Thursday, May 03, 2012

You have no idea -- sometimes mothers know best

It's book review time again! For those of you who don't know, I'm a member of the Blog Her Book Club, and sometimes I'm lucky enough to get to review cool books.
BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Last month I started reading "You Have No Idea" by Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen. It's a biography that they both wrote. So you get a she said/she said version of events.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of biographies. But this was a fun, interesting read. Mainly because Vanessa Williams was very candid. She didn't seem to omit any of the more embarrassing parts of her past. She made mistakes and learned from them.

And her mother seemed to know that her daughter would be one to make those mistakes.

When she was young, her mother told her to never pose for nude pictures. My mother never told me not to do that. (Of course I am, and have always been a bit of a prude.)

The first section of the book covers her infamous nude photos and the Miss America scandal. While I was alive and should, I guess, have remembered that scandal, I didn't. The first time Vanessa Williams registered on my radar was when her song "Save the best for last" came out. I loved that song, and thought she was so beautiful.

Since then, I know that she's been in some movies, television shows and broadway shows. But I had no idea about the adversity she faced. Some of her problems were of her own doing -- she did pose for those photos. But I didn't realize how much hate she faced when she won Miss America. She was the first black Miss America, and she and her parents received hate mail from whites and blacks.

Learning about the behind-the-scenes of the entertainment world was interesting, but my favorite part of the book was when she described what a wonderful man her father was, and what a great job she thought her parents did.

Fun fact: Vanessa's character, Wilhelmina, on "Ugly Betty" was almost entirely based on her mother! I didn't really watch that show, but I knew that the Wilhelmina character was tough as nails.

This was a fun read. I really did enjoy it.

This is a paid review for the Blog Her Book Club, but the opinions are my own.


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