Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis | Book Review and Podcast
“Memories are immortal…they can strangle you. Define you in a way that’s based more on other people’s tucked-up perceptions than truth.” Finding Me by Viola Davis is about a little girl named Viola. She ran from her past till she took a life-altering step to stop running forever. This is a memoir of Viola Davis. This is the story of her journey from the collapsing apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island to the stage in New York City, and the on going journey. It is the step that she took to find the purpose of her existence. But also, to find the voice in this world that did not notice her. This memoir is written from the perspective of introspection and profound reflection – while Viola Davis wrote it her eyes were observant of the raw and authentic stories of our lives that barely get examined. We are in a way compelled to give a new shape, a new form to our true stories to make them suitable for this crazy, competitive, and judgmental world.
This is a memoir of a girl who came from absolutely nothing. Pissed-soaked and rat-infested beds, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and a black girl growing up in a predominately white locality. The names from school, the getting chased to beat up, and the constant shame and humility that she felt in this world are only imaginable because it is written. She also talks about her family and how several relationships have altered and developed over the years.
Viola Davis suffered for being who she is and it is quite common for women of color. Colorism is something so ordinary these days that we tend to ignore it unless someone talks about their experience. She experienced colorism in the world of camera and the literary world as well. People tried to give her the shape of a perfect “white” writer. Davis elucidates people’s notion of Black women and how they are hard-to-understand, feminine, beautiful, sexual, pretty, deserving, and desirable. She says she needs to remain emotionally healthy. Because, when it comes to “black people”, we are talking about a four-hundred-year-old narrative.
She talks about her rise in society and people’s eyes. It was equally upsetting as her childhood but simultaneously some experiences inspired her to grow. The way she jotted down her process of healing from her childhood trauma and on the other hand being a receiver of several awards is praise-worthy. Her grip on words proves that this memoir is not just to show the unknown things about her. But, to show the world what women go through, what black people have to suffer, what poverty feels like, and for readers who are struggling to find their purpose and on the verge of giving up.
The level of courage she had to overcome these humiliations and become an Academy Award-winning actress is commendable. Finding Me by Viola Davis is in every way a love letter for the self. Viola Davis’s story will compel you to discover your true self before the world puts a label on you. It will motivate you to light up your life with artistic expression. This read will help you to realize yourself from a third person’s perspective and pain. How we can all recover from traumas, how we can all love sunrise and sunsets, how to not be ashamed of the past but rather own it, how we can deal with everything with compassion, and how we can be the best friend ourselves because change is perennial and permanent.
Also Read: Under One Roof: by Ali Hazelwood