A review of FINDING ME by Viola Davis.
During Autobiography August I always get to dive into someone else’s life story and discover more about them, but with FINDING ME, author Viola Davis also guided me to discover more about myself. Early on in the memoir, Davis relays an experience where she was chatting with a co-star on set and he curiously asked her, “Who are you?” He clarified that, for him, under the surface, he’ll always be that fifteen-year-old boy whose girlfriend dumped him. So, who was she? A memory hit Davis like a freight train — she’s eight years old and running home every day to get away from kids hurling rocks and hurtful words. She’s spent years running from those ghosts. Later she discusses this experience with a therapist and admits that she wants to heal her younger self, to take away her damage. But her therapist challenges this instinct; that little girl was pretty tough, she was a survivor. Rather than fix her, what if you embraced her instead?
I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Davis herself, and long afterwards that central question — “Who are you?” — has continued to haunt my thoughts. What core experience anchors my default ways of dealing with the world? And, how do I face that self? Brimming with honesty and insight, Davis narratively travels through her childhood, her college experiences, and her early career in all their raw complexity. She uncovers flashpoint moments along the way, and through the retelling of her story, integrates all those versions of herself.
“If I created a fable of my life, a fantasy, I see myself finally meeting God, gushing, crying, thanking the Almighty for the accolades, a fabulous husband, beautiful daughter, my journey from nothing to Hollywood, awards, travel. I can clearly see the Lord’s face, staring at me, taking me in and saying, “You never thanked me for creating you as YOU.”
While I will give content warnings for language, sexual assault, domestic violence, and some graphic imagery, FINDING ME is a masterclass in facing all the hopes, dreams, trauma, and pain of your story in order to find and embrace who You are.
Buy it HERE.