Navigating through youth and young adulthood isn’t easy, and in Sorry Not Sorry, Naya Rivera shows us that we’re not alone in the highs, lows, and in-betweens. Whether it’s with love and dating, career and ambition, friends, or gossip, Naya inspires us to follow our own destiny and step over–or plod through–all the crap along the way. After her rise and fall from early childhood stardom, barely eking her way through high school, a brief stint as a Hooters waitress, going through thick and thin with her mom/manager, and resurrecting her acting career as Santana Lopez on Glee, Naya emerged from these experiences with some key life lessons. (via goodreads)
Before she hit the big-time on Glee, Naya was on shows such as The Royal Family, Family Matters, and even one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when she was a child. She was a professional actress before she could even read! Something that maybe not too many people know, since I’m pretty sure most people assumed Glee was her first real project. At least, I wasn’t aware of that until looking into her acting credits once Santana Lopez became a favorite character of mine.
Naya doesn’t hold back in this book. She talks about mistakes she’s made, including with dating and career moves, and just puts herself out there in a “yeah, people might judge me for this, but it happened and that’s that” attitude that I have to say I admire. She talks about her pre-fame eating disorder, never really feeling like she fit in due to her multi-racial background, her relationships, and, her faith, even her heartbreaking abortion. I love how honest she his in this book, and what really amazed me was her faith that in no matter what happened, even the shitty stuff, she believed that God had a plan for her, and she learned to take it all in grace rather than complaining about the bad stuff.
“So when life gives me lemons, I say fuck it and drink champagne.”
After all, she wouldn’t have even gone to the Glee audition without it. In fact, when she had auditioned for Glee she had just about given up on acting and only went to the audition for her mom’s sake. And it’s a damn good thing she did, otherwise we wouldn’t have the iconic Santana Lopez!
What’s amazing is that even though Glee projected her into stardom, she didn’t ever “go Hollywood.” She remained the same person that she was before and didn’t let the fame or money change her. Instead, she got her crap together, got out of debt, and made a life for herself that she was proud of. I admire that. And sure, there was some drama along the way, but she dealt with it and moved on.
“Your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be proud. In fact, I think it’s the opposite: the more imperfect your life has been, the prouder you should be, because it means you’ve come that much further, and also probably had a lot more fun along the way.”
The only thing I wish she had touched more on was the friendships she made with the cast on Glee, specifically with Heather Morris and Kevin McHale, since she was so close to them. Though I get that maybe she didn’t feel it was relevant for the theme of her memoir (though she does touch on Heather being her “wing-woman” to talk to her future-husband). But I really would’ve just loved to have seen her gushing more about her castmates that she was close to.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re a Glee fan or just love celebrity memoirs. This one is one of the best I’ve read because of the ease of reading and the honesty. I’d also recommend the audiobook if you prefer that format because (as any Glee fan knows) Naya’s voice is just amazing to listen to, even reading a book!
I’m only sorry that I didn’t pick up this book when it was first published, or even before Naya’s untimely, tragic passing.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars