had a few impressions that were proven wrong in this book:
1.) I thought "The Bag Lady" was something she did when the kids were still in middle school-- false, they were just out of high-school
2.) I assumed her to be widowed-- false, her ex-husband, Jimmy Deen, is still alive, but they divorced because of his drinking and emotional neglect/abuse (though, the abuse wasn't physical, she stresses)
She admits that when she first started on her own, becoming an entrepreneur, it wasn't all roses, it was hard WORK-- things don't just fall into your lap. She even admits that she was a bitch on wheels until she got into a solid relationship with her now-husband Micheal Groover. (She just needed some good lovin', y'all!) She had no clear goals to be a TV personality whatsoever, but grew to love it. (I honestly just wish I could send her MY cookbook to see what she would say-- I'd like her opinion. Not looking to BE her by any means-- I just love writing and cooking and would love to hear what she had to say; it'd make my week if she even said she liked one recipe in there.)
I have always felt bad because she gets criticized so on the internet and in the media for either being too much herself or hiding some things. Well, just because she is famous doesn't mean the world is entitled to anything she doesn't want to share, and if she weren't herself, she'd be a phony, and not as loveable. She's like the crazy aunt you loved to visit as a child, and her warmth and genuine love for the people around her shines through.
And, though she speaks honestly about herself, and owns up to the mistakes she has made, I feel she handled her ex-husband and his addiction with class, constantly stressing that she still loved him and he WAS a good father, even if he wasn't the best provider. (And when she mentions the fact that his faults got all brushed aside so long because he was so good at "it"... I had to laugh a little, because I could just hear that coming from her mouth.) And, when she mentioned that the new family had some trouble blending, I thought it was nice she didn't candy-coat it and was just plain-spoken. Her boys wanted to be sure their Momma wasn't being taken for yet another ride (she didn't go straight from Jimmy to Micheal), and his daughter felt her position as the only woman in Daddy's life was being usurped, and Paula worried that Daddy's Little Princess was going to wreck the whole shebang. Fortunately, they learned to love each-other in their own way, and that's what's really important in the end.