Will by Will Smith (with Mark Manson)
Fun fact** I actually listened to this audio book a month before the whole Oscars fiasco! My review is solely based on the actual book and not Will Smith's actions on that fateful evening (which I happened to have watched live because I'm obsessed with the Oscars and movies - that was some real drama!) Any-who, I've always loved Will Smith. I've been following him on Instagram for a while, I love all of his 90s films and generally thought he was a cool person. Also Fresh Prince of Bel Air was my go-to show back in the day! It gives me major nostalgia whenever I think of that show. So when this book came out, I knew I wanted to give it a read and especially a listen because the audible is narrated by Will Smith himself. So without further ado, let's crack on with what 'Will' is about and my review for this best selling read.
As you can guess, this book is a memoir about Will Smith. In this memoir, we learn all about his journey to success, his music and acting career, his journey to self-knowledge, and how he became to be the man that he is today. This book is written with the help of author, Mark Manson, who wrote the best selling hit that I loved, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". Together, they write an absolute entertaining read into the psyche of Will Smith and how he came from his humble beginnings of West Philly to being one of Hollywood's top A-list actors and top rappers.
One thing I will say about this book is that Will Smith LOVES Will Smith. I guess rightly so, hah. This was a thoroughly entertaining book to listen to. I actually really loved the audio-book a lot! It's probably the most entertaining audio-books I've ever read. This is what you get when you have an actor/musician narrating his own memoir. Pure entertainment.
His story starts off right at the beginning, from when he was a kid to where his now. It's got a great chronological order to it from childhood to adulthood, through his music career, and then his acting career. We learn a lot about his upbringing in West Philly, how his work ethic was shaped through his childhood, and how it was ingrained within his family. We learn about his values growing up, his struggles with being the awkward kid who's not black enough, nor was he white enough, and how it shaped his young adult life.
I quite liked that there were also some very serious chapters within his memoir. For example, the domestic abuse that he grew up with and his intimidating father and the complex relationship he had with him, I found those chapters to be quite raw and real. He explains to us how his relationship with his father shaped the type of father he wanted to become for his children. Those were intense chapters but also provided a good balance for the rest of the memoir.
Of course, we get into some fun chapters within the book such his music career. Actually, one of my favorite chapters was when he talked about the birth of hip hop. This was a great addition to have in the book because he really grew up in a very specific and amazing period for hip hop music and he got to see it all and be a part of that world. If you don't know much about the birth of hip hop, I would definitely recommend that you listen to this book. I liked his interpretation of this time period a lot! He definitely had a deep love for hip hop and it shines through in this book. One amazing addition to this audible is that he rapped a few times which was awesome! I loved that aspect of the book a lot. You don't usually get that in books so it was such a treat to listen to him rapping some old skool tunes.
Obviously, he gets into how the Fresh Prince of Bel Air came to be and I adored that chapter a lot! I'm a huge Fresh Prince fan, and I grew up with that show and used to watch it after school on weekdays.
On top of all of the entertainment parts of the book, in the later chapters, I noticed that Will Smith these days, is quite spiritual and he gets into a lot of metaphors in this read. Some people may not like that and some people might. At times I also felt that the book was a little too detailed about his life, and actually, he really beefs himself up in this book! haha he really loves how much he's accomplished and you will hear all about the stats and numbers in this memoir. I thought that was a bit funny. But also, he's one of very few black actors who have accomplished what he has and I have to give him props for that.
Will was a very entertaining listen. He raps, he sings, he was very animated in it. There's a ton of fun trivia in this book, and it's also a love letter to the Fresh Prince. You learn a lot of fun facts about how the show was created and all about the cast of the show too. This is a fun book for any Fresh Prince of Bel Air fans out there. Or anyone who is an aspiring actor, you get fun insights about how filming a TV show works, as well as Hollywood and the whole celeb world.
I will say, at the Oscars, the general definitely attended the Oscars, and Mr Fluffy stayed at home - a little reference from the book - you'll know what I mean when you read it! ha
Loved this memoir. I feel like I understand Will Smith as a person much more now. Even though at times the beefing up and ego was a little much, I will say that he has done very well for his career and he should be proud of that.
Okay so this song played at the end of the audio-book and I loved it! It's so catchy lol Also it's all about this book basically! The song pick is Will (Remix) by Will Smith & Joyner Lucas
Genre: Nonfiction | Biography
Pages: 418 Pages (hardcover)
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Publisher: Penguin Press