Quiet the Noise: Find Your Voice
KeKe Palmer, the youngest nominee for a SAG award in the lead actress category, the youngest talk show host ever, the youngest and first Black Cinderella on Broadway, and the first Black Marty in the movie Grease, is now an author. In her writing, KeKe shares her personal experiences with everything from relationships and sexuality to family and spirituality. Not to be mistaken for a memoir, I Don’t Belong to You takes readers on a journey of self-love, self-empowerment, and self-discovery.
“Okay, the most important thing you’re going to find out about me as you read this book is that I am who I am—and I own all of who I am (flaws included) completely!”
Befittingly, Palmer opens with a letter penned to readers, providing background information on herself and revealing her purpose for writing. That purpose of inspiring others through her story is reiterated almost immediately in the first chapter. She goes from recalling light-hearted childhood memories to encouraging readers to find their own light. In the following chapter, it is affirmed that this type of drive doesn’t always come from a place of comfort, but a place of struggle. Palmer tells of her family’s move from her small hometown in Chicago, where they lived in federal subsidized housing, to the big culture shock known as California. This move, in the name of her career, shook her family structure and challenged her identity as a young woman.
To young women like myself, the chapters on self-love are, arguably, of most interest. Within these chapters, Palmer is nothing less than transparent. She gauges at her struggles with anxiety and depression. She also tackles emotionally unavailability, co-dependency and abuse. These topics lead to conversations about how confidence is often affected by external judgements. Because she is not only descriptive, but reflective, her stories coax readers to examine their own struggles. Palmer purposefully evokes the need to reach personal resolution, and to challenge society’s ideas of love and beauty.
Ultimately, there’s a push for spirituality and growth. Throughout the text, she encourages readers to find a practice or several practices that bring out the best in them. The titles of her last two chapters, “Heaven is a Place Called Earth” and #GrowingNotGrown, make this pitch undeniable. In the former, she revisits religious experiences of her adolescence. She tells of her inquiries about God and her search for balance. She acknowledges both her strengths and weakness in her walk, while reassuring readers that doubt does not necessarily end in a negative mindset. In the final chapter, she firmly reiterates the importance of knowing one self and being sure in your decisions, but not forgetting it’s always room for growth.
Written by a Millenial for Millenials, this book is filled with powerful quotes, personal texts, funny memes, song lyrics and popular emojis; all used to convey Palmer’s ideas and bring Palmer’s story to life. Uncompromising and unapologetic in her writing, she highlights the trials that sparked her personal evolution. In fearlessly doing so, she challenges each reader to embrace, and take initiative, in her or his own evolution. I Don’t Belong To You truly embodies a journey of “quieting the noise and finding your voice”. Readers will not only be left with a sense of who KeKe is, but an affirmation that it is more than okay to be, and belong to, only themselves.
***This review was previously published on The Odyssey: IDBTY: A Review
Publisher:North Star Way
On Amazon: https://goo.gl/4jS5BD
At Barnes & Noble online: https://goo.gl/j8Fvm6