Release Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: Nonfiction / Essays
Listening Length: 7 hours and 48 minutes
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.
I seem to be on a theme of listening to nonfiction books with authors that I don’t know very much about and this was no different. I knew Gabrielle Union from Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Love & Basketball but that is about it, and I didn’t know anything about her personal life. In We’re Going to Need More Wine she talks a lot about when she was growing up in Pleasanton, California, her love life, and life in general, and also a little about her career. I was actually surprised at how little she talked about her film career, but that was ok with me. She did touch on being an African American in Hollywood though which was very eye-opening.
Union also talks about her advocacy work and how she was raped while working at a Payless which I had no idea happened, and it was horrific and heartbreaking to listen to her talk about. This book made me laugh while being full of substance and emotion. I think it is a little all over the place and not all that linear in timeline but that wasn’t really a problem for me, and I loved that it felt like she was talking right to me like an old friend.
Song/s the book brought to mind: I Believe by Yolanda Adams
Final Thought: If I didn’t love Gabrielle Union before then I sure love her now. We’re Going to Need More Wine is inspiring, educational, and incredibly heartfelt. I highly recommend listening to the audio as I thought she did an amazing job reading her book. And why wouldn’t she?! This collection of essays might have had a little too much about her vagina and tampons, but overall I was a huge fan!
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5