2017 Audie Award Finalist for Autobiography/Memoir
From Taraji P. Henson, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and star of the award-winning film Hidden Figures, comes an inspiring and funny memoir—“a bona fide hit” (Essence)—about family, friends, the hustle required to make it in Hollywood, and the joy of living your own truth.
With a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including Katherine, the NASA mathematician, Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from Empire, Taraji P. Henson 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 at 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 how she chipped away, with one small role after another, at Hollywood's resistance to give women, particularly women of color, meaty significant roles. 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 in this “inspiring account of overcoming adversity and a quest for self-discovery, written with vitality and enthusiasm” (Shelf Awareness).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Of all the fierce roles we've seen Taraji P. Henson play, Around the Way Girl may showcase her best one yet: herself. There's a thoughtful gravity in Henson's voice when she narrates childhood memories like her tough-love dad throwing her into a pool, or professional anecdotes like her initial decision to turn down the career-defining role of Empire’s Cookie to avoid typecasting. In the end, it's not just Henson's experiences that make such a strong impression on the listener; it’s her wise reflections about what they say about her and about society.
I am a young Black mother straight out of southeast DC and when I say this book touched me sooo deeply it’s not a exaggeration. Every page, every chapter and every word touched my heart as if Taraji was telling my life story. She was so raw and authentic throughout the whole book. To hear her story and how she overcame so many of the same obstacles I’m currently facing gave me hope, made me happy and honestly brought tears to my eyes. Taraji if you ever see this I just want to say thank you! Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for being so amazing.
Highly recommend!! Absolutely loved it and will buy the physical copy as well!! Love this woman!! Such a genuine soul! Love the truth in this book!!
Taraji did an amazing job on this book. Great narration and detail of life long lessons due endored.