‘Here’s to us being afraid and doing it anyway’ – Gabrielle Union
You guys need to know one thing first. I am a serious Gabrielle Union stan, like… it’s Beyonce, then her – I just think she’s awesome so of course when she decided to write a book, I was definitely getting it. I read this book while on a flight to New York from Nairobi. 16 hrs later and I was done. Done and wanting so much more! I knew the book would be good but didn’t know it would be that ‘I can’t put it down’ type of good??
Gabi – as I like to call her, as if she’s my homie (though she really is my friend in my head) is extremely raw and real in this memoir of her life in the past two decades or so. Doesn’t feel like a collection of stories to tell but more like a hangout sesh with her in a coffee shop catching up on what happened last night or last week – very real. She starts off by telling us about her childhood life and growing up in Pleasanton, California. We learn about her family, her middle school and high school life – her fear of tampons at the time and love for Judy Blume. I’ll warn you now about the part about this girl called Queeshaun – HILARIOUS.
‘I resolve to embrace my sexuality and my freedom to do with my body parts as I see fit. And I will learn about my body so I can take care of it and get the pleasure I deserve. I will share that information with anyone and everyone and not police the usage of any vagina but my own. So help me Judy Blume.’
She talks about her entry into hollywood, the amount of work she had to put in before she even got to A-list status. She also sheds light on the unfortunate rape incident in her late teens. She bravely recounted what happened that night and the weeks after that, the year after that and how it’s still something that sits with her – 24 years later. I felt a lump in my throat the entire time throughout this chapter. I felt tears well up in my eyes. I felt anger rise within me as I pictured what she described – something so horrible should never happen to anyone ever. Being in the spotlight means being exposed once again and she described it as not being able to keep boundaries as much as she’d like to. ‘No one understands how much female celebrities are physically touched and grabbed and shoved and fondled…’ I admire her bravery in telling her story over and over again and getting involved in rape advocacy because making awareness is a step into making sure it doesn’t happen to others.
She touches on how racism affected her growing up, how it still does now that she is a stepmother to three young boys and a famous hollywood actress. She undergoes constant scrutiny but what I love about Gab is that she is so sure of herself and content in her life that outside opinions do little to sway her. There’s a lot I didn’t know about her that we find out in the book – like a first marriage, the relationship she had with her dog Bubba, her journey in trying for a child and lots more including how great her union with Dwayne Wade is, I love that she found happiness and love with someone who not only adores her but understands and grows with her.
I don’t think I can explain this any further without giving so much away but just know it’s a really great first book from her and a great memoir of her life so far. She has been through a lot but has also achieved a whole lot more and her star is only rising higher and higher. I’ve said this before on here – it’s very rare to come across books that you can’t put down and I love that this book is joining that very exclusive list. Anyone can write a book nowadays but it takes a very good writer/storyteller to keep you glued to the pages, turning one after the other, praying it never comes to an end. Gabi, thank you for gifting us with this, I hope others who read it learn quite as much from it as I did.