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Thursday, May 3, 2012

You Have No Idea - Book Review

A Vanessa Williams tell-all book. I had to get in on this. Not because I thought I knew all the dirt, but because as a 29-year-old white woman, I really had no idea.

 Vanessa would be happy to know that as I grew up, I had no idea about the Miss America scandal. I didn't know a thing about her pictures. I only knew she was the first black Miss America. And the only reason I knew that is because "Save the Best for Last" was an amazing song on my radio all the time, and my parents deemed it necessary for me to know that the singer was not only a talented recording artist, but had broken historic barriers. They didn't feel it necessary to add anything about her background. Because it's not important.

Thanks, Mom.

I didn't find out until I was in my mid-twenties that Vanessa Williams had nude pictures published in Penthouse. My husband mentioned it at some point and was shocked at my ignorance. I didn't know what she looked like until I saw her on my kids' Elmo in Grouchland video.

So, yeah, I had no idea based on my racial status and I had no idea based on my lack of pop-culture knowledge.

 So, a book later and I see a powerful, driven woman who gets what she wants and outlasts the haters. Something that I would strive to be, myself.

I wouldn't say this behind-the-scenes gives much of interest or substance that you couldn't find elsewhere. The most interesting parts for me came from Helen, her mother. Vanessa Williams appears every bit a celebrity, and while a few of her sentiments had me rolling my eyes (the section about her gabillion-dollar house for instance), I'll keep my mouth shut, because I really have no idea.

I think Vanessa is hard on her mother, and I felt bad for Helen more often than not. Parents are people, too, after all, and based on this book, should one of Vanessa's children come out with a book about her and treated her similarly, she would be pretty hurt. But Helen seems to take it in stride, so who am I to judge?

Definitely read this book if you are a Vanessa Williams fan or you have a vast interest in pop culture. It's interesting to me, always, to see how other people live, and You Have No Idea does a good job showcasing that.

You can read so much more about this book, and converse with others who have read it or are interested in reading it, here at BlogHer.

This is a paid review for The BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are (obviously) my own.


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