The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read
Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom's apartment.”
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.
Actress Sidibe, most recently of the TV series Empire, gives readers a glimpse into her childhood in Harlem, NY, and Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; her early work talking on a phone-sex line; and her rise to fame with the 2009 film Precious.
11/01/2017School Library Journal
Teens who pick up this memoir by Sidibe will feel as though the actress is sitting in a room with them, chatting and telling stories. Her reflections about her high school hair mishaps and her rumored Internet death are laugh-out-loud funny, but Sidibe also shares poignant moments. Her father's Senegalese ways often confused her. Her mother's hopeful ambition, coupled with her lack of time and money, molded Sidibe and gave her character, but the author was responsible for her own happiness. Her strength comes through as she discusses forgiveness: of haters, of her family, and especially of U.S. culture. Sidibe understands that though she may have detractors who criticize her because of her weight, she has two options: run and hide, or find a way to make people see her as she sees herself. What teenager can't relate? This humorous work that details the actress's rise to fame, her trials with self-image, and her belief in herself will resonate with readers. This is a journey not to be missed. VERDICT An immersive, honest, and funny read for fans of Sidibe or celebrity memoirs.—Pamela Schembri, Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY
“You’re the BOMB, girl!”—President Barack ObamaFrom the Publisher
“Gabourey Sidibe’s delightful memoir This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare offers a memorable look into what happens when a black girl’s dreams come true, from the inside out. From her unique childhood as the daughter of a subway singer mother and polygamous father to struggling with depression to getting the role of Precious, Sidibe is fearless, incredibly funny, and gorgeously open. What she offers of herself in these pages is a gift.”—Roxane Gay
“Here, Gabourey Sidibe cements her status as gives-zero-effs queen of Hollywood AND perceptive best friend in your head. Frank, funny, and insanely charming, these stories reveal the girl behind the gown and show Hollywood for what it really is: a wet T-shirt contest of an industry that sometimes redeems itself by picking the right star. Gabby is that star, and you'll root for her on every page—we are blessed by her honesty, passion and wit.”—Lena Dunham
“’I just wrote the truth, and it made me feel better.’ That is the theme of this unique and universal book by a young woman who is both a total surprise and an instant classic. Gabby combines New York and Senegal, the streets and the heights, bravery and self-doubt, laughing and seriousness. Her truth helps us to find ours—and what could be a bigger gift than that?”—Gloria Steinem
“To know Gabby is to love Gabby. To read her book is to love her even more. It is bold, brave, on-your-front-foot writing. Her story inspires you to step up and own your life with a compassion and confidence so potent that it will break down any door.”—Laura Linney
“I always knew Gabby was magic.”—Johnetta Elzie