I will be the first to admit it, I’m a total Gleek. Although if I’m being completely honest, I will admit that I wasn’t always. In fact, I wasn’t on board until halfway through the second season. Glee for me, was an acquired taste. As a former theatre/high school music nerd, I had a multitude of critiques, chief among them being that I thought the show was over-dramatized. I went to a high school in a small, rural town just like the characters of Glee. And just like on Glee artsy kids were the wildly unpopular minority, but that being said no one ever slushied us or engaged in any similar behavior. People resented us plenty, but they mostly just made fun of us behind our backs and then left us alone in true self-absorbed high schooler fashion. Besides, those country bumpkins were too busy drinking ever clear and getting knocked up to do any real harm. Except when they were forced to sit through our performances, in which case they infuriated us by talking incessantly throughout and occasionally having a little too much fun with a well-placed laser pointer. All that being said, I’ve still watched every single episode multiple times. Shit, I own multiple Glee CDs. I’m not like, proud of it or anything, but that is the truth. And my favorite character, has always been Santana Lopez. Perhaps it’s because she’s so mean, and she gives voice to the kinds of mean thoughts I think but never say. Maybe it’s because she has the most unique singing voice of anyone on the show. I don’t really know, but suffice it to say that she’s totes my fav.
So this fall I read in People magazine that Naya Rivera, the actress who portrays my beloved Santana Lopes had a book coming out, and I was pretty pumped. The article I read mentioned that she talks in her book about her boob job, her path to Glee, and her relationships with fellow cast members. Being a person who also loves a good celebrity memoir, I also own copies of Bette Midler’s A View From A Broad, and Fran Drescher’s Enter Whining, I devoured the copy of Sorry, Not Sorry my boyfriend got me for Christmas.
In Sorry, Not Sorry Rivera discusses her formative years as a child star, her family’s poverty, the agony of her teenage years, going to an endless onslaught of auditions, bad breakups, the death of Cory Monteith, getting an abortion, her marriage, her child, her family, and being a new mom. The book packs the roller coaster ride of navigating a childhood, adolescence, and finally young adulthood amongst the tumult and chaos of trying to tap into the monster that is Hollywood into 239 pages. It was riveting, I could not put it down. Not like it is the best book ever, because it certainly has its faults. Rivera didn’t use a ghost writer, and there are several instances when it is glaringly obvious. There are also parts of the book, like when Rivera is discussing the death of Monteith for instance, that she seems to just gloss over. I would have liked to have seen her unpack some of these things a little bit more. Especially the death of Monteith as this was a tremendously devastating event for all fans of the show who had fallen in love with the charms of the lovable chump Finn Hudson.
However, the topic I was most glad to see her expand upon is the chapter in which she opens up about her choice to get an abortion. She does so in a way that is truly admirable. She isn’t really political about it, and as we all know it is nearly impossible to even mention the word ‘abortion’ in this day and age without being political. It is her honest account of why she made the decision that she did, and the repercussions that she faced afterward. She walks her reader through the event in a way that makes us feel like we are there with her while simultaneously shedding light on an issue that gets a lot of people heated. It also serves as a warning, when at one point she says “there’s no award for best effort when it comes to safe sex. If you practice safe sex 95 percent of the time, you don’t get an A –you get an F,” (168).
Although the book is more than a little cheesy, as one would expect with any celebrity tell-all, and Rivera saying things like “my mom is my ultimate number one,” and other such gushy statements, it also surprisingly has its share of wisdom and life lessons. Particularly when Rivera discusses learning to manage her finances, and things that she has learned from being in and subsequently getting out of bad relationships. It seems like navigating the choppy waters of being a twenty-something has never been an easy task, but Rivera shows that even celebrities aren’t exempt from some of those hardships and that no one has it easy. Life is hard, man. And that is true for everyone.