The simplest way I can describe this book is inspiring. We all know Will Smith, whether it be through Fresh Prince, Men in Black or the plethora of work that he has done through the years. Will is a global force, well recognised and most people would say ‘a funny man’. Who is the man behind that mask? Reading this book makes you understand that it is just that…. A mask. But why? A man who seemingly has everything? Why pretend to be someone you’re not?
Reading this book answered every question & then some. Without giving (or trying to give) too much away, Will was a fearful child. There were tense moments at home which compounded his fearfulness. He was a child that liked to give, liked to make sure everyone was happy. There was a need to be approved, for people to like him. If they liked him, then he must be ok…..right? Even as a young child, he was grafting a persona, one that he hoped everyone would love. Love the persona he created…..love him. Right?
This memoir is transformative and triumphant, in that Will Smith felt life was perfect. Rapper, film star, family man, success, top of his game. So what changed him? A comment from a member of his family made him see that his family felt like performers in the “Will Smith show” and not the family they should be.
Will delicately details his journey. It’s a profound journey and one that clearly demonstrates you can have it all, but still feel like you have nothing. It’s a discovery for Will and one that he has written beautifully. There are some memoir writers that will tell you how wonderful life is and how great they are. That’s not Will. Will is as straight as they come. He will tell you the times he got mixed up with the wrong sort. He will tell you how he mastered his feelings. He will tell you how he realised what was important to him and why.
The book is a crazy life story of a kid from West Philadelphia who come good. It’s the story of a child whose mum wanted him to go to college but he wanted more. It’s the story of a born performer who steps out on the world stage to give the world what they want. It’s the story of a man who wants to be one better than the one before – if the top actor earns $10m, Will wants $11m. The book shows you how Ill is always striving to reach heights.
What this book also shows, is that the energy you put into your performing life, must also be given into family. Wills honesty in his words show you clearly when he messes up. What’s refreshing to see in a memoir, is someone saying “I wish I could this back”. Will has learned through life. He’s learned what really matters. It’s beautiful to read his words on working with his children. How much he enjoyed the quality time he had. I particularly loved reading how he promotes creativity: art supplies everywhere, music studio, areas to record his wife Jada`s show Red Table Talk.
Will Smith once said: “Once you've learned how your mind works, the layout, all experiences, emotions, every circumstance, whether positive or negative, will propel you forward, to greater growth and greater experience. "
This book clearly shows his growth, his mistakes, his remedies, his successes and his loves. Mr Smith has learned how his mind works and is a better man for his life lessons.