Thursday, May 3, 2012

You Have No Idea


After more than 30 years in the spotlight, as one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment industry, Vanessa Williams has finally released her highly anticipated autobiography: You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other).

Vanessa Williams as Miss America
In this "tell all" memoir, co-written with her mother Helen Williams, and along with Irene Zutell, Vanessa holds nothing back. In blunt discourse Vanessa writes about her strong will in childhood, her obsessive affair with her first boyfriend, her amazement about being chosen at age 20 in 1983 as the first Miss America of African American descent. She tells of her, and her family's, fear as vicious hate mail and death threats began to roll in, both before and after the nude photo scandal that forced her to give up her Miss America title.


"Desperate Housewives" Season Finale Event
Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen Williams
Hollywood, CA, USA 04/29/2012
Andrew Evans / PR Photos- photo source

Vanessa credits her professional music-teacher father and mother for inspiring her singing, dancing and acting talents and giving her the strict, but loving, suburban New York City upbringing she often rebelled against. Vanessa gives details about making her Grammy award nominated albums, accomplishing her dream of breaking into Broadway theater, along with movie and television roles, and facts about her two marriages and four children.  Her mother Helen, meanwhile, gives her own account after each chapter of Vanessa's story, revealing facts about Vanessa's early and later life that only a mother could know. Even so, there were shocking details never revealed before in Vanessa's memoir that surprised even her mother!  Vanessa felt the time was right to reveal those facts in her memoir, as they are a part of what made her who she is today.

I enjoyed reading Vanessa Williams memoir because I remember being enthralled by her beauty and impressed by her talent when she was chosen to become Miss America, and then disappointed when she lost the title because of the scandal.  I often wondered about her side of the story, and how she was able to overcome this obstacle to her career.  I was also lucky enough to see her perform in the Broadway musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1994 and the 2002 revival of Into the Woods, both of which exemplified her singing, acting and dancing talents, so I was eager to read about how she launched her Broadway career.  As a parent, I was interested to read Helen's side of the story, which showed that while we can't always control the path our children take when they are approaching adulthood and beyond, we can always be there to love and emotionally support them in their lives and maintain a meaningful relationship with them. I liked the conversational tone of the book and found myself sympathizing with Helen quite a bit, while also respecting Vanessa's work ethic and determination in accomplishing all her dreams.  If you enjoy reading memoirs about strong and accomplished women, I think you'd enjoy reading "You Have No Idea"! *


To read what other Blogher book reviewers say about "You Have No Idea," and join in the book discussion at Blogher's Book Club.

* While I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, all opinions expressed in this review are my own and have not been influenced in any way by BlogHer or the publisher of this book.



I'm linking this post to Beverly's Pink Saturday blog event! Thanks, Beverly!

 
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34 comments:

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Sounds like an interesting book! She's a very talented woman indeed:@)

podso said...

Interesting post, Pat. She is not a Ms America I remember as we were in Africa at the time. I'm intrigued by the blog book club!

Old Kitty said...

Oh the BBC showed Vanessa Williams' "Who do you think you are" episode here and it was so so so interesting! Her ancestors were trailblazers!! So she's come from a long line of revolutionaries, bless her!!

She is lovely - the most gorgeous eyes!

What a great book - thanks for the info and I'll definitely keep an eye out for this! Take care
x

Vee said...

She certainly is a beauty. I haven't read a "Hollywood" autobiography since David Niven's. Ha!

Nellie said...

I really enjoyed reading this review. Vanessa is a beautiful and very talented woman, in my opinion, and I was sad to see the scandal that led to her relinquishing her Miss America crown.

Chatty Crone said...

I enjoyed reading this - I always wanted to know the rest of the story. She sure didn't let it affect her career!
sandie

nanny said...

I saw them last week on one of the talk shows....it sounded like a very interesting book.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

It sounds like an interesting memoir. I always enjoy a real life read!

Carol said...

Sounds like a great memoir! She's beautiful and talented, I'd like to read it.

Ginny said...

I have seen her in two T.V. interviews, one with her mom, about the book. Looks really interesting. I do remember all the fuss about her Miss America crown and the pictures. And I remember her singing career and have watched her on lots of shows. She is a really good actress.

Riet said...

She is such a beautiful lady and I always liked her. Whenever I get the chance I will read her book.
Thank you for the tip.
Have a nice weekend

Ciao Chow Linda said...

She must be a very strong woman to have endured all those threats and taunts. She sure has talent and made it to the top. Thanks for the review Pat.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

I remember Vanessa from waaaay back in the Miss America days. So lovely then AND now. Sounds like she's indeed a strong one...and I love that she's so close to her mother. I love reading memoirs of strong women who've triumphed over various challenges. Will have to look for this one. Thanks!

myletterstoemily said...

two remarkable women! i love that they
wrote the book together and still value
their relationship.

GailO said...

Great review! It certainly got me putting it on my list of books to read! Facinating women!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

That gal has had a colorful life, hasn't she? Thanks for the review. Sounds like an interesting book.
Hugs,
Betsy

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What an interesting life she has had! She's such a beauty and I'd love to read her biography.

Kris said...

It sounds like a book i would enjoy reading too!

Claudia said...

A lovely reminder about overcoming obstacles. (Of course being drop-dead gorgeous and immensely talented doesn't hurt.)

Rosewalk Cottage said...

Interesting post and a nice read.Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.
~Clara

Susie said...

I think Vanessa is a true beauty. I love her singing too. Enjoy your weekend Pat. I love reading your posts. Smiles, Susie

Marti McClure said...

Hi Pat, I thoroughly enjoyed your review. I remember the Miss America that she won. She really is a talented lady. Happy Pink Saturday. ~Marti

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Sounds like a very interesting read. Thanks, Pat!! blessings ~ tanna

Gabriela Delworth said...

HPS!

Vanessa is not only stunning but also very talented. I am curious about this book...


Gabriela

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Happy Pink Saturday Pat Sweetie...
What a beautiful share this evening. I love, LOVE Vaness Williams and had no idea that she has a book out. I will definitely be looking into this one. Hopefully I can get it on my Kindle. I love reading that way. So quick and easy to purchase and carry where ever I go.

Thank you for sharing dear friend. What a lucky ducky you are to have actually gotten to see Vanessa in not one but two Broadway musicals. Have a glorious weekend. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

Skye said...

You have sparked my interest with the vanessa williams book - I do like her, and I think I'll be putting it on my kindle. thanks!

Ms. Burrito said...

Sooo pretty! Happy Pink Saturday!

My Pink, I am also inviting you to link up with my color Connection meme.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I remember when she was crowned Miss American and the scandal. I felt bad for her at the time and knew there had to be more to the story.

Sounds like a fascinating book and well worth the read Pat.
Sam

Vicki/Jake said...

I too love reading true stories about people's lives, this will go on the list. have a great weekend:)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

This is now on my must list!

Happy pink Saturday, Happy Derby Day and ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Please stop by and enter my celebrate spring/moms giveaway.

Suzann said...

Happy Pink Day
Thank you for sharing your pink today, I did see the interview that Anderson did the other day with Vanessa and her mother.
Indeed she had several challenges along the way, she is a great actress and love her singing also.
Suzann ~xoxo~

chubskulit said...

They're both gorgeous!

My Pink, have a great weekend!

Annesphamily said...

I enjoy reading so I am always on the look out for a good book! You always share interesting things with us. Thanks Pat. Hope your week is wonderful.

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Pat. I know I'm late, but I made it.

Thank you for sharing your review of this memoir. It sounds like one I would enjoy, too.