Ashley Judd candid in ‘All That Is Bitter & Sweet’

Actress Ashley Judd mixes autobiography with advocacy in "All That Is Bitter & Sweet," a revealing, inspiring and somewhat controversial memoir.

Judd, youngest daughter and sister of country singers Naomi and Wynonna Judd, has had an impressive career as one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. But, while dealing with painful childhood recollections, she walked away from her fame to become an advocate for the downtrodden of the world’s poorest countries.

In a tell-all fashion, Judd shares intimate family secrets as well as the heartaches she encountered as she worked through debilitating bouts of depression. She recalls years of childhood neglect that left her scarred and the solace she found in working with humanitarian groups.

In chapters that alternate between her childhood memories and her present-day journey to find peace, Judd describes her experiences in the sleazy brothels of Southeast Asia, the AIDS hospices of Africa and the jungles of South America where the AIDS pandemic is currently spreading, and how deeply she was affected by all the pain and suffering she witnessed.

Through her words and deeds, it is easy to see how this gentle soul is genuinely grieved. Judd’s memoir is sometimes difficult to read as she reveals her pain and suffering, but at the same time stirring as she works through her difficulties and seeks to help change the world for the better. She is setting out to make a difference, and it will be fascinating to watch her progress and cheer her successes.

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