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The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – January 26, 2007
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“With the unwavering sense of dignity and worth . . .this man’s authenticity is earned by the life he describes.” (Los Angeles Times)
Reading The Measure of a Man is somewhat akin to having a worthwhile conversation with a revered older relative; he doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, but you appreciate it just the same. (Washington Post)
An affecting new memoir. (Dallas Morning News)
In this powerful book, [Poitier] shares his touchsotnes with us and makes us question what foundations guide our own lives. (Ebony)
Revealing . . . Poitier invites us to re-examine his work and, through it, our history. (New York Times Magazine)
Candid memoirs from teh actor who has starred in more than forty movies, directed nine, and written four. (USA Today)
Reflective, generous, humane . . . moving . . .[Poitier] writes with vivid emotion. (New York Times Book Review)
Having already penned a book about his professsional life, legendary actor Sidney Poitier tackles a greater subject--life itself--with this new spiritual autobiography. (American Way)
About the Author
Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his outstanding performance in Lilies of the Field in 1963. His landmark films include The Defiant Ones, A Patch of Blue, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and To Sir, With Love. He has starred in over forty films, directed nine, and written four. He is the author of two autobiographies: This Life and the "Oprah's Book Club" pick and New York Times bestseller The Measure of a Man. Among many other accolades, Poitier has been awarded the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor, the Life Achievement Award, for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment. He is married, has six daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
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The book promised to be very interesting from the onset, but I felt it did not really deliver the spiritual message I was hoping for. The book is really a biography of Poitier's life, especially his early years. He moves forward and back through his life, recounting stories from his adult as well as young years, and I found this shifting back and forth between his early and adult life a bit confusing. Had he recounted his life in a linear fashion I would have absorbed the book better (but this is just a personal preference).
I really enjoyed reading about his early life, especially when his parents thought he would die when he was a baby, and his father brought a shoe box to bury him in it. The struggles he went through as a child, and his relationship with his mother, who used to beat him, were also very interesting.
I did lose interest half way throughout the book, but I continued reading. I did regain interest three quarters of the way through, but still I did not understand the spiritual message he was trying to convey.
He mentions a movie part he did not accept to play, at the surprise of all, but later explains that it was the measure of a man inside him that prevented him from taking the part. He just felt that the character he was supposed to play was too weak, and therefore did not represent the true measure of a man. Thus the title of the book.
I recommend you listen to the audiobook read by Poitier. I found the audiobook more interesting than the book. There is a certain effect on the soul when listening to the voice of the author than reading his written words (I ended up finishing the book by listening to the audiobook while walking every morning). Imagine of you can actually hear the voice of Jesus instead of reading his words!
There is a lot of acting in the author's voice in the audio version. The author does not simply read the words, but actually acts on the words. It is a different experience.
I also liked the author's conversational style, as if he is talking directly to you. For example, he says things like, "You understand? You follow?..."
I liked this book, and found Poitier's life very interesting. However, I was disappointed by his spiritual message.
The way Mr. Poitier described the beating his father gave his adult sister, made me cringe. It left me feeling like Mr. Poitier approved of such abuse. Which is part of the Caribbean culture, that needs to be condemned. Also the fact that he cheated on his first wife was not in his book, which lead me to believe that he wanted the reader to see him as, one without flaws.
Though most of the stories he told were good, I felt that the chapters were poorly organized. One chapter would be about childhood, then another about his career, then back to his childhood again. But Overall it was a good read.