Fall Book Review: Precolonial Black Africa

I finished a book called Precolonial Black Africa by Cheikh Anta Diop over the weekend. I was grateful to find this book from an online bookseller after not finding information at libraries and mainstream bookstores on the subject of precolonial Africa for years. I would recommend this book if you are interested in African history before European colonization.

Precolonial Black Africa gives readers a good over view on the topic. It covers different cultures in Black Africa and different facets of society. The book discusses religion, education, government, family structure, art, the economy, etc. The author did a good job of sharing information of a vast subject to readers that may not know much about African history.

The book is a little dry and I will attribute it to being translated into English. I didn’t have much background in precolonial African history so I dove into unfamiliar territory which is also a factor. There were parts of the book that I needed to push myself through despite the book only being two hundred and forty pages.

Nonetheless, I would recommend the book if you want to learn about African culture before European colonization. It gives you a good overview and jumping off point for further study. Precolonial Africa is a book that I will save for my personal library for reference.

Here are the few things that stood out for me:

Islam changed African culture before Europe did. Precolonial African leaders were political and religious leaders. Once Africans converted to Islam their traditional leaders lost influence and culture was lost.

Pre colonial African culture had a different relationship to land ownership than Western society has. They didn’t believe anyone could own land or hold a deed for it.

There were more checks and balances in African societies. There was a caste system but lower castes were empowered by social mores.

There was slavery in Africa but many slaves had agency and could move about society. American slaves were treated in similar fashion to the way European peasants and serfs were treated.

Family lineage was traced through mothers.

If you’re interested in learning about Africa before European influence Precolonial Black Africa is worth your time even though the language is a bit dry.

Spring Book Review: Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz

I recently finished reading the autobiography of rock start Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule. I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend the book but there are conditions. I’m biased because I’ve been a Lenny Kravitz fan since the 90s. People that aren’t fans of Lenny Kravitz may find the book to be a bit dull.

Lenny Kravitz has a charmed life. He spent his early childhood in New York City in the 70s and early 80s. I’m grateful to have grown up in the 80s because children had more independence and a sense of safety. At the same time there were not as many children only spaces so children had the opportunity to observe adults more. They just had to stay out of adult business.

Lenny grew up playing on NYC streets with friends and when he was a bit older riding the subway himself to museums like The Met and exploring art. Lenny’s parents were a sophisticated couple and exposed Lenny to fine restaurants and theater as a child. Lenny crossed paths and even had close relationships with entertainment legends. One night while out with his dad Lenny met Frank Sinatra. His godmother was Cicely Tyson and her husband was Miles Davis. Lenny’s stylish parents enjoyed entertaining and he described himself as having numerous glamorous aunts. That is great for character building.

When Lenny was in middle school his mother was cast as Mrs. Willis on The Jeffersons. He was disappointed in having to leave New York but he resettled in sunny southern California and his parents bought a home in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. LA is where Lenny discovered his love of music and developed his talent.

Lenny had a contentious relationship with his father. Their personalities clashed. Lenny’s father spent time in the military and he didn’t mesh well with his free spirited son. Lenny and his dad fell out so badly during his teen years that Lenny got kicked out of the family home and was homeless for a while. But Lenny’s father was key to his success and prosperity in many ways.

Lenny Kravitz married Lisa Bonet in Las Vegas in his early twenties and had a baby shortly after. Lisa and being a young dad were also key to his success. Lisa helped him become more comfortable with who he was as a young man and being a father grounded him. The book ends after the release of his album Let Love Rule. I hope Lenny writes another autobiography because I want to know more about his career, his marriage, his divorce, fatherhood and acting career.

Lenny’s life is pretty wholesome so his story is not one with a lot of action, trauma or tragedy which is what propels most stories these days. Some people may find it a bit dull. But I’m a Lenny fan so I enjoyed the book. Lenny has a very blessed and glamorous life even with the pit falls and false starts. I would recommend this book.

Pandemic Winter Book Review: The Cobbler

I recently finished The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever by Steve Madden. I ran across this book on a library shelf. I was familiar with the brand and owned some of the product but I had never thought of Steve Madden as a person. This book is Steve Madden’s life story. For the most part it is an interesting read and I would recommend it.

First off, I enjoyed the conversational tone of the book. The language was very direct and blunt. Madden is from New York and this book was written the way New Yorkers tend to talk. The author did not try to be deep, woke or intellectual. Reading this story was like talking to a person in a bar.

The Cobbler is fairly short but it touches on a few different subjects. I’ll start with what the book is not. The book is not primarily about fashion, design and trends. Those things are discussed but it’s not the focus of the book so if that’s what you’re looking for this book isn’t for you.

This book touches on family ties, addiction, business, a possible personality disorder the stock market, marriage, divorce, parenthood, incarceration and social injustices. There is a lot going on which can probably be said for all of our lives.

Steve Madden’s story starts in Long Island, NY with his mother, father and two brothers. He talks a bit about his family dynamic and childhood. In his teen years he begins his career as a retail sales person in, you guessed it. A shoe store. He expanded his career in the shoe business as a young adult as a designer, manufacturer and sales representative in New York City.

Steve started his shoe company with $1,100 in 1990. The company did relatively well but he knew the company couldn’t grow without additional cash flow. Steve had a childhood friend named Danny that lent him money to to take his company private. It was a part of a scheme to flip stocks.

Danny worked with a man named Jordan who inflated and sold stocks. The deal was that Steve had to sell his stocks after they were inflated. This deal was depicted in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie Wolves of Wall Street. Steve served about two and a half years for stock manipulation, money laundering and securities fraud.

Steve Madden’s incarceration is the most interesting part of the book. If you enjoy programs like Lockup or Locked Up Abroad you may enjoy The Cobbler. Steve describes prison life and some of the characters he might while locked up. Incarceration gave Steve an understanding of inequities in society and how racist and inhumane the American prison system is.

Steve employed several people that he met while he was incarcerated. He knew that he was fortunate to have a business to return to while other inmates had no opportunities. I really appreciate the author did not get sappy and all kumbaya (which is getting on my nerves) while discussing these matters. He was very matter of fact. Steve Madden supports a non profit organization that helps ex prisoners and homeless people.

Steve got engaged in prison which was cute. He married one of his employees that was with him since the early days of his company once he was released. After his incarceration Steve Madden returned to work and his company grew and became a global juggernaut.

This is an interesting book and inspiration can be gained from it in many different ways. It’s a short read and a little slow in parts but it picks up in the middle. There are heartwarming parts of the book as well as some laugh out loud moments. Overall, would recommend it if you have the time.

Pandemic Book Review: Parable of the Sower

SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s 2021 and COVID cases are increasing which makes pre COVID life impossible. Social activities are very limited so there is more time for past times like reading. My first book review of 2021 is Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. I would recommend this book.

Octavia Butler is an African American author. I appreciate Parable of the Sower because if features a Black, female protagonist and most of the characters are Black but race is not the vehicle that moves the story along. Parable of the Sower is not a typical Black story that involves Civil Rights, inner city life, music, slavery or sports. I don’t have anything against that subject matter but I love it when writers give Black characters range beyond those roles.

Octavia Butler

The story takes place in California from around 2024 to 2036. American society has spiraled downward. The economy is in shambles and Americans are living in poverty. Crime is out of control. Homelessness is commonplace. The government is rife with corruption. The nation’s infrastructure has crumbled.

The United States regressed one hundred and fifty years. Every shameful part of our past was a part of the books present. People were enslaved. Workers were routinely hurt in factories. Child labor was commonly used. A large part of the population was illiterate. Drugs and addictions were ubiquitous. A plague was spreading and making people ill.

Racial tensions were high. Nationalism and hate crimes had been on the rise for decades. A presidential candidate from Texas used this vulnerability to gain support. His campaign promise was to make America great again. Octavia Butler wrote Parable of the Sower in 1993.

The book moves a little slow in parts but I would encourage readers to stick with it. The story is a part of a series and there isn’t a very exciting payoff but I was floored by the author’s insight. If Donald Trump read I would have sworn that he based his campaign on Parable of the Sower. We all know he doesn’t read so I will assume that Butler was clairvoyant. She died in 2006.

If you enjoy dystopian novels add this to your reading list. I think you will enjoy it.

Lockdown Reviews: A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball

During the COVID 19 Lockdown I read the biography A Father First, How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by retired NBA star Dwyane Wade.  The book was published in 2012.  It tells the story of Dwyane’s life while focussing on his relationship with his boys.  He is the father of two sons and he also raised his nephew who needed a home.

For the most part I enjoyed A Father First.  The book is a bit slow moving in parts but it was interesting and touching at other times.  I am an NBA fan and I followed Dwyane’s career for year but I didn’t know much about him personally.  Dwyane lived with his three sisters, two of which were from his mother’s previous relationships, his mom and his dad.  He was the baby of the family.

Wade stated that his family was far from wealthy but when his parents were together his life had stability and the family had what they needed even thought their lives were modest.  His parents, Dwyane and Jolinda, divorced when Wade was a young boy.  His mother admitted that the split was due to her controlling ways.  Everything changed for Dwyane and his sisters after the break up.

Dwyane didn’t see his father often.  His two older sister went to live with friends or other relatives.  Dwyane and his younger sister remained with his mother who developed a serious drug habit.  She had abusive relationships with men after her divorce.  His mother’s boyfriends were involved with drug trafficking and Chicago PD raided his home.  Young Dwyane Wade often went hungry.  His childhood trials made him decide as a young boy that if he became a father that he would be devoted, responsible and loyal.

Dwyane’s grandmother was the matriarch of his large extended family.  Dwyane had a lot of respect for his grandmother and she was always available to offer help.  He and his sister didn’t always seek her help because they didn’t want anyone to know about their mother’s struggle.

Wade went to live with his father, stepmother and brothers when he was in upper elementary school and his life improved.  His sister who he was closest with was not taken in by the dad.  His father and stepmother had another baby, a girl.  While living with his dad sports became a big part of Dwyane’s life.  His dad was his first coach and his brothers were his competitors.

He had a growth spurt in high school and it got the attention of coaches and recruiters.  Dwyane later went to Marquette University.  While he was a student he married his high school sweetheart and became a first time father.  He and his wife had a rocky marriage and later a terribly dramatic divorce after being drafted into the NBA by the Miami Heat and having another baby.

Jolinda had a religious epiphany while she was a fugitive of the law.  She turned herself in to serve her time.  While she was in prison she became free of her drug habit and studied her Bible.  She started a storefront church once she was a free woman and her son later bought her a church with his NBA fortune.  The other details of the book were about his college and NBA career.  I skimmed through those pages because neither were very interesting to me.

I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  The book can be a bit dry but it kind of mirrors Dwyane’s personality.  He’s never come across as very dramatic or talkative.  Jolinda’s story is inspiring even though I resented her for the way her children suffered due to her shortcoming.  Dwyane’s decision to be a committed family man at a young age is also inspirational.  It’s a good read if you have the time.

Lockdown Reviews: Showboat The Life of Kobe Bryant

Like much of the United States and possibly the world I am on lockdown because of COVID – 19.  I have two jobs and both have shut down for the last five weeks due to government orders to prevent the spread of the plague.  This has given me a lot of time to catch up on reading.  I checked out the biography Showboat:  The Life of Kobe Bryant shortly after the NBA star died and I didn’t get around to beginning the book until the quarantine in March.

I am an NBA fan but Kobe was never my guy.  He didn’t play for my team which is the Detroit Pistons.  I have chanted BEAT LA in my living room many, many times.  Most of that energy was directed towards Kobe.  When Kobe died on January 26 I was shocked and saddened.  Even though I’ve never been a Kobe fan I respect his success and I appreciate what he did for the game for twenty years.

This biography is very well written, well researched and detail oriented.  This book is essentially an NBA history that focused on the late 90s to the mid 2010s.  There are accounts of injuries, trades, games and series.  The book is a little less than six hundred pages so it is a long and at times dry read.

I enjoy NBA but the minutiae of this book was a bit much for me.  I was disappointed that the author only devoted a paragraph or two to the 2004 Laker loss to the Detroit Pistons.  I was looking forward to reliving that in print but the author glossed over that glorious event.  But overall I enjoyed the book because it cleared up some of the folklore surrounding Kobe’s relationship with Vanessa, his mother and father and Shaquille O’Neal.  And yes, the rape trial was discussed.

This book reinforced all of my previous notions about Kobe Bryant.  He was an aloof man and fierce competitor.  Kobe Bryant was not a nice guy.  He didn’t really get along with anyone once he became a star.  But that wasn’t important to him.  Winning was.  He was meticulous in everything he did and was a diligent worker.  Kobe had no patience for people around him that didn’t live up to his standards and people were easily discarded.

Kobe also didn’t like to share the spotlight with others.  He didn’t want to share the spotlight with Shaquille O’Neal or Phil Jackson.  LA wasn’t big enough for all of them.  He never wanted it to be said that he needed them in order to be successful.  Kobe was a lot like a 1980s night time soap opera villain that was motivated by a single goal and he didn’t let anything get in his way.  Even though Kobe wasn’t warm and fuzzy I did like him more after reading this book.  I respect the man’s drive and passion.

I also disliked him more after reading this book.  By all accounts Kobe was a prick and so is his wife.  He stabbed Shaquille O’Neal in the back more than once.  He threw his coach Phil Jackson under the bus.  He turned his back on his parents and siblings and cut them off financially before marrying his wife Vanessa and buying a beautiful new home for her mother who was in financial straits before her daughter married the NBA star.  No one really seemed to get along with Kobe.  As an NBA fan I kind of already knew that.

I did learn some new details about Kobe’s life but there wasn’t a lot of new information for me in this book.  It’s fun to relive some of the NBA history that was written about in this book.  I enjoyed the dirt that the book shared on Kobe’s personal entanglements.  The author did a good job of giving us a backstage look at NBA life.  I would recommend the book if you’re an NBA fan.  You will enjoy it and it might make up for the NBA Playoffs being postponed.

 

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 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.