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Remembering Whitney Hardcover – January 29, 2013
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Disarming… In the emotionally tangled “Remembering Whitney,” the elder Houston - still clearly working out her grief - is a fiercely protective mama bear to the memory of her damaged cub, but she also refuses to lionize her. She paints a picture of her daughter’s life… that is both triumphant and anguished. (Boston Globe)
From the Back Cover
Honest and heartbreaking, a mother's story of tears, joy, and her greatest love of all—her daughter, Whitney
On the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards, the world learned of a stunning tragedy: Whitney Houston, unquestionably one of the most remarkable and powerful voices in all of music, had been silenced forever. Over the weeks and months that followed, family, friends, and fans alike tried to understand how such a magnificent talent and beautiful soul could have been taken so early and so unexpectedly. Glamorous and approachable, captivating and sweet, Whitney had long ago won the hearts of America, but in recent years her tumultuous personal life had grabbed as many headlines as her soaring vocal talents. Her sudden death left behind not only a legacy of brilliance, but also painful questions with no easy answers.
Now, for the first time, the beloved superstar's mother, Cissy Houston—a gospel legend in her own right—relates the full, astonishing scope of the pop icon's life and career. From Whitney's earliest days singing in the church choir to her rapid ascent to the pinnacles of music stardom, from her string of number one hits to her topping the Hollywood box office, Cissy recounts her daughter's journey to becoming one of the most popular and successful artists of all time. Setting the record straight, Cissy also speaks candidly about Whitney's struggles in the limelight, revealing the truth about her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown, her public attempts to regain her celebrated voice, and the battle with drugs that ultimately proved too much.
In this poignant and tender tribute to her "Nippy," Cissy summons all her strength to reveal not only Whitney the superstar, but also Whitney as a sweet girl, a bright-eyed young woman, and a deeply caring mother. Complete with never-before-seen family photographs, Remembering Whitney is an intimate, heartfelt portrait of one of our most revered artists, from the woman who cherished her most.
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Cissy Houston is strong. Cissy herself appears to have been a star in hiding and I believe that Whitney simply became the star that Cissy would have been if not for her Christian faith and a determination to stay with the church. Obviously this woman can sing! Why I give the book 4 stars, though, is because it was obvious that once her career took off, Whitney was not as close to her mother. Cisssy candidly admits that Whitney did not confide in her or discuss her personal issues with her. You can tell because Cissy is very vague when giving her account of Whitney's relationships, marriage and drug use seeming not to know much about anything that was going on with her and just giving the reader her "take" on the different media stories about her daughter without seeming to have been involved or being able to give a first-hand account of anything. This I found a bit disappointing, but at least she was honest.
The book is very very sad in some parts especially when she describes how she got the news of Whitney's death and how Michael broke down at the funeral home. I was boo-hoo crying over those parts.
I'm sure this book is very healing for Cissy Houston, however, and again it left me with a strong appreciation for her as a person and paticularly as a mother. You cannot help but feel her love for her daughter in this book.
I would love to see the other family members write books as they were also close to Whitney. Nevertheless, a recommended read.
My take-away from this book, is to never take anything for granted. To always search myself -- whether happy, angry, frustrated, whatever, and make sure, that before I leave a conversation or encounter, that I can be comfortable walking away if this were my last opportunity to engage with this individual. What I say later or write later -- after they have passed, is not something that will change past history. This book was helpful to me, and I did enjoy the photos throughout.
Many reviewers here have mentioned that they wanted to read more about Whitney's personal life and struggles. But to me, how would her mother have known of the day to day struggles her grown daughter was facing? If you're on the fence about reading this book, approach it knowing that this is truly a mother's perspective. If you've ever had an addict in your life, the people they want furthest from them are those they love and are afraid of disappointing. In Whitney's later years, as Cissy pointed out, she didn't want her mom to see her "that way" and she knew her mother would stop at nothing to get her the help she needed.
When I finished this book, I wept so hard. Not just because of Cissy's story, but as a mother in general. I loved this book and I'm so glad I purchased it instead of checking it out at the library.