You Have No Idea {Book Review}

Last month I signed up to review Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams joint venture, You Have No Idea.  It's a book they wrote together.  Most of it is from Vanessa's view, but like any good mother, Helen puts in her two cents where needed.  Let me tell you, this book had me wanting more.  Each chapter presented a new situation, and I just needed to know how it all ended.  Plus, BlogHer wants to send me FREE books to read and review?  Uh, Yes please, and thank you!

This is a paid review friends, but the opinions are mine. 
I hope that you enjoy this review, and it makes you want to read this book!

Vanessa and Helen Williams

The book begins with Vanessa talking about her childhood, her parents, and life for her family in a mostly white suburb.  What I loved was that Vanessa and her school friends knew no color boundaries.  They were friends of similar interests.  I also loved that from the word go, Vanessa was on a path all her own.  Even admitting if Helen told her not to do something she did it.  She was a child that had spunk, but also had grace and beauty.  Which was a product of the kind of love and nurturing she got from Mom and Dad.

You Have No Idea, talks about her stint as the first Black Miss America.  I bet some of you young ins didn't even know she was Miss America.  Well she was, and she was a trail blazer!  In the book she discusses how in some parts of the south, she had extra security during parades and events where she was the honorary guest!  Seriously! 

Unfortunately, her rein as Miss America came to a very abrupt end, just 6 weeks before the new Miss America would be crowned.  She was dethroned by some racy pics that were published in Penthouse Magazine.  Now, today, every celebrity has some naked pics and sex tapes floating around the Internet.  Isn't that what has made Miss Kim Kardashian a household name, with a billion dollar empire to boot?  Well, back in the early 80s, (1984 to be exact) racy photos were not acceptable behavior of a young miss, who just happened to be America's newest sweetheart.  She details how she was able to handle that crisis, and bounce back.

I enjoyed reading her climb to stardom.  It didn't come quickly or easily.  Her Miss America scandal was always the monkey on her back.  I'm so used to just noting her roles as an actress, and I always forget that she has had a very successful recording career.  By reading the book I was equally impressed with her Broadway career.  

This book was also the perfect example of the mother/daughter dynamic.  Her relationship with her mother is very different from mine, but love is always a constant.  Helen loves Vanessa in her own way.  Sometimes I found that Helen may be a little harsh.  Just as I felt that Vanessa could have taken some of her mother's advice.  Listening to Vanessa's story from her point of view, and then to hear it from her mother was great.  As a Mom, who is still a daughter, I could totally relate. 

Oh, and you know Wilhelmina, from Ugly Betty?  Well, it's been said (in the book) that Willie was modeled after Helen!  The looks, the sharp tongue, the wit... All Helen!  Since I was and will always be a huge Ugly Betty fan, I loved that little factoid!

If you get a chance, this is a perfect summer read.  It's not just about some starlet living the good life.  This is a book about perseverance.  This is a book about a strong woman working her way to the top.  It's also a book about a working mother.  Sure it's Hollywood style, but she had her fair share of late nights and early mornings.  She also had moments where she had to decide between her kids and her career.  She had to make those tough choices that we are all faced with. 

I thought I knew all about Vanessa Williams, but I had no idea!

For more information on You Have No Idea or
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  1. I always love a good book suggestion. Sounds like something I would enjoy. Going to check out if my library has it (I'm on a free book kick as I'm trying to save money) which really limits the books I can read. My town is 4500 population and to say our library has a fantastic, huge selection would be a tad misleading ;)

  2. I enjoy a good biography! Maybe I'll add it to my summer list.