Published by HarperCollins on November 14th 2017
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Rich & Famous, General
Format: Audio Book
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Buy on: Audible
From her more than three hundred appearances for film and television, stage and cabaret, performing comedy or drama, as an unforgettable lead or a scene stealing supporting character, Jenifer Lewis has established herself as one of the most respected, admired, talented, and versatile entertainers working today.
This “Mega Diva” and costar of the hit sitcom black-ish bares her soul in this touching and poignant—and at times side-splittingly hilarious—memoir of a Midwestern girl with a dream, whose journey took her from poverty to the big screen, and along the way earned her many accolades.
With candor and warmth, Jenifer Lewis reveals the heart of a woman who lives life to the fullest. This multitalented “force of nature” landed her first Broadway role within eleven days of her graduation from college and later earned the title “Reigning Queen of High-Camp Cabaret.”
In the audaciously honest voice that her fans adore, Jenifer describes her transition to Hollywood, with guest roles on hits like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends. Her movie Jackie’s Back! became a cult favorite, and as the “Mama” to characters portrayed by Whitney Houston, Tupac Shakur, Taraji P. Henson, and many more, Jenifer cemented her status as the “Mother of Black Hollywood.”
When an undiagnosed menatl illness stymies Jenifer’s career, culminating in a breakdown while filming The Temptations, her quest for wholeness becomes a harrowing and inspiring tale, including revelations of bipolar disorder and sex addiction.
Written with no-holds-barred honesty and illustrated with more than forty color photographs, this gripping memoir is filled with insights gained through a unique life that offers a universal message: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”
“I’m just now getting myself together to start living, not just surviving; laughing and not pretending, learning and not running away from my problems. The process is painful.”
Actress Jenifer Lewis brings her provocative humor and wit to her memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood. Lewis takes readers on a journey through her career and reveals the hard lessons she’s learned. This isn’t a Hollywood tell-all, however. Jenifer reveals dirt on herself and does mention other famous names along the way as they made an impact on her and her life. Yet, though she indeed has dirt of many people, Lewis shies away from throwing people under the bus. It’s not that kind of book. Instead, Jenifer delves into how her mental illness shaped her career and relationships until she finally began to take it under control.
I’ve long loved the characters Jenifer Lewis has played on the small and big screen alike. She’s such an over-the-top personality, that even if she’s being provocative you can’t help but roar with laughter. Lately, the actress has been staring on the hit ABC show Black-ish as Anthony Anderson’s mother Ruby. But fame and fortune weren’t always a part of Lewis’ life. Her journey began in a small town in the mid-western United States where she began entertaining at a young age. Loving the sound of applause, Jenifer decided then that she would somehow become an entertainer. Through school and New York’s theater scene, Lewis honed her skills until she finally began hearing Hollywood’s alluring call. Lewis gives readers an insight into the entertainment industry, along with her romances, friendships, and sex addiction.
I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio which was read by Lewis herself. Her brand of wit and humor really shined through and made even the most shocking stories hilarious. I also loved learning how she followed her dreams no matter what, and how much it ended up costing her. As someone who struggles with mental illness, I really enjoyed hearing how she’s worked through it to make her life complete. Lewis doesn’t hold anything back. Her raw honesty makes you feel for her as she loses loved ones to HIV/Aids, her ambition, and erratic behavior. The published book offers an array of photographs, but I advise listening to the audiobook. Lewis tales her story with such emotion that you can hardly stop listening. One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read!