Hot Girl Summer: “Believe It”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

My last Hot Girl Summer book review is “Believe It” by NFL quarterback Nick Foles.  I ran across this book while I was working my part time library job.  My first reaction to the book was I couldn’t imagine anything more boring than an autobiography of Nick Foles.

believe it

But then I remembered his practical and heartfelt MVP speech after winning Superbowl LII.  It touched my heart.  A lot of the victory speeches that people give at events such as the Oscars are sugary sweet nonsense that sets people up for failure.  I don’t believe that most celebrities tell the entire truth about how they become successful.

I checked “Believe It” out and indeed some parts were boring but overall I enjoyed the book.  I am not an Eagles fan so I skipped over the parts of the book where Nick Foles detailed the Playoff season.  I remember that Playoff season but I am not an Eagles fan and I was following other teams.  All of the teams that I cared about had been eliminated by the end so I gave my support to the Eagles simply because they were playing the heavily favored Patriots which get on my nerves along with most of the rest of America.

In case you don’t know here is the backstory.  Nick Foles is the NFL quarterback that led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Superbowl victory in 2018.  Nick was a back up quarterback at the beginning of the season to Carson Wentz who was sensational.  Carson Wentz got hurt at the end of the regular season and couldn’t continue to play.  Nick had to step in at a critical juncture of the season and not let his team mates and the city of Philadelphia down.

Nick Foles is kind of like a live action version of Charlie Brown that won the Superbowl.  His life isn’t very dramatic but nothing came easy for him.  He was picked 88th in the NFL draft.  I didn’t realize the numbers went that high.  He played second string to superstar quarterbacks Mike Vick and Carson Wentz.  He also played back up to one of my favs Alex Smith.

charlie brown and lucy

He was a starting quarterback on the St. Louis Rams which was a struggling franchise at the time.  He was in that lead position briefly and was fired.  After his winning Superbowl season Nick played with the Eagles briefly and then became a free agent.  He started the current NFL season as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars but his collarbone was broken in the first game against my Kansas City Chiefs.

Nick told other anecdotes of being awkward and things just not going quite right.  I think many of us can relate to this book even if we are not athletic or particularly competitive.  Prior to the Superbowl reporters covering the event confused Nick with a different player.  That’s easy to believe because he is a pretty plain looking guy.

nick foles

He went into a restaurant in Philadelphia and went unnoticed by fans that loudly expressed their lack of faith that Nick could bring the championship home.  The woman that he fell in love with on sight and later married was dating someone else when they first met.  The proposal that he planned was a comedy of errors.  A lot of celebrities try to be relatable and it comes across as very phony and condescending.  But I think everyone can gain something from Nick’s encouraging MVP speech.  Please watch.

 

I recommend “Believe It” even if you don’t enjoy football.  I enjoy the game and I skipped parts of it because I still interested in the Eagles Superbowl run and I don’t need to read about it in detail.  But Nick is a likeable and sympathetic character.  Everyone loves an underdog and he was the lead underdog on a team of underdogs.  It would be hard not to like “Believe It”.

 

Hot Girl Summer: “The Boleyn Wife”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

Boleyn Wife

I don’t know why it took me so long to come to this conclusion but Henry the VIII was a murderous maniac.  He was a medieval Charles Manson.  He didn’t kill people himself as far as we know but he used his influence to have others do it for him.  I’ve always been fascinated by Henry the VIII and I was a fan of the show The Tudors.  Henry’s life reads or at least historians present his life as a soap opera.  I’m ashamed that it took me so long to stop believing in the hype.

The Boleyn Wife is about Jane Boleyn, the sister in law of Queen Anne Boleyn.  Jane married Anne brother George Boleyn.  Jane and George had an arranged marriage.  Jane loved George but her feelings were unrequited.  George saw the marriage as a business affair and not a matter of the heart or even respect.  He was not attracted to or fond of his wife at all.  He barely paid her any attention at all.

George had a very close relationship with his sister Anne.  Jane was tormented with jealousy of the relationship her husband had with his sister because she wished to be close to George.  Jane was committed to loving the wrong man.  She never had an affair or attempted to leave the marriage.  But when she had the opportunity to give testimony against her husband she did.  And he, his sister and two others were executed.

Lady Jane lived with guilt and for many years.  She lived a life of quiet desperation.  She loved and trusted the wrong people over and over and she never came to her senses and took back her power.  She conceived a child in a predatory relationship that she was unable to love.  He was given away.  Jane ended up being executed herself along with her Queen Catherine Howard.  Jane was executed despite going insane while in prison due to the pressure of incarceration and being haunted by memories.

If you enjoy historical fiction and have an interest in Henry the VIII you will enjoy this book.  It’s very sad and it’s a point of view I had never heard before even though Lady Jane was portrayed in The Tudors.  There is a lesson to learn from Lady Jane.  Don’t waste your time loving someone that doesn’t love you.  If you find yourself in unrequited love end it, dust yourself off and try again once you’ve figured out what you deserve.

Hot Girl Summer: “Woman of Virtue”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

Woman of Virtue

woman of virtue

I found this book in Hoopla, my library’s digital book database.  It popped up when I put Proverbs 31 in the search engine.  The book is a Biblical guide to being a virtuous Proverbs 31 woman.  For the most part I enjoyed and I would recommend the book.

I like the perspective of the book because it is an alternate view of modern womanhood.  It challenges the influence of feminism in today’s culture and families.  The author encourages women to be modest, dutiful and virtuous which is a sharp contrast to the common messages that women get from the media.  Women and girls are socialized to be vain, self centered and promiscuous.  So the conventional thinking in this book makes it rebellious and counter culture.  I’ve always thought of myself as a rebel spirit.

There were parts of the book that were a bit outdated for my liking.  For instance the book discourages women not to work outside of the home.  I believe this is the ideal and I respect homemaking as a career choice but I don’t think I could ever trust any man that much.  The book also encourages women to tough it out and stay in your marriage if you find yourself married to a jerk.

Perhaps I interpreted Mrs. Brackley’s words wrong but I don’t think anyone should remain in a relationship where they are being mistreated.  I don’t for one minute believe that the Lord called anyone to be in an abusive marriage.  (I don’t specifically recall the author writing about abusive relationships.)

If a spouse is not keeping up their end of the bargain by not honoring their partner I don’t think it’s the other spouses place to try and make up for that deficit in order maintain a marriage.  Marriage just isn’t that important to me.  That’s a big part of the reason that I think that women shouldn’t stay outside of the workforce for very long unless you’re married to a millionaire that can pay a large settlement in the event of a divorce.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It is thought provoking and challenges the reader to rethink contemporary culture and women’s roles.  I agreed with most of what the book had to say even if I don’t think it was entirely realistic and practical.

 

 

 

Hot Girl Summer: “Perfect is Boring”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

Perfect is Boring

perfect is boring

I read Perfect is Boring this summer by Tyra Banks and her Mama Carolyn London.  I didn’t really like this book.  I just read it because I’m a Tyra fan.  Carolyn’s contributions are better more interesting than Tyra’s.  If you’ve followed Tyra’s career there is nothing new here.  Tyra gets on the same self righteous, slightly misguided soap boxes in this book as she did on her talk show and as she does on America’s Next Top Model.

This book follows along the same vein as Girl Wash Your Face in that a woman that doesn’t have any real challenges is telling you how to deal with challenges.  In Girl Wash Your Face an attractive woman with a successful career and happy home life is telling you how to deal with insecurities.

For decades Tyra has been telling women to embrace what they perceive to be physical imperfections meanwhile she has made millions because she is aesthetically pleasing.  It’s not her place to speak because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Tyra is well meaning but watching her tell women on ANTM to embrace their “flaws” is counter productive.  It’s always bothered me that on all but perhaps the first few seasons of ANTM  there has been a so called plus sized model that is perhaps a size eight.

antm

The latter cycles of ANTM have focused on the fashion model hopefuls and their insecurities.  So here we have women that had what it takes to be on a TV show about modeling being coached to be confident by an international super model.  Tyra thinks she’s being relatable but she’s nauseating.

I really am a fan though and I’ve watched every of ANTM and I watched her talk show daily when it came on.  Tyra is weird and kind of annoying but I love her and I’ve hung on her every word since the mid 90s.  But this book was still disappointing.

I was hoping for a celebrity tell all.  I wanted her to spill the beans on why she broke up with her baby daddy.  What happened between her and Chris Webber?  What went wrong between her and that Indian technology mogul.  I wanted her to admit that she is jealous of Naomi Campbell and absolutely obsessed with her. 

The book did give a bit of the behind the scenes information about America’s Next Top Model.  Tyra talked a bit about the legendary scene where she snapped on the young girl and yelled “- — ——- — —!  — —- — ——- — —!”  Some of you know what I’m talking about but if you don’t:

None of that happened in this book.  She just wrote about self esteem and self respect.  I found it to be pretty dull but if someone got something out of it that’s great.  Tyra’s mom Carolyn briefly told her life story in the book.  I’m familiar with Carolyn because she’s made appearances on ANTM.  Her story is truly inspirational.

tyra's mom

Carolyn was a young naive mother of two children.  She is a hard worker but most of all she is smart with good instincts.  Carolyn’s smarts and artistic talents are what got Tyra to where she is today.  She is a very talented photographer with an eye for fashion and style.  And she was good at strategizing.  Carolyn is a woman that got ahead by being smart and putting well thought out plans into action.  I think she could be an inspiration to a lot of women.

Fun fact.  A few years ago I read about a woman giving her young daughter a period party when she started menstruating.  She probably stole that from Carolyn.  Carolyn did that for Tyra when she began her lady’s time and she wrote about it in Perfect is Boring  Carolyn said that she was very naive about sex even after becoming pregnant and she wanted her daughter to be informed and have a good understanding of her body.

I can’t say that I would recommend this book even if you are in middle school.  I’m sure there are better literary choices you can make.  But if you do decided to read it save time and skim past Tyra’s parts and jump to Carolyn’s passages.  If you’re a die hard Tyra fan you may enjoy this book.  It’s kind of like calling an old friend.

 

Hot Girl Summer: “Girl Wash Your Face”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing. I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year. My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times. All of my adventures and drama came from reading. That’s a good and bad thing at the same time. Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me. I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

girl wash your face

I hate read this book.  I read it expecting not to like it so I could shake my head with disapproval as I read.  Girl Wash Your Face did not disappoint.  I think it’s important to consider the intended audience when consuming entertainment.  I don’t think I’m the intended audience for the work of Rachel Hollis.

Rachel Hollis is a social media influencer and event planner that wrote a book to inspire her fans.  She has 1.5 million followers on Instagram that reach out to Rachel for advice with self esteem and parenting matters.  Her followers sound like they are White housewives from upper middle class backgrounds that drive themselves insane by comparing themselves to images and narratives on social media.

So Mrs. Hollis wrote a book advising suburban soccer moms to feel good about themselves and not to tear themselves apart.  Who told these women not to feel good about themselves in the first place?  She used anecdotes about her life as inspiration.  The problem is her life isn’t very interesting and you can tell she was grasping at straws while putting that book together.

There wasn’t a single idea or story that lead the reader through Girl Wash Your Face.  The book is all over the place and didn’t stay on a linear path.  The choppy path didn’t tie together very well.  It’s as if she was told she had to write a certain amount of words but she didn’t have much to say.

She talked about her courtship with her husband, her start as an event planner in LA and her experiences as a mother.  All of her experiences are fairly common and there isn’t a lot of drama to her life, at least not that she shared.  There wasn’t a universal experience that she shared that really captured my experience to endear her to me.  I would bet money that if you had a middle aged cashier working at Dollar General or serving tables at Denny’s or something to write a similar book it would be %1000 more captivating.

The best portion of the book is about her adopted daughter and the struggles she had trying to adopt.  If she focused on that it would have been a far better book.  I also enjoy when she said that she was from a small, conservative town in California and her family has roots in the Midwest.  Hollis said that her family was like the people in The Grapes of Wrath.  Now those people were interesting.  I would have liked to hear more about those people and the people from her home town and the current culture.

I’m not trying to diminish what a White, affluent housewife goes through.  I’m just not a part of that culture and I don’t relate to it.  Just like I don’t relate to standing in long lines to get into Build a Bear or for Beanie Babies at McDonald’s.  I also don’t understand the fascination with pumpkin spiced beverages and food.  I’m just not a part of that culture.

The most insightful thing I’ve ever experience about White, suburban housewife culture is a short You Tube documentary about the clothing company Lu La Roe.  The women in that documentary are probably the same type of women that follow Rachel Hollis on IG

The documentary was engaging because there was something in those women that I didn’t recognize in women that I grew up around.  When Black women have tortured souls the outward manifestation is different.  There was a sadness about all of the women in this film that I don’t think came from a failed business venture.

The women in this short film were non assuming with soft spirits.  All of them were likeable even if you liked them out of sympathy.  There was a loneliness and quiet desperation about them.  I’m curious as to what made them so vulnerable to the scam.  I understand why a lot of people in the world fall into predatory traps but these women’s material needs were being met, they have a family network and they fit into what global society upholds as it’s standards.  I wish this documentary could become a reality show.  I have questions that need answers.

They weren’t drug addicted, abused as far as we were told but they still have self image problems that lead them to be a part of a leggins selling cult and it’s hard but interesting to understand why.  It’s almost like reading A Doll’s House when I was a student.  I barely remember what this was about but I know it was about a traditional and her quiet suffering.  It was kind of like a 19th century version of Desperate Housewives.

Anyhow, I didn’t enjoy Girl Wash Your Face.  I’m even a bit put off by the title.  I think that Rachel Hollis is a nice woman, a smart woman and is probably well intentioned but once again I’m not a part of Hollis’ target demographic.  Rachel has built a huge fan base as a lifestyle influencer.  I don’t understand what a lifestyle influencer does.  She is an unaccredited mental health and relationship guru that is selling millions of books so she has clearly tapped into something that I don’t understand.  Perhaps some of you will enjoy this book but it’s just not for me.

 

 

Hot Girl Summer: “Darkness to Light”

Summer 2019 is behind us and you know what, I didn’t do a darn thing.  I didn’t visit one beach, pool or amusement park this year.  My “Hot Girl Summer” consisted of going to work, going to church going to brunch a few times.  All of my adventures and drama came from reading.  That’s a good and bad thing at the same time.  Ice could have been covering the ground and it would not have made much of a difference to me.  I’m going to share and review what I read this summer.

My first review is “Darkness to Light” by Lamar Odom.

lamar odom

 

This was a good read.  I think you’ll enjoy it if you’re an NBA fan or a person that enjoys celebrity gossip.  I enjoy both.  This story is about the life of NBA champion Lamar Odom.  The book begins with the Lamar’s parents’ star crossed love story.  Then we learn about his experiences as a basketball phenom.  He wrote about his college days and his early years in the NBA.  That lead into his prime years in LA, his marriage into a reality TV family, his decline and then the day he ODed in a whorehouse in Nevada and near death experience.

Lamar is mild mannered and non assuming.  In interviews he came across as having a passive personality.  I felt like he was being bullied by some of the female entertainment journalists that interviewed him while he was promoting this book.  But man, Lamar has had a wild, glamorous and fabulous life.  The man has been to parties where Prince and Whitney Houston were in attendance.  He’s been to Hollywood movie premiers and he’s been in an NBA champion victory parade, twice.

This book made a few impressions on me.  First of all, Lamar Odom is a lucky duck.  He was a drug abuser for years and dodged punishment for his habit.  He was a high functioning drug addict who didn’t suffer repercussions professionally and managed to have a wildly successful career.

lamar odom

His personal relationships were what paid the price for his addictions.  He lost the relationship he had with his high school sweetheart and mother of his two children.  His relationship with Taraji Henson was destroyed.  And he famously divorced Khloe Kardashian.  Lamar suffered the loss of his mother to cancer while he was a young boy and he continues to struggle with her death.  But drug and sex is what ruined his romances and marriage.

khloe and lamar

Secondly, this book taught me that pro athletes are basically raised by recruiters and coaches.  The influence and place that these men have in the lives of young athletes is significant.  As a sports fan there are certain things that make sense to me now as an observer.  (I’ll keep those things to myself)  Coaches and recruiters play a father like role to up and coming young men.  In Lamar’s story they looked out for his interests but they also viewed him as a product to be protected so their motivations were not purely altruistic.

I also learned that Kris Jenner is a huge B word.  This woman is willing sell her own children out for fame and a payday.  That Kardashian/Jenners are opportunistic and take their family business very seriously.  The business is more important than the family.  Perhaps you all already figured that out but I am a little slow and naïve.  I’ve honestly always admired Kris Jenner but I’m sure a lot of people admire Judas for a while too.  I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil things for you.

phil jackson

NBA fans will get a kick out of Lamar’s behind the scenes stories.  He drops names throughout this book quite a bit.  Of course he mentions Kobe.  He grew up with Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace.  He had a terrible relationship with Mark Cuban while he was in Dallas and Phil Jackson was a hero to him.  I wish the booked focused on his NBA career more.

If you are interested in NBA, Hollywood glamour, the Kardashians, overcoming addictions or near death experiences.  You might enjoy “Darkness to Light”.  There’s something in it for just about everyone.  I certainly enjoyed the book.

“The Bluest Eye” and What it Means in 2019 – Toni Morrison February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019

Literary hero Toni Morrison died earlier this week.  Her powerful novel The Bluest Eye is what makes Ms. Morrison a legend in my eyes.  The book was released in 1970 and exposed ugly truths about Black women and self image and the effect it has on an individual’s psyche and overall well being.

I read The Bluest Eye long ago and it has resonated with me for years.  I am a Black American woman and I refer to the story of Pecola Breedlove often as I observe Black people in modern culture.  The story revolves around around a young dark skinned Black girl named Pecola Breedlove.  She is seen as ugly and not treated very well throughout her life.  Pecola becomes fixated on blue eyes that she sees in popular images and wishes that she had them herself.  Pecola thinks that her quality of life would improve if she has blue eyes, blonde hair and light skin.  Was she wrong?

bluest eye 3

I certainly don’t think so.  And it’s sad that the world that Pecola lived in made it impossible for her to accept herself.  Pecola’s dark skin condemned her to a lack of opportunities and second class treatment in the culture of the day.  She was born to be a proverbial whipping boy.  I wouldn’t dare say that things haven’t changed.  It would be incredibly entitled for me as a dark skinned Black woman born in 1975 to say that things have remained the same.  But they aren’t very different.

Globally, people of African descent see beauty and freedom in adopting and mimicking European aesthetics.  I personally have regularly chemically straightened my hair since I was around eight.  It wasn’t my decision to start relaxing my hair but I haven’t made an adult decision to stop doing what I was taught as a child either.  Many Black women go through the expense of wearing fake hair that is usually a straight texture.

I don’t blame or criticize Black women for trying to meet European beauty standards.  Life is competitive and black women want the same things that everyone else wants such as basic respect, career and romantic success.  It’s a little easier to achieve those things when you look like a person of European heritage.  Pecola was a simple girl but she was smart enough to come to that conclusion.

I feel like as time goes on Black girls and women are having a more difficult time accepting their appearance in this image conscious, Eurocentic society.  I had heard of several suicides of young Black girls over the last few years but the first article that I pasted below says that suicide rates among young Black children have doubled between 1993-2015

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/12-old-girl-commits-suicide-113320792.html

Heartbreaking: 6-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide With Jump Rope

10-Year-Old Colorado Girl Commits Suicide After Bullying

9-Year Old Girl Commits Suicide After Months of Being Bullied at Her School

https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/nation-world-news/in-wake-of–year-old-s-suicide-waterford-father/article_3130e765-8b71-5644-aab4-236d2e592496.html

I never realized how much vitriol there was within the Black community towards Black women until I became a consumer of social media.  YIKES!  The voices are often mean spirited and openly hostile towards Black women who are not given much support or positive reinforcement.  Meanwhile images of racially ambiguous and White women are glorified and placed on a pedestal for Black audiences.  It’s a complete mind f—.  I’m not surprised that we have problems and tragedies.

There’s no good way to end this post because the real life stories of Pecola Breedloves continues to unfold.   My hope is that all Black people will learn to accept and love themselves.  I hope that the world learns to accept Blackness but that is doubtful because there is a perception that there is something for others to lose if people of African descent improve themselves and stop being so European focused.  I am grateful to Toni Morrison for illustrating this matter so beautifully.  I urge you to read The Bluest Eye if you haven’t.  It’s unforgettable and timeless.