I was looking through Taraji P. Henson’s Around The Way Girl when I saw the book This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare by Gabourey Sidibe and added it to my list. One year later, I have gotten around to reading it…Finally!
When I added it to my list at first, I didn’t think much of it. I knew her from Empire, and later, in a short scene on Brothers Grimsby. Then I started reading the book and could not put it down. Gabourey writes just as she speaks, and her personality comes out.
She recounts how fame through her first movie, didn’t protect her family from being evicted from the apartment she shared with her mother and brother. On the red carpet for the many film awards that exist, she would walk in second-hand clothes as other women wore high-end designer clothes.
Through it all though, she never lost who she really was – a black woman with a dream bigger than herself.
There is a chapter where she talks about her body and how many people have different views about it. She tries to not let the comments get to her, especially those about losing weight. In the end, she tries out different ways of losing weight before finally deciding to go for surgery – not because of people’s comments, but because she wanted to.
Despite all the hateful comments she endured, she hasn’t let them diminish her joy, nor the love she has for herself and her curves. She writes:
This is my body. It’s going to be with me forever. For all the ways it’s failed me, it’s come through for me a million times more. I’ll never be skinny and don’t really want to be. I want to be smaller and I want to be healthier. My body will get me there. Every day I have to remind myself to be good to my body and allow it to be good to me. I’m also trying to stop my urge to make the joke first. I know my body is not funny. I choose me and my body over my fear of someone making a joke of it.
Then there’s the relationship she has with her parents, and her distaste for her father, who entered into a green card marriage with her mother and then promptly engaged in polygamous relationships with women both in New York and in his home country, Senegal. Also, with her fame came the ever dependent relatives who are always looking for handouts.
Now, just before she got her first acting role, she was a phone sex operator. Her experiences will make you laugh hard!
This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare captures it all. Her highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.
I highly recommend it!
And yes, just the way this review has been a little all over the place, the book is too!
See You Next Week!