Hi Friends. I'm back with a hot take on the latest books I've been reading. Since it is Black History Month, I decided to highlight black stories by black people on the blog and on Instagram. It's been quite a journey discovering more authors and more work by people who look like me.
Been thinking about doing this at least twice a month. We shall see. I am currently up to my hairline in projects and ARCS, so whenever I can catch up with that, I will definitely incorporate that idea into the books I choose.
This one, Finding Me, by Viola Davis didn't really catch my attention when I saw it on the shelves in the bookstore. I will admit that I passed by it more than once in favor of choosing another book instead. Recently, Viola Davis won a Grammy for Best Audiobook Narration, and it was her acceptance speech that inspired me to check it out.
I've always been a fan of Viola. She has been an example of quiet strength. Even outside of the characters she plays on television and in movies. When you hear her talk, there is a powerful energy about her. It's something I have always admired. Plus, whatever role she is in, she does exceptionally well. Except that Michelle Obama role. I'm sorry Viola, I love you, but I cannot forgive those eyebrows.
Anyway, let's jump right into the book.
In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.
This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.
As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.
Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.
In my humble opinion, this was an absolutely beautiful story. I listened to it on audio and the raw emotion packed into this book was enough to make me tear up as I listened. I never knew that Viola's story started off so bleak.
It makes me love and respect her talent even more because she literally scraped and clawed her way to where she is now. She pulled herself up out of the depths of poverty and trauma. It made me want to hug her and tell her that I was so happy she was still here.
To me, it's hard to rate a memoir. How can you read someone's life story and say: "Eh. 2 stars"? This is her truth, and I am in no position to be able to judge or criticize that. However, I will comment on the quality of the story telling. It was phenomenal and I see now why she was won that Grammy. The story captured me from the first sentence and held me in that spot until the end. I laughed with her, I cried with her almost as if I was standing next to baby girl Viola as she stood up to her bullies and fought to remain positive and full of life in a situation that would have ruined most people's resolve. She never gave up. No matter what.
As cliche as that may sound, I respect it. I admire it. I think we could all learn that lesson from Viola. To keep pushing forward, even when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. To demand equality and demand to be seen in the same light as her white counterparts. To love, support, and clap for others until it's your turn.
Coming from me, a person who usually falls asleep at memoirs, I absolutely think you should read this book. I listened to it first and then immediately had to get a physical copy for my library. It was a must. It is fascinating seeing the story told from the other side. We watched her climb to her spot from the outside, but never knew what was going through her mind at the time. It was quite an experience to hear what she was thinking during certain moments in her career. To feel the excitement and the nervousness with her as she learned to navigate Hollywood after having such a desolate start in life.
I will not be accepting any slander about this book or Viola Davis from here on out. She doesn't know me from a man on the moon, but I will fight to protect her. Ya'll hear me? NO SLANDER! Anyway, if you decide to read this book then please come find me afterwards and let me know what you think. Did it tug at your heartstrings as hard as it tugged at mine?
Until next time,
Happy Reading Babes! ❤