Quick fire review:
This is a funny, intelligent and bullshit-free account of Naya’s life to date. I devoured it in one sitting.
If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know who Naya was until she popped up as the sassy bitch Santana Lopez on Glee and while I can’t say I was her biggest fan then, after reading this book I’m going to be keeping an eye on this babe.
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:
– All those times I scrawled “I HATE MY MOM” in my journal. So many moms and teenage daughters don’t get along–we just have to realize it’s nothing personal on either side.
– At-home highlights and DIY hair extensions. Some things are best left to the experts, and hair dye is one of them.
– Falling in love with the idea of a person, instead of the actual person.
– That I don’t always get along with everyone. Having people not like you is a risk you have to take to be real, and I’ll take that over being fake any day.
– Laughing at the gossip instead of getting upset by it.
– Getting my financial disasters out of the way early–before I was married or had a family–so that the only credit score that I wrecked was my own.
Even with a successful career and a family that she loves more than anything else, Naya says, “There’s still a thirteen-year-old girl inside of me making detailed lists of how I can improve, who’s never sure of my own self-worth.” Sorry Not Sorry is for that thirteen-year-old in all of us.
Here is why I picked this up:
- It was day 3 of being at home with the flu. I was stuck in bed while my cat had her bath on my legs. I looked at the fantasy books I was reading and my brain shut down at the thought of having to focus on a plot. I’d already binge watched season 15 of Hell’s Kitchen.
- All those excerpts were being released. I don’t frequent gossip sites all that often but sometimes when I’m lost on the web I’ll hit up somewhere like Just Jared. Needless to say that this happened while I was off sick and I read a few little bits of the story and felt the need to dive into the drama.
“So yeah – Tupac and Will Smith? I was totally slaying in the early nineties.”
You know what kept me hooked on this? Naya Rivera is a straight talker. She doesn’t try to cover up her mistakes, she is very open about her personal and professional struggles and her accounts of love lost and love found never felt contrived. Like with nearly all celebrities, everything I know comes from leaked photos and tabloid slander, so it was really nice to get to experience Rivera’s life in the humorous and light-hearted way she intends.
At the end of every section, she provides a sorry & not sorry checklist of everything discussed in the chapter. This was a cool addition and I thought some of the topics she added into the not sorry section were very empowering to young women trying to navigate life and love.
“We made out for a few minutes, and then I pushed him down, stared him in the eyes and said,”Okay, let’s get this over with, because I don’t want to bleed on someone I actually like.” For a teenage boy, sweeter words of seduction have never been spoken, I guess, and then I climbed on top and proceeded to get it over with.”
Here are some of the things she talks about:
- Glee – From the friendships she developed to the passing of Cory Monteith and supposed on set feuds with Lea Michele, Rivera puts you on the set and at those parties where you get the chance to see some of your favourite actors in new ways.
- Relationships – Girl does not hold back. From her early dating days to her relationship with Mark Saling (learnt some things about him!) and her engagement to Big Sean, Rivera takes you into the ups and downs of falling in love when your perception of a healthy relationship is skewed.
- Marriage – Do you want to know the sweetest part about this book? Hearing her talk about her husband Ryan Dorsey. I remember all of the scandalous stories written about her when they first got married but without the backstory, it is very easy to see her as, for lack of a better term, a compulsive nutjob. Getting to know Naya and Ryan as friends and then hearing about how they came to be the couple they are today was definitely a beautiful addition to this book. You can tell that love and life have bought them together for a reason.
- The awkward teen years – From body confidence issues to losing her virginity, Rivera lays herself bare for the reader’s. Given a lot of her fan base will be teens who loved Glee, I thought it was really great that she felt free enough to put her teen triumphs and downfalls on display. They were certainly relatable and I think for many young girls especially, there are some empowering truths to her words.
- Financial struggles – Being a child star is not all it’s cracked up to be. I don’t know why, but I always just assume people who have been in TV or movies have money. I never even consider how things must be when they aren’t working. Rivera doesn’t hold back when she talks about her financial struggles over the years, her bad credit rating and her potential bank fraud (?).
- Family – From her parents tumultuous relationship to their eventual divorce, Rivera puts you in her childhood home for every fight and every exciting life moment. It was really nice to read about how her relationship with her mum has changed over the years and I think for anyone struggling with that mother/daughter dynamic, seeing the shift in their relationship may help you better find the love and respect for your own little duo.
- Work, work, work, work, work – Girl has done it all. If you don’t like Rivera or you don’t like this book, one thing is for certain, you will never say that she is scared of hard work. From days at Hooters to working telemarketing with her best friend Madison, she takes you through every bad customer experience and every good promotion.
- Acting (duh) – From those formative years as a 5 year old laughing it up on TV to the years where she couldn’t book a job, Rivera talks about all the times she thought about quitting the biz and the steps it took for her to finally get her role in Glee. It was also really interesting learning a little more about how auditions work because it was all stuff I didn’t know.
“In the beginning, Santana was a man-eating cheerleader with a chip on her shoulder, in the end she was married to her best friend and truly cared about people. Similarly, I ended Glee happily married with a baby on the way.”
Should we sum this up? Yeah, let’s do that. This is a fun little read that will take you behind the scenes of Naya Rivera’s life. If you weren’t a fan of hers before, you sure as hell will be after reading this honest and heartwarming account of a life journey full of mistakes and great triumphs.
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