May 10, 2019 11:23 AM - by Patricia Williams - Subscribe

Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work: You want to know about the struggle of growing up poor, black and female? Ask any girl from any hood. You want to know what it takes to rise above your circumstances when all the cards are stacked against you? Ask me.

Comedian Patricia Williams, who for years went by her street-name "Rabbit," was born and raised in Atlanta’s most troubled neighborhood at the height of the crack epidemic.

One of five children, Pat watched as her alcoholic mother struggled to get by on charity, cons and petty crimes. At seven Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At 12, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior; by 13 she was pregnant. By 15 Pat was a mother of two.

Alone at 16, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive.

Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor that offers a rare glimpse into the harrowing reality of life on America’s margins, resilience, determination, and the transformative power of love.
posted by rue72 (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This book has really stuck with me. It's ghostwritten, which is a little strange because it's a memoir and Williams writes/performs her own comedy routines for a living. I wish that Williams had been able to write it herself, because I think that while it's very well written as is, it might have had a little more emotional depth if she'd been the one putting everything down.

On the one hand, the narrative voice is great and really propels the whole book. But on the other hand, it's a little shallower and cleaner than Williams's voice when she's being interviewed or performing her own material, and it's sort of hard to get a hold of emotionally? There's this one thing that Williams said in her breakout interview with Marc Maron -- she was talking about how she's always told her daughter that she's her #1 priority and to tell her ASAP if her husband ever messes with her (esp sexually). Maron was shocked because all signs point to Williams having an awesome marriage to an awesome man, and he was like, but don't you trust your husband? And Williams was like, well, I trust him, but you never know. And she explains a little how she came to that perspective. It's really interesting because you get this sense that she's giving a "tip of the iceberg" view of how her worldview came to be, but in a way that lets you at least glimpse (and relate to) that whole big iceberg down below. The book is all the "tip of the iceberg" stuff (and that's all very engaging and well done) but not so much the glimpse below.

Something else about Williams's story that has really made me think is how she is so good at spotting opportunities and committing 100% to them. It's a little unsettling, because she's a shark and apparently has been since she was a teenager. But it's pretty fascinating to read about, and honestly, it's done her well.
posted by rue72 at 12:43 PM on June 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

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