Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BITS AND PIECES by Whoopi Goldberg


My Mother, My Brother, and Me

by Whoopi Goldberg

Pub Date: May 7th, 2024
ISBN: 9798200920235
Publisher: Blackstone

A vivid portrait of the author’s beloved mother and brother, interwoven with the story of her rise to the top of American entertainment.

In her latest book, Goldberg (b. 1955) shares memories of her mother and brother, who passed away unexpectedly in 2010 and 2015, respectively. In the first half, the author offers a close, intimate view of her childhood growing up in public housing in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in the 1960s and ’70s. It was just the three of them in what Goldberg calls her “nucleus family,” and she shows scene after scene of her tightknit family life, as if flipping through a photo album: a summer day at Coney Island, a trip to the World’s Fair in Queens, the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Even the author’s recollection of an unnerving familial tragedy does little to disrupt the warm glow of these childhood years, recalled in loosely chronological order. Until a young Goldberg discovers her love of acting nearly 70 pages in, the narrative suffers from a meandering quality, moving around place and time without a clear rhyme or reason. However, as we watch the author’s career develop in the second half of the memoir—from experimental theater to Broadway and Hollywood—her memories of her mother and brother take shape around a guiding idea, creating a poignant, enjoyable, and moving read. “For those of you who still have your mom, dad, and siblings,” she writes, “don’t let a lot of time pass without talking about death….[M]ost of us don’t have to face or think about death all that much. Let me tell you when you don’t want to have to figure it out: after the person has died.”

Readers will want to call their parents after finishing this behind-the-scenes look at the life of a major entertainer.