BlogHer paid me to read this book and write a review. The words and thoughts are my own, as if you couldn't tell.
So. What's the first thing you think of when you hear "Vanessa Williams"?
By reading You Have No Idea, by Vanessa Williams and her mom Helen Williams, [as well as by asking the husband] I found out that most people think one of the first five things and then immediately their minds go to the last on the list. I've not seen the Penthouse pictures [yet], but they are evidently as integral a part of American history as the moon landing.
And to their credit, Ms. and Mrs. Williams get that, and they touch on that issue first thing. There are explanations and honesty and humor about what could have been the end of Vanessa Williams' career and what was a very shitty time. They explain how it happened and how it affected them, warts and all, and I have to give them credit for that.
I was surprised at how entertaining this book was - both Williams are almost painfully honest throughout. Plus, there are lots and lots of pictures, which I love.
The things I loved best?
The fact that Helen Williams has The List of people who have done her and her family wrong, and once you are on it? You are screwed.
The fact that Vanessa Williams had an abortion and discusses it simply.
The fact that Helen Williams thinks every young woman should live on her own and make something of herself before settling down.
The fact that Vanessa Williams was very "Whatever, scholarship money" about winning Miss America until she realized it was a huge deal, at which point she totally threw herself into it.
So, a pretty entertaining celebrity bio. I'd definitely recommend reading it while working out. Check out the conversation at BlogHer.