The Rosie Perez Memoir is a testament of strength, determination & the desire to be better than our circumstances allow.
I have always been a Rosie Perez fan. As soon as I heard Rosie Perez had written a memoir, I knew I had to pick it up. After reading an few articles about it, I even tweeted out my excitement. Perez was nice to even tweet me back. (I get excited when celebs tweet back – don’t burst my bubble by saying it was probably her assistant.)
FYI: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the book – hardcover, the week it came out – and I’m sharing this because I adore Rosie Perez. However, please note – this post does contain an affiliate Amazon link. If you buy this book, I may get a few pennies.
Rosie Perez is an Oscar-nominated actress, Emmy-nominated choreographer, dancer, director, activist and an iconic New Yorker. She is most known for her roles in Do the Right Thing and White Men Can’t Jump. She is the artistic chair of Urban Arts Partnership and sits on the Presidential Advisory Counsel on HIV/AIDS.
Before reading Rosie Perez’ memoir, Handbook for an Unpredictable Life, I knew little about her personal life other than she was Puerto Rican, from Brooklyn and that she was raised by an aunt, but didn’t know under what circumstances.
Perez reveals her tragic childhood with honesty and humor. From the first few paragraphs, Perez makes it clear that she is far from a cliche and no one to feel sorry for. Her memoir goes beyond abandonment, poverty, abuse and loss – it’s a story of hope, self-respect, perseverance and forgiveness. Through the pages of Perez’ book, you can hear her voice. There is an authenticity to Unpredictable Life – one only a dynamic personality like Perez can pull off – that is refreshing. It’s written as if Perez were sitting beside me, telling me her story.
When I got back to the Home, I hated it more than ever and was even more determined to get out and have a successful life and career, like Mary Tyler Moore on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I had been to Puerto Rico. I had met Tia Aya and walked along the shores of my ancestral home and heard about the island’s saga. I had met Tio Monseratte and Tia Blanca. I had climbed mango trees and played with Miguel the pig. I had fallen asleep to the sounds of the little Coquis. I had met my history, and it made me feel present and validated. I knew now that I belonged to something, and it gave me strength to believe I could do anything.
It is Perez’ strength and desire to overcome that is most inspiring. Not for an instance, does Perez use her life as an excuse – if anything, it is her driving force. I can easily see Unpredictable Life as required reading. I especially think it should be placed in the hands of any and every at-risk teenager or anyone who struggles with depression. Her story is harrowing but Perez’ determination to rise above will astound you. She is proof that it truly doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve been through.
I am proud to have Handbook for an Unpredictable Life on my bookshelf beside Sonia Sotomayor’s and Rita Moreno’s memoirs. And if you love supporting Latino literature and acknowledge the importance of our stories – Unpredictable Life needs to be on your bookshelf too.
Have you read Rosie Perez’ Handbook for an Unpredictable Life? What did you think?