For the most part, I am reading purely for pleasure; and I find I want to explore time periods. One of those times periods has a lot to do with wondering what the impact of the world around had on my childhood and thus, the woman I’ve grown to be. I was born in 74, I was a young girl in the 80s, turning 18 in the early 90s. That’s a great big time span of incredible change that I’m sure affected who I am and what I believe. One only has to do a search for a timeline that shows the change impacts of those three decades.
Having finished Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please, I wanted another memoir to read. I wanted something that wasn’t written by a comedienne (many of the last few I’ve read have been); and I wanted it to be written by someone older than myself – a lot older. I enjoyed Poehler’s book, but I only read at the recommendation of a younger friend of mine who was incredibly impressed by the words of wisdom she found in Yes, Please. Poehler isn’t that much older than myself, so while I found the book funny and I could laugh about my own experiences during the same time span, I don’t think I was her prime target audience.
I contemplated Gloria Steinem, The Notorious RBG, and a host of others…and then I got an email from Simon and Schuster about a book on just released from their Galley imprint. I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones and Paul Morley came out on June 14, 2016 – I got the email about the book and instantly decided that was the one.
I finished Grace Jone’s book, “I’ll never write my Memoirs” – and it was one of the best books I’ve read in an incredibly long time. Seriously. The book is incredibly well written and shows sides of Grace Jones that I suspect not many people will recognize. The book isn’t really written based on a timeline of some sort, but it touches on the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. It touches seriously sensitive topics, like emotional and physical abuse, sexual identity and sexual preference, and gender identity, suicide, feminism, and what we do for beauty. The book also touches on the AIDS epidemic and how it affected those who were close to it; as well as continuous but sporadic thread on religion and spirituality. A theme throughout the book is the theatrics of life, and when to play to the crowd and when not to. The book is phenomenal; and when I closed it, I thought how sad it was that my dad never had a chance to read it (not sure he would have, but still). I wonder if he’d glimped the true person behind the public Grace Jones, would he have still liked her?
This is a book to be shared. In fact, I think its an important book for young women to read. Grace Jones is blunt and honest about the pitfalls of the world she created and lived in. She’s brazen about the woman she became for the public, but the importance of knowing when to reel it in is a real conversation she has throughout the book in numerous ways. The book is honest and raw and thrilling in ways I didn’t even expect. There are nuggets of wisdom throughout the whole book, you just have to realize the rip roaring stories all lead up to a moment of reflection. I can’t imagine you would, but don’t allow yourself to gloss over the stories. If you do, you might miss the point of what she’s trying to teach you.
You know when you are bored and you think about the famous people you’d like to sit around the Algonquin Roundtable with for lunch and a chat? Grace Jones just made the top of that guest list…the top. But without the makeup and the outlandish clothing. I just want to chat with the real Grace Jones, because I think she might just well have some of the best lessons to share.
(part of this review was originally posted on Old Musty Books)