If ever there was a way to feel sisterhood through words this book is it.
Gabrielle Union-Wade penned a memoir that will make you laugh and cry through the twists and turns of her short stories chronicling her life. As a young girl growing up in Pleasonton, an all white neighborhood Gabrielle experienced the hardship of trying to fit in to escape racism, only to find that blending can sometimes mean staring racism in the face more frequently.
I stopped reading the book the first day I bought it because I wanted to savor it and I didn’t want it to end. It was too good. I wanted more stories. Gabrielle is now a friend in my head. In the beginning of the book she says she wants her readers to feel like we’re at table with a glass of wine having a great conversation, and she achieved that in the most organic way.
I felt like we were friend meeting for the first time and just letting it all hang out. All of the truths, the hurt, the highs and the lows – she gave it to me. Each page shifted something in me that was familiar. The pain of loving someone not enough to let them go, but enough to stick with them and their ugliness because the pain of being alone feels much worse, most of us have been through that.
The experience of being the breadwinner in a home, where you husband hasn’t stepped up the the plate in any aspect is a reality for many black women in the United States, mostly because we are the more educated than black men. Gabrielle went into great detail and held no punches though I’ve never experience this my heart ached. I wanted to reach over our table and grab her hands – let her know it’s ok.
This book was released in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and to read Gabrielle’s recount her rape was earth shattering. I’ve heard stories before but again, the detail and the truth was chilling. It’s the same truth that you know is there so search someone’s eyes searching for a glimpse of it. It’s the truth that hides in the pit of your stomach pushing its way up through your esophagus and getting caught in your throat; it refuses to show itself verbally. It’s the one she somehow she managed to get on the pages.
Gabrielle Union like everyone else has had her battles, but she shines her flashlight on the depths of readers’ souls, and she pulls out emotions that we buried out of embarrassment. When I read that book I felt safe, safe enough to cry and “yasss girl” and give an occasionally side eye to no one in particular. She made if fun to reveal this truth. She formed a sisterhood sharing the hardest times in her life, her therapy spilled over and became therapy for me. No stone was left unturned.
I lost my dog of ten years on September 30th and my tears soaked through at least three pages of this book while reading about Gabrielle’s relationship with her dog Bubba and his death. Her friends and family felt like they lost someone special just like mine when my dog died. Our experiences once again paralleled.
Gabrielle and Dwyane Wade’s reality of raising three black boys only amplified my fear of having children in this country. Black children aren’t allowed to live freely especially, when they privileged surrounded by white people. One sudden move and they can be killed without consequence. Death is in using the wrong words or making the wrong move, that’s horrifying.
I’ve screamed from the mountain tops about this book. I went to Gabrielle’s Q&A and book signing at the free library in Philadelphia. She inspired to me to be a cheerleader with her role as Isis in Bring It On. I did competition cheerleading and yes it’s exactly like the movie. Her book was more than I imagined it to be. I was embraced by the first page to the last.
I encourage everyone to read this book.