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I love Taraji P Henson I loved her before she was Cookie on Empire The movie Baby Boy is one of my favorite movies, so when I found out she was writing a memoir I knew I had to read it Taraji is so cool I want her to be my best friend truly She is so incredibly honest open just like I always thought she would be I recommend this book to people who love Taraji, Empire, or just love honest memoirs I love Taraji P Henson I loved her before she was Cookie on Empire The movie Baby Boy is one of my favorite movies, so when I found out she was writing a memoir I knew I had to read it Taraji is so cool I want her to be my best friend truly She is so incredibly honest open just like I always thought she would be I recommend this book to people who love Taraji, Empire, or just love honest memoirs If you have ever wondered what makes Taraji P Henson an extraordinary woman, actress, person or friend, you need only open her memoir, Around the Way Girl, and fall inface first Taraji pulls no punches, enacts no stunts and evades the star temptation of glamorizing her journey to the place she now dwells She offers no apologies, not for her childhood challenges, her teenage errors or keeping a wall of honesty between her and the rest of the world Love her or not, Taraji embodies the pla If you have ever wondered what makes Taraji P Henson an extraordinary woman, actress, person or friend, you need only open her memoir, Around the Way Girl, and fall inface first Taraji pulls no punches, enacts no stunts and evades the star temptation of glamorizing her journey to the place she now dwells She offers no apologies, not for her childhood challenges, her teenage errors or keeping a wall of honesty between her and the rest of the world Love her or not, Taraji embodies the place we all have been and the destiny we aspire to I had walked the thin line of contemplation before I opened this book I wondered what story could come from Taraji P Henson that would be filled with commonality what could she essentially tell us that we couldn t assume from her Baby Boy or Empire appearances I was, admittedly, pleasantly surprised by the story she told Good Bad daddy s little girl, dreaming an impossible dream to have it deterred before she completed secondary school, academic disconnection at NC AT, impregnated during her junior year at Howard U by a boy we all met in high school, and a triumphant renaissance Along the journey, she remained Taraji She writes I moved Los Angeles and went on a frenzied but exhaustive search for an agent A friend arranged my meeting with Vince, but he made it clear he wasn t looking for new clients at the time, he already had a power roster, including Halle Berry, and taking a chance on a young, inexperienced black actress at a time when roles for actresses who looked like me were few and far between wasn t a priority But I got to him by standing in front of that man and being regular ol Taraji from southeast DC, with my slightly country drawl and one fingernail painted bright red What s with the fingernail he asked,I looked down at my hand absentmindedly and shrugged I forgot to take the paint off, I said matter of factly After that, Vince launched questions at me in rapid fire succession, sand i answered each of them easily and truthfully, hiding nothing I told him how I d studied acting at Howard and got pregnant in my junior year how I came to Los Angeles with my baby and only seven hundred dollars to my name, but a passion for my craft as wide as the Pacific Around the Way Girl is a manifesto a confessional, for anyone who has forgotten how to believe or dream Taraji shouts on the page, with the same fervor as she does on stage, that failure is the option for the other person I enjoyed this book enjoyed venturing into her world and making it a part of my own There were grandiose, even preachy moments, but they were honest and real They allowed us to relate and reflect They made us think about who she is and why she is They made us love her, perhaps infectiously Simply stated they allowed us to walk in the prints of the Lioness that is Taraji I don t often read celebrity memoirs This was possibly the second one I ve read I like Taraji, maybe because she was born the same year as my older son, and attended NC A T just as my son did She didn t know my son, but he sure knew who Taraji Henson is Taraji thought she wanted to be an engineer, and did try, but it didn t take long for her to realize her heart was in the theater and movies She left A T and went on to Howard University where she found asubstantial Theater training M I don t often read celebrity memoirs This was possibly the second one I ve read I like Taraji, maybe because she was born the same year as my older son, and attended NC AT just as my son did She didn t know my son, but he sure knew who Taraji Henson is Taraji thought she wanted to be an engineer, and did try, but it didn t take long for her to realize her heart was in the theater and movies She left AT and went on to Howard University where she found asubstantial Theater training My son left AT for North Carolina Central University where he majored in Theater Education And he always had a good word for the work that Taraji was doing.The book covers Taraji s early life with her single mother, and a father who was always her rock, her best advisor The love of her life was Mark They never married, but they had a son, Marcell, together They might have married, but Mark showed his abusive streak only one time, and Taraji would not have it She knew he was capable of hitting her again They raised Marcell together Her theater training at Howard University was just the beginning of a fruitful career The part that raised her expectations the most was in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which a baby is born as an old man and becomes younger as he ages Henson earned her first big movie salary from that movie, which starred Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett And she won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.A lot of the book covers Henson s relationships with other actors actresses, and goes into the long standing issue of equal pay for female actors Even A listers like Jennifer Lawrence finally had to speak out about the lack of equal pay, when many women are afraid of being black listed Even Tyler Perry stepped in to give Henson a substantial role with equal pay.It s a decent book I could tell which chapters were written by a ghost writer Great read.Very inspirational And her dad was a hot mess had me literally laughing out loud Reasons to suspend intellectual conversation for a moment and just fangirl it out 1 She got so into a character once that she yelled at herself and upset her dog, Uncle Willie.2 She named her dog Uncle Willie.3 She did a major photo shoot in just her braids.4 She s just as confused as the rest of us by what squadgoals means.5 She drives a Jeep Cherokee and takes Ubers home from the bar.6 You know if you had that same moment with her that she did with Mary J Blige, she d just turn around Reasons to suspend intellectual conversation for a moment and just fangirl it out 1 She got so into a character once that she yelled at herself and upset her dog, Uncle Willie.2 She named her dog Uncle Willie.3 She did a major photo shoot in just her braids.4 She s just as confused as the rest of us by what squadgoals means.5 She drives a Jeep Cherokee and takes Ubers home from the bar.6 You know if you had that same moment with her that she did with Mary J Blige, she d just turn around and hug you right back.There s one story Taraji tells towards the end of the book where she is in Paris taking a tour of Coco Chanel s old apartment, and the guide shows them a set of charm boxes given to Coco by a longtime lover of hers, the Duke of Westminster They are on the outside, of course quite attractive, but when you open them up they are coated in 24 carat gold The real value in the boxes was the intimacy of light that only came from the inside, which could only be know when opened I think this intimacy of light is exactly what Taraji gives us here in this memoir Yes, there is absolute beauty on the outside but the stories within are so full of jest and wisdom and grit The kind of grit that you get when you dive to deep in the ocean, when the sand gets between your teeth and you can crunch on it these words are crunchy She also has a powerful way of gracefully dismissing sorrow by just refusing to let it move in and unpack its bags Her dedication, not only to her craft but to her perception of life, is unwavering She makes you believe that there are people out there like that, with light hidden on the inside we want there to be people like her, in any field, and we want to be a person like that ourselves Now it is not lost on me that this was probably heavily edited, no doubt told through a sieve, leaving many things left out But to me that makes it all thepowerful Because her story, and I believe her life, are both about belief and hope this very much translated over to me while I was reading it, and in that way it couldn t beauthentic On that note, I am going to imagine myself curling up on one of her couches, listening to some Nina Simone, sipping a glass of wine and reading through screenplays I love Taraji, but I didn t love this book It wasn t bad, but it just felt like it talked about surface topics and was flat I wanted to knowabout the rolls she went after and the audition process and to dig a little deeper Not bad, but just kinda blah. .FREE PDF ♍ Around the Way Girl ⚆ From Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and star of the new motion picture Hidden Figures, Taraji P Henson, comes an inspiring and funny book about family, friends, the hustle required to make it from DC to Hollywood, and the joy of living in your own truthWith a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including NASA physicist mathematician Katherine G Johnson, Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from Empire, yet is all Taraji, the screen actress writes of her family, the one she was born into and the one she created She shares stories of her father, a Vietnam vet who was bowed but never broken by life s challenges, and of her mother who survived violence both in the home and on DC s volatile streets Here too she opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but which she saw as a gift Around the Way Girl is also a classic actor s memoir in which Taraji reflects on the world class instruction she received at Howard University and the pitfalls that come with being a black actress With laugh out loud humor and candor, she shares the challenges and disappointments of the actor s journey and shows us that behind the red carpet moments, she is ever authentic She is at heart just a girl in pursuit of her dreams I can understand why people like this book, but it is not for me I read it for MochaGirlsRead March book, things I read for my book clubs lol I listened to the Audible version of this book narrated by Taraji, and her voice is THE WORST part of this book I am not a fan of hers, but I respect her accomplishments The phrase, single Black mother makes up seemingly 1 3 contents of the book In her attempt to be real and display her hustler spirit she came off braggadocios I learned about h I can understand why people like this book, but it is not for me I read it for MochaGirlsRead March book, things I read for my book clubs lol I listened to the Audible version of this book narrated by Taraji, and her voice is THE WORST part of this book I am not a fan of hers, but I respect her accomplishments The phrase, single Black mother makes up seemingly 1 3 contents of the book In her attempt to be real and display her hustler spirit she came off braggadocios I learned about her, but not the character jewels that I look for in autobiographies She is an around the way girl and overy dramatic, which caused me to smh and eye roll plenty of times through out this book I am going to have to find a way to put into words my feelings about this book someway somehow I really enjoyed this one Taraji is one of my favorite actresses The book read like she was having a conversation with her readers fans What I liked most about this memoir was everything I read was all new to me because her personal life is not all over social media.