Autobiography/Memoirs, Nonfiction, Review Books

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jennifer Lewis


Title: The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jennifer Lewis
Narrated by: Jenifer Lewis
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Format: Audiobook (10 hours and 47 mins)
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir
The “Mega Diva” and legendary star of Black-ish looks back on her memorable journey to fame and the unforgettable life lessons she learned along the way.

Jenifer Lewis keeps it real in this provocative and touching memoir by a mid-western girl with a dream whose journey from poverty to Hollywood will move, shock, and inspire readers.

Told in the audacious voice her fans adore, Jenifer describes a road to fame made treacherous by dysfunction and undiagnosed mental illness, including a sex addiction. Yet, supported by loving friends and strengthened by “inner soldiers,” Jenifer never stopped entertaining and creating.

We watch as Jenifer develops icon status stemming from a series of legendary screen roles as the sassy, yet loveable, mama or auntie. And we watch as her emotional disturbances, culminating in a breakdown while filming The Temptations movie, launch her on a continuing search for answers, love, and healing.

Written with no-holds-barred honesty and illustrated with sixteen-pages of color photos, this gripping memoir is filled with insights gained through a unique life that offers a universal message: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”

From her first taste of applause at five years old to landing on Broadway within eleven days of graduation and ultimately achieving success in movies, television and global concert halls, Jenifer reveals her outrageous life story with lots of humor, a few regrets and most importantly, unbridled joy. Candid, warm and wonderfully inspiring, The Mother of Black Hollywood intimately reveals the heart of a woman who lives life to the fullest.

Enjoyment: ♥♥♥♥½
Narration by Jenifer Lewis: ♥♥♥♥½
Plot: ♥♥♥♥
Writing: ♥♥♥♥
I listened to this story and was fascinated. It was dramatic, over the top and loud just like the actress. Jenifer Lewis has lived an eventful life thus far. I found this audiobook more succinct, more dramatic and more in depth than many of the memoirs I’ve read of late.
I loved that she told her own story and controlled the narrative in a way that introduced her to the audience so we get a rounded picture of her life in front of and behind the Hollywood persona.

She is so bold and blunt, saying it like she feels and making no apologies. The Hollywood Diva takes the reader through her childhood, relationships, her abuse and her struggle with mental illness. I only knew what I’ve read on blogs and in magazines so it’s always interesting to hear the private musings of a celebrity. I love her brutal honesty, I love that she is able to reflect and admit mistakes she made in relationships and understand how her attitude affected others around her. After listening to her book, I think there is a little bit of her actual personality in EVERY character I’ve seen her play. She clearly loves what she does because it comes across loud and clear. The world of entertainment is her first love. I hope she continues to do what she loves.

Autobiography/Memoirs, Nonfiction, Review Books

The Last Black Unicorn by by Tiffany Haddish


img_2798Title: The Last Black Unicorn by by Tiffany Haddish
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Format: Audiobook (6 hours and 29 mins)
Genre: Nonfiction; Biography; Memoir
Published By: Simon & Schuster Audio
Purchase Links: AudibleAmazon (US)
Synopsis: From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Enjoyment: ♥♥½
Narration by Tiffany Haddish: ♥♥½
Plot: ♥♥♥
Writing: ♥♥♥
MY THOUGHTS: ♥♥♥
Thanks to this audiobook, I am more aware of Tiffany Haddish’s journey growing up with a mentally ill parent to her time in foster care to her current status now that she finally achieve stardom with her hit movie Girls Trip.
I can’t say that I liked her book as parts were entertaining, parts made me cringe, but it was clear she was determined to be a comic. I appreciated the authentic feel of listening to Tiffany’s story in her own voice, but I wonder if the audiobook would have been more palatable in a voice of professional narrator. Her recitation wasn’t smooth even though she was reading her own words. Plus, her cheeky and court jester narration style got old on audio even though I surmised that she was trying to use humor to cushion the uncomfortable situations and events.

Tiffany has had many struggles in life. It’s always interesting to see how  people can persevere and I am proud that she is finally winning in life. However, I had a hard time with the flow of this story. The transitions were choppy and the narrative just wasn’t well laid. I prefer biographies to go in a linear or chronological timeline and Tiffany jumped around a lot. I would have enjoyed this story if we were hanging out and she was telling me these stories in doses, more like a serial short story than a full out novel. I applaud her for the realness of her struggles like illiteracy, homelessness or her brief stint as a pimp. She was forthright and I respected her for not sugar coating her background. I actually think she is inspiration because she made it with so many odds against her. It took almost twenty years of grinding to realize her current success. I take from this story that we have to keep fighting despite our obstacles to attain our goals. I wish her much success and happiness and I hope that I get to see her live at a comedy show.