One of my favorite actresses of all time has to be Gabrielle Union.
When I got her book as a birthday present this year, I was excited to get into it. I had intended to get a bottle of wine just as the title suggests, but I somehow kept putting it off until well, I finished the book.
Right from the start of this book, you get a feeling that you really are talking with a friend over wine and having a PG-rated conversation with your best friend.
Despite this deceptively casual approach you will find yourself fast contemplating the often tip-toed conversation surrounding the issue of racism, being black, and being a woman (particularly in Hollywood). We get a glimpse of how Gabrielle really views the world of movies when she mentions the unfair treatment she got as a guest star on the set of Friends (currently watching season 2) and the patronizing manner in which the director addressed her despite the few accolades under her belt at the time. She awakens us to the fear each aging star gets when faced with the new face of Hollywood and the insecurity felt by these folks, leading to a problem of snobbery and difficult bosses. She also explores the role of being a divorcee, a wife (in a second marriage), and the expectations of being a stepmother; giving little pieces of advice.
“Rape is the most under-reported crime there is and it’s shrouded in secrecy and shame,” she says. Union was raped as a college student and in the book, she details the experience and its aftermath. It’s clearly in many places that reporting the assault and going through the whole judicial process feels like being violated again. Which is just so sad.
It was eye-opening to read about the events leading up to the assault. And infuriating to learn that it might not have occurred if the presence of a predator had been widely shared and preventive security measures had been taken. It was so frustrating and heartbreaking to read about the aftermath which included her family’s being made aware of the assault and how they dealt with it, as well as Union’s fear to leave her home, her participation in the prosecution of her attacker, and trying to re-adjust to life. The importance of readily available resources, support for the victim, and the diligence of law enforcement and prosecutors are made very clear.
She also talks about marriage – not just hers, but her parents’ as well. Union’s parents’ marriage was plagued with issues that eventually led to divorce. There’s a key point here that children learn how to conduct themselves and how they should expect to be treated in a relationship from the adults around them, especially their parents. Children are at risk of internalizing, normalizing, and repeating negative relationship behaviors if that’s what they’re exposed to. This idea of holding on to a dead relationship at all costs to avoid feeling like a failure doesn’t do anyone any good.
And that’s exactly what happened to Gabrielle. In her first marriage, she tried making it work even when she knew nothing could be fixed….Well, until she eventually divorced.
She is now married to a former basketball player, Dwayne Wade.
A plus of her marriage is that she helps raise Wade’s children from his previous marriage. As the children get older the reality of them growing into being young and black in America comes with fear about their safety as they move through society.
Is it ever going to be safe?
At the time of writing this book, Gabrielle openly speaks about having rounds of fertility treatments and suffering multiple miscarriages. However uncomfortable this may be, she shares her experience and feelings.
Now, they are parents to a two-year-old girl via surrogate!
Many of us, however successful or unsuccessful we may be, find it very hard to speak about our hardships and difficulties. Reading We’re Going To Need More Wine sparks uncomfortable conversations and serves as an inspiration to those struggling to cope with and overcome trauma and general setbacks in life.
This is a book I highly recommend!