To be perfectly honest, I never would have sought out a memoir written by Vanessa Williams and her mother, but when I was offered a copy of You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), I figured what the heck, right? I love reading about the details of people's lives!
All I really knew about Vanessa Williams was that she was the first Black Miss America, there was some sort of scandal, and she sang the song "Save the Best for Last" that made me cry. I liked her just fine, but I'm not a crazy star-struck fan by any means.
Knowing this, it should mean even more that I enjoyed the book. It was very interesting to read Vanessa's reaction to winning Miss America and then having her crown taken away a month before her reign ended when nude photos surfaced, but it was even more interesting to then also read her mother's reaction on top of that. I think with a topic like that, whether you are a mother or not, you automatically think "What did her mother think when that happened?" Well, now you know. From then on, we learn all the ups and downs and Vanessa's life as she tries to prove she can sing, she can dance, and she can act, and she is MUCH more than just the Miss America scandal. Through husbands and kids and getting jobs and losing jobs, we see her and her mother trace her highs and lows.
Beyond that, Vanessa's mother seems like a total card. The book is mostly in Vanessa's voice, and then all of a sudden her mom will pop in with a remark or her advice or rules on the matter. She should probably write an advice column or have a reality show where she whips bratty kids into shape.
Bottom line: No matter your level of fandom or interest in Vanessa Williams, this is a book I think most people will find interesting and easy to get into.
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I was provided a copy of You Have No Idea and compensated for this review, but the opinions are my own. Because, you know, I'm mean and would tell you if I didn't like the book.