I've said it before and I'll say it again, if Oprah adds it to her book club, you know it's going to be good. Besides Oprah's stamp of approval, I didn't need much convincing to pick up Finding Me by Viola Davis. I loved her on How to Get Away with Murder. She was the perfect balance of strength, beauty, intellect and vulnerability. I went into this memoir being a fan of the show and left being in complete awe of her. Davis is a true rag to riches story in the deepest sense.
As far as celebrity memoirs go, this is the cream of the crop. Davis narrates the audiobook (which I highly recommend) and it feels like she is speaking to you in an intimate setting, truly baring her soul. She begins her story as a little girl named Viola in Central Falls, Rhode Island and that little girl follows you throughout her entire story of self-discovery and finding a place that felt like home. This is not your typical ghost-written, barely scratch the surface memoir that you typically see with celebrity memoirs. Davis shares all the ugly scars she has gotten over the years, all the trauma she has unpacked in therapy, and all that she has gone through to get where she is today.
Davis came from abject poverty and knew from a young age that she wanted to get out and do better for herself. She witnessed physical abuse between her mother and father, rats frequently scurried across her bed covers, and she was called horrible racial slurs from a young age. She grew a tough exterior to deal with the hardships and her memoir tells the story of how she shed that. Fast forward to the start of her acting career, she started in theatre, working long hours and barely making any money, but working as hard as she could to get a foot in the door. She battled with casting directors pigeonholing her in roles because of her dark skin. Davis was frequently cast in roles like the sassy Black friend or the drug addicted mother. She was told she wasn't beautiful enough to play a girlfriend or leading role, not until making a name for herself and proving everyone wrong.
Her story is one of struggle and triumph in the truest sense. I loved the raw vulnerability of it and I feel like the cover is so fitting. Viola Davis truly is an amazing human being in every sense of the word. Oprah, ya chose well! (Though, none of us ever doubted you.)
“My biggest discovery was that you can literally re-create your life. You can redefine it. You don’t have to live in the past. I found that not only did I have fight in me, I had love.” Viola Davis