Growing up, Will Smith was a bit of a constant in my house. Between hip hop, Fresh Prince, and Men in Black, the star seemed a little inescapable. So naturally, I was curious about his memoir.
As the eye-catching book cover kept making its way across my screen, it didn’t take me long to get a copy to enjoy over my holiday break.
What is Will by Will Smith about?
Will Smith, assisted by Mark Manson (The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck) has endeavoured in his book to share his life with his fans, sharing anecdotes from his career. It’s a behind the scenes peek, smattered with vulnerability. Something that’s been demanded of the star by fans many for years.
What I liked about Will?
Smith’s story is well written, maintaining the author’s very well known voice. As a fan of many of his movies and familiar with his music, it was a delight.
Following an established trend, Will Smith is also the narrator of the audiobook version of his memoir, so for an even more personal experience that might be worth considering.
Throughout Smith’s story, there were elements of surprise, vulnerability and, of course, humour. Of particular interest was Smith’s reflection on his early life and how his experiences and the people he knew would have a lasting impact on his career.
Words can affect how people view themselves, how they treat each other, how they navigate the world. Words can build people up, or they can tear them down. I decided that night that I wanted to use my words to empower others, to help rather than hurt.Will Smith
Smith has been well known in his music career for having pretty ‘clean’ lyrics, free from cussing and some negative themes. It was enlightening to hear, after years of commentary, the author’s own perspective on elements of his reputation.
What I didn’t like about Will?
Overall, Smith does not shy away from acknowledging his own shortcomings and responsibility for some of the relationship breakdowns in his life. His attitude when discussing sensitive events comes across as respectful, yet grounded in his own perspective.
While some may find the discussions of his success arrogant, personally I did not find that to be the case. Generally, facts about the star’s successful career that are shared have been corroborated in other places. What some might perceive as arrogance, I think is more of an honest description, inflated as a result of being one of the biggest stars of the last two decades. However, it is clearly important to Will that he is remembered as such.
For the first time ever, I said it out loud…
‘I want to be the biggest movie star in the world.’
‘Now that’s a goal,’ JL said.Will Smith
It is important to remember when reading memoirs that the goal of the genre is to share a single person’s perspective on their life. The subject of the book is free to share their thoughts, recollections and emotions regarding relationships and events in their life. That is the point.
However, when reading there were occasional glimmers of other perspectives peeking through, where I would be curious to hear the other side of the tale. This was noticable when Smith described conflict, or relationship strain. Smith does tend to gloss over the nasty bits (only a sentence is given to his son’s almost emancipation from his parents). But sharing what he wishes to, and his own perspective, is his prerogative.
While curious to the other side of the story, I recognise that stars do not owe their fans a “tell all”, nor would one be overly useful. Perspective and truth are malleable, shifting depending on who is doing the telling of a tale.
Will by Will Smith offers an entertaining journey through Will Smith’s truth, in the star’s trademark style.
If you’re looking for a book to entertain and amuse, Will is worth checking out.
What’s your favourite Will Smith movie?
Let me know by commenting on this blog!