final-cover-palmerI Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, Keke Palmer, Author North Star Way  $14.98 ISBN-10: 1501145398 

Singer, actress, talk show host, humanitarian, and now author, Lauren “Keke” Palmer has gone from writing in journals to writing her youth empowerment book, I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, a passion-project that has been in the making for three years. After first announcing the book at the end of last March, of course fans were excited and intrigued, but there was also judgment about whether or not it was too soon for the young star to be penning her own life story (which in itself is odd because what gives anyone the right to tell someone he/she cannot write his/her own story?)

Furthermore, as someone who’s been in show business from when she was a child to a now 23-year-old woman, one is sure that Palmer would have plenty to say. And she does, and after reading I Don’t Belong to You, it becomes abundantly clear that so much of what the Scream Queens star says needs to be heard—regardless of if you’re an aspiring entertainer, doctor, writer, etc.

Inside is filled with uplifting memes, quotes, and guides from experts and other celebrities, but the most provoking sentiments come from Palmer, who opens up about everything from her anxiety, heartbreaks, sexual abuse, and depression to therapy, meditation, speaking engagements, and being pro-community. The Illinois native also divulges that as a child, she used to falsely think that her parents were using her; and when her Nickelodeon series True Jackson got cancelled, she felt guilty and anguished about not being able to support her family the way she was accustomed.

Another recurring theme of pain is the one the music industry inflicted on her, classic tale of label versus artist, with a really in-depth perspective.

On a more lighthearted note, readers get to learn other interesting things about Palmer’s career, such as the fact that her first gig (though she did not advance to its TV airing) was the American Idol 2003 spin-off, American Juniors and that it was ultimately her singing abilities that helped land her a role in her first film, Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Also, Palmer shares that entrepreneur, filmmaker, and actor Tyler Perry recommended the Madea’s Family Reunion star to his dermatologist and paid the tab—a secret Palmer has kept until now!

When it comes to improvements and/or suggestions for I Don’t Belong to You, there is repetition at times that should be eliminated. Although I understand why she might not want to expose too much, I think Palmer should be a little more specific when it comes to her account of her father’s alcoholic verbal abuse—I only advise this because there are probably many young people who can relate because they have experienced something similar; this information makes the book more relatable and poignant.

Palmer is accomplished yet still young in her career, with many more projects and lessons to learn ahead, which makes her all the more a perfect person to write this book. Most public figures wait until years later to reveal personal struggles and turmoil, but Palmer has chosen to recount her journey while she is still very “relevant” as they say, in her career. Sure, she isn’t the first famous person to write a memoir and/or guide book, but as a reader, one can feel that what probably motivated Palmer to open up so candidly is not just about a testimony, but using her story to reach others. To remind people that her being a celebrity does not make her any less human, no better, or no less than you, me, or the next person.

We live in such a time now where people assume that those with popularity and riches should have nothing to complain about regardless of what they might be going through. Palmer is unembarrassed to admit that there have been times where she wasn’t getting any opportunities in her field of work, there were absolute crickets, which is why she firmly believes in one creating his/her opportunities instead of just waiting around.

I want to thank Palmer for making this gift of a book and for choosing me alongside hundreds of others in the #IDBTYSquad Facebook book launch group to receive the ARC, and thanks are also extended to Lacy Lynch, Palmer’s book agent, and Daniel Decker, who ran the book launch. I Don’t Belong to You is available for pre-Order now and purchase Tuesday, January 31.

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