As a fan of memoirs I was thrilled to be picked to review "You Have No Idea", the untold story of Vanessa Williams' life. I'll start by saying that I knew very little about her before starting this book which may or may not have influenced my reaction to it. I found it to be a beautiful story about a mother and a daughter. Because of the way it’s written with both Vanessa and her mom Helen telling the story at times it feels like we are eavesdropping into their conversations. Vanessa was thrown into a lifestyle of fame without much preparation and throughout the book we see how her mother was able to help her with the transition while teaching her very important life lessons.
Perhaps the most striking part of the book for me was the retelling of her winning the Miss America pageant. Not the actual crowning, but what happened later. Vanessa writes "The first black Miss America. I'd made history!" (pg. 31) Unfortunately this win was not received well by everyone and she faced racism from both sides of the fence. Later the crown was taken away from her because of an unfortunate leak of inappropriate pictures that had been taken years before. But before that happened her reign was shadowed by threatening calls and mail from those who felt she didn’t deserve this title.
This would be a great book to give to any mother or daughter because more than a memoir it seems like a great story of the relationship between Vanessa and her mom.
Please join me at the BlogHer Book Club page HERE for more discussions about this book. This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.