The Bottom Line
- A glimpse inside the celebrity life of Maria Shriver, a Kennedy and wife to Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Echoes the lost feeling of many mothers whose career ends by choice or circumstance
- Quick read, conversational tone
- The message is terrific: don’t look to others for validation, be happy in your own skin
- The poem at the center of the book is hokey
- Unlikely to resonate with someone not currently in an identity crisis
- No interesting revelations about Shriver’s marriage or family
- It costs $14.95 for an hour of reading
- A 91-page, hard-cover book that retails for $14.95
- Built around a speech Maria Shriver gave at her nephew’s high school graduation
- Addresses the identity crisis many working moms feel when they give up their career
- Written in a conversational tone
Guide Review - Book Review of Maria Shriver's Just Who Will You Be?
Maria Shriver eats licorice! And Dots! And Swedish fish! Her teenage kids talk back and roll their eyes at her. She agonizes over her career, identity and future -- she’s just like us!
That seems to be the hook of Just Who Will You Be? a slim book that probably will inspire and validate many mothers going through an identity crisis. Casual readers, though, should steer clear. Ultimately, Shriver squanders the opportunity to dig deep and articulate truly profound insights.
Shriver experienced an identity crisis after unexpectedly giving up her quarter-century career as a television journalist. When her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger won the California governorship, NBC considered it a conflict of interest to continue to employ Shriver, so she was forced to quit. Shortly thereafter, her teenage son told her to face the truth: "You’re a housewife." That sent her into a tailspin.
I was excited to see what Maria Shriver had to say about weathering the crisis. It’s certainly interesting material -- self-doubt and soul searching from a Kennedy and Hollywood wife. But aside from a few conversations with her kids and a friend, she simply recites her life lessons, rather than taking us on the journey with her. Indeed, her appearances on Oprah and elsewhere were more self-revealing that the book itself.
The book ends up feeling slight. It took me under an hour to read, and I doubt I’d ever go back to re-read it. My advice: save the $14.95 for your kid’s college fund. If you’re truly curious, read the last 20 pages in your local library or bookstore. That was the most meaningful section of the book to me, with some true life wisdom. I especially liked My Pledge, which also came from a public appearance.