In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.
Rating: 5 stars
Gabrielle Union made an honest, raw, and real masterpiece here. This collection of essays depict the reality of colorism, sexism, being a black woman in Hollywood, sex, and on and on.
I broke my own rule for this one and listened to the audiobook because I had heard that she narrates it herself, and I always find it intriguing to listen to an author read their own story. They are able to bring it life for you and put emotion where you may not have seen any before. Union was absolutely no exception.
These essays really teach you something, but not in a condescending way. Gabrielle is open and realistic about everything, from growing up wanting to have lighter skin, to her miscarriages, and even her own sexual assault. Nothing is off limits, yet at the end, I still wanted to hear more. I have never felt more pulled in to a piece of nonfiction work. I hope to see more like this from her in the future, because she reaches out to so many type of readers who go through so many different things, that I can’t imagine that there is someone who will read this and be left completely untouched or without new knowledge.