From the moment I started reading the introduction, I knew I was going to laugh and cry. Gabrielle Union is an amazing storyteller and I could totally see myself sitting down with her sharing stories over wine and snacks.
I’m a huge fan of hers. From her movies to her line in my favorite store (New York and Company) to her sexual assault advocacy right on up to this here book. It comes as no surprise that I selected it to be not only the first review for 2018 but also the first book that I’d discuss with the book club I launched this month (FB: Pretty Dope Reads Book Club).
I won’t take too much of your time. Go read the damn book for yourself!
What this book is not…….fiction. If you’re looking for all the elements of a fictional story, you won’t find them here. It’s a collection of her life stories. Some of them pure tee foolery and fuckery, while a few others were pretty traumatic.
No worries, I’ll share a few. Y’all go read the damn book.
My parents gave me the pep talk when I started school, the same speech all black parents give their kids: You’re gonna have to be bigger, badder, better, just to be considered equal. You’re gonna have to do twice as much work and you’re not going to get any credit for your accomplishments or for overcoming adversity. Most black people grow accustomed to the fact that we have to excel just to be seen as existing, and this is a lesson passed down from generation to generation. You can either be Super Negro or the forgotten Negro.
I’ve heard this said a million different ways a million more different times. I definitely feel this in the workplace as soon as I sit down. I have high hopes that this spill doesn’t have to continue being passed down. But it ain’t lookin too pretty. I don’t foresee it stopping any time soon.
Another major story that struck a nerve was when she received burns on her scalp in an effort to have bone straight hair. I remember doing the same. Scalp on sizzle but determined for my hair to be flatter than a pancake. We sit. We suffer. And we pick the scabs over when they form. Been there. Done that. She tied this into how by age twelve, no one had told her that she was pretty as she was. That shit blew me away. And I can almost guarantee that she isn’t alone. It made me wonder, at what age does self-care/acceptance and appreciation need to be taught?
The story that tore me to shreds was when she described her rape. I mean every detail. She put us readers in the room with her as it was happening. I felt all of her emotion in the writing. It serves as a reminder of how powerful words are. For her to mentally and verbally relive that moment for the sake of this book required an amount of courage and strength that I don’t think I’ll ever have.
Let’s see. What else. Oh yeah. Sorry y’all wont get a reaction up outta me about the ass eating story. Nope. Not today.
Below are two of my favorite quotes from the book.
When we refuse to be exiled to the shadows as we mature, we get to be leaders who choose how we treat other women.
At the end, we are our stories, some shared and some lived alone
Kudos to Gabby (because we are definitely homegirls now). I hope that she continues to share her stories with us and that we never run out of wine.