A black actress and activist chronicles her life story and speaks out about issues important to her.
As in many memoirs, Union—known for her roles in such films as Bring It On and Deliver Us from Eva and currently on the TV show Being Mary Jane—begins by remembering episodes from her childhood that show her insecurities, vulnerabilities, and naiveté when it came to things like boys, puberty, and making friends in grade school. Readers learn about her efforts with her hair, fitting in as a black person in an almost all-white school, and the process of learning about her own body. A third of the way into the narrative, the author tackles the more serious moments in her life, particularly the day she suffered the horrific experience of burglary and rape at the shoe store where she worked. “After I was raped,” she writes, “…I didn’t leave my house for a whole year unless I had to go to court or to therapy.” Though she has since become a strong advocate for sexual assault victims, the author shifts to the issues of color and racism in America, of raising her stepchildren in a world where young black men are considered dangerous regardless of who their parents are, and the death of a close friend from cancer. With honesty and humor, Union bares her soul and shares her levels of insecurity, the difficulties of being a black woman in Hollywood, and the way fame has changed her life. She embraces many multilayered issues in these intimate essays, giving readers glimpses of insight into her soul. However, some will wish that the author explored many of these issues further, and those unfamiliar with her work in film and on TV will find some of her references obscure.
Personal, reflective moments that reveal various aspects of an actress and activist’s life.