Cover Image: Didn't We Almost Have It All

Didn't We Almost Have It All

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Member Reviews

Such a great biography for someone that deserves the kind of respect and attention that the authors gave. Getting the details of the tough life Whitney had is just utterly heartbreaking. I can't believe it's been ten years since Whitney died. The Forward by Brandy was incredible. I encourage you to read this one and please, if you are struggling, reach out for help.
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Whitney was a goddess trapped in the body of a human. I don't think any book written about her life will ever tell her story the way it needs to be told. This was not my favorite at the recent attempts at that.
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It was not what I was expecting, but still so good. Love it and am glad I gave it a try. I remember my Whitney Houston's days.... So much fun and beautiful music.
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Great biography of the singer who had such a bright future ahead of her but made so many decisions that she could not recover from. Great foreward from Brandy also.
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#whitneyhouston has been my idol since she took the stage. My little self and saucer eyes hearing that voice. Watching her. She just radiated everything I wanted to be at nine. #didntweallmosthaveitall #indefenseofwhitneyhouston #gerrickkennedy #abramspress this isn’t your usual book. We don’t break down her life and spill the tea. Instead each chapter is a short tale and history surrounding Whitney. This book gives her grace and the respect that she has deserved. If you have ever loved Whitney or been curious about her. This book is one you’ll want to pick up. She has always been and will forever be an icon. #popmusic #biography #bookstagram #whitneyhoustontribute #netgalleyreview #bookstagram #readersofinstagram #musicinabook #whitney
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I tried. Like the author, I grew up with Whitney Houston's songs as the soundtrack for my adolescence. But this memoir just bored me to death. The descriptive language was repetitive. How many ways can you say someone is an awesome singer?  I read about 20% of the book before it completely lost my attention. I appreciate what he was trying to do --I can see that he's examining Houston's life from many different angles, turning it like a diamond in the sun. But I struggled to maintain interest. This one just wasn't for me.
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My childhood soundtrack would have so many Whitney songs on it. I remember her vividly from the 80’s/90’s. Her lush, beautiful voice that could make you cry or dance! Her beautiful, 1000 watt smile that was so contagious. I could still to this day, listen to her songs on repeat. I loved her. As did most of America. And many of her songs bring up very fond memories of my teenage years.

I lost track of her celebrity status after college and didn’t hear all about her drug use and problems until much later. I was shocked. She had it all, what happened?

This book takes a look at Whitney and doesn’t focus so much on her specific actions, but instead tells the story about what happened around her.

How the music industry capitalized on her talent at the expense of her identity. How they mistreated not only her, but other black artists. What it meant to be a black singer in the pop/MTV days is focused on. As is how she lacked the control of being able to pave her own path.

In later days, when she turned to drugs, while the reasons may be unclear, we can guess at many of them. But more importantly, this book asks the question, why didn’t we treat her better? How could society make her a punchline instead of reaching out and being supportive and providing help and understanding.

It’s a great book that focuses on her influences, our music and celebrity culture, and how being black in those industries leads to mistreatment and in some cases identity loss.

Highly recommend for a different view on Whitney’s success and struggles.

Thank you to #abramspress and #netgally for this review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

This book is available now!
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I have not read a book by Gerrick Kennedy before, but when I saw this biography about Whitney Houston, I knew I needed to read it. I am so glad that I requested this book, and that I was approved to read this amazing life story. This autobiography is not some tell-all, gossip book. The story of Whitney Houston is told with sensitivity and respect. I thought I knew a lot about Whitney Houston, despite being only 6 when I Want to Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) came out. I grew up with her being in the spotlight, and I remember all of us singing I Will Always Love You on the playgroup in PE. I always blamed Bobby Brown for her troubles, but that, sadly, was not the case. She had troubles before that, including that she sounded like she was playing for the Caucasian audiences. Basically, me. It was hard to read how she was treated by the music industry and those who felt she did not represent the black community. She had so much pressure placed on her, and I am angry there were not enough people standing up for her. Bobby Brown cannot be blamed for all that happened to her, we all can take part in that blame. Or those surrounding her that made her marketable to all of us. This biography was told respectfully and with dignity. I am so thankful I was able to read it. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I will read anything about Whitney Houston - she was beloved by my family and friends. Even with her bouts with drug addiction, she remained a shining example of accomplishing your dreams and striving for excellence in your craft. Her voice has no competition.
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I would like to thank NetGalley and Abrams Press for allowing me to read this book and give an honest review. I wasn't able to finish the book before it was archived. I have long been a Whitney fan and remember where I was when I heard she passed. This book lays out Whitney's life so well. I wish I could have finished it but I thank you for the opportunity to start it at least.
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Definitely a book for Whitney Houston fans and those who already have delved into her life. I found the reader sometimes needed a little background on her. This is not he ordinary type of biography. It's more a short collections of tales and history surrounding Whitney Houston.
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I loved this book so much. I love Whitney Houston so much, I was so sad when she passed and still is to this day.
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"But we cannot let ourselves off the hook if we are going to create a different environment - not just for our celebrities, but for ourselves."

I sincerely applaud this author because this wasn't your normal "let's sensationalize" Whitney's fall from grace that we have grown accustomed to seeing.  Didn't We Almost Have It All revisits the societal context of all events involving Whitney's career as well as her parent's grooming and beliefs led her to not being her full self. This is not your typical story of an addict who succumbed to their disease.

Kennedy forces us to take a look at ourselves and the role we play in building up and tearing down one's self-esteem. Parents are instrumental and charged with protecting us from harm even if it is from other family members. It isn't our place to say someone isn't "black enough" when they are simply being themselves. It is most definitely not our place to police anyone's bedroom except our own. And, let's not get started on what folks will post for likes in which each of us will click on their degrading picture/story/video because we simply can't turn away from other's hardship.

We as a people thrive on other's downfall, just as much if not more, than seeing them win. It is through this lens that Kennedy recounts Whitney's life. Didn't We Almost Have It All helps us to remember the ceiling that Whitney shattered by becoming a Black pop princess and forces us to look into how each of us contributed to her downfall.
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If you’re looking for a life to death tell-all about Whitney Houston, this isn’t the book for you. The author makes that clear at the very beginning and I appreciated that going in. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, the way he shares his love and passion for Whitney by focusing on her talents is felt on every page. We also learn more about the  obstacles she overcame before her fall from grace. And also, how we ridiculed her and let her down. 

Kennedy shines a light on the criticisms and pressures she faced as a black artist in the 80’s + 90’s world of MTv. She was never “black enough” or “too wholesome” for unforgiving commentators, yet she still broke barriers and paved the way for black female artists and actresses to come. Also discussed is the obvious dark sides of Whitney’s life, the parts that were displayed on tabloids everywhere: her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, the drugs and childhood sexual abuse. 

This biography also addressed race, culture and the music industry.  There are mentions of other big music stars, from Michael Jackson to Mariah Carey. Her history with Gospel music is a major theme at the beginning. At times, I did find myself skimming through these sections because it was a little drawn out and more than I wanted to know and sometimes took away from what I wanted to learn about her. 

Kennedy reminded me how much I love I loved her music, jamming out to with my mom and sister in our living room. She was such a HUGE part of my childhood; I even dressed up as Whitney Houston for Halloween when I was 10 years old. 😆 While reading this, I played Whitney’s albums in the background and it was so nostalgic and sad at the same time. Knowing what we’ve lost when we left us. I spent time on YouTube watching old interviews and music videos. I’ve added The Bodyguard to my watchlist because after reading this, I NEED to watch it again. To hear her belt out “I Will Always Love You” again. 

Fans of Whitney, pop culture and good ol’ R&B will enjoy this read! Be prepared to go down the Whitney rabbit hole and reminisce on how good we had it with her music!

Thank you NetGalley and Abrams Press for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
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More of a collection of essays of factors in Whitney Houston's life and the author's thoughts on them than a true and full biography - if you know that going in, you will get it. It also makes for a quicker read for me personally. 

Solid points on how we treat people in the public eye (and private, of course) who struggle with addiction or mental illness or any sort of visible rough patch, what we demand of people who are famous and of Black women and women in general, and the overall concept of shame and how that colors our world. We dishonored Whitney during her struggles, and that's on all of us.
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A beautiful tribute to one of the most talented singers ever. Great storytelling without being salacious or mean..A worth it read.
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Whitney

When I saw this book listened on NetGalley I immediately requested it no questions asked.  I grew up listening to Whitney Huston’s music and will still belt out and preform to I Wanna Dance with Somebody.  This year will mark 10 year since the anniversary of her death, and I can still recalled when the news of her death broke.

The Forward by Brandy was great, and it was so interesting to see someone who grew up listening to Whitney and then working with her.

This was such a power memoir and I so glad to have read it.  Right from the start it really makes you think about how you treat people and how sometimes making someone the joke may end up having some dire consequences.  How words are really powerful and we never really know what people are dealing with in their own lives.  How important it is to let people live and be true to themselves instead of the box the society as a whole tries to put them in.

If you were a Whitney fan, I would definitely recommend reading this book.

If you are struggling with depression, or suicidal thoughts please reach out to someone or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.
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I love Whitney and I am a long-time defender of her. The reason one needs to defend Whitney is because her critics are many and loud. The author of this book about Ms Houston is a much bigger fan than me, and though he doesn’t shy from talking about her controversies, the respect and love that he has for “Nippy” shines through the pages.

The chapters in this book read like essays, at time repetitive with details but each a fascinating standalone mini dissertation about Whitney, but also about 80’s pop music, gospel, New Jack swing, 90’s R&B, the treatment of women in the media, sexual politics at the end of the 20th century, among more topics. 

The repetition comes in with certain life details of Whitney’s that get repeated in chapters, and turns of phrases used more than once, such as how Whitney was a “woman who had been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots” or multiple mentions of “sugary” music. This is not a bad thing though because it really allows a person to pick up the book and begin reading at whichever era of Whitney’s they are interested in and get up to speed.

If Whitney had survived, I would have loved to see how she would have been redeemed in recent years as we learned as a society to be more inclusive and understanding. As the author states, “we lost Whitney before we learned to be better.”

This book gets released 2/1/22. I would like to thank Abrams Press for the advanced release copy through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I will be honest that I went into this book thinking it was going to be something different. When I realized it wasn’t the story on Whitney’s life that I was seeking I stopped reading. The chapter descriptions did not outline what I wanted from her story. Was I only here for the salacious drama, no, but I was expecting more. Honestly, I wasn’t interested in some of the angles and storylines presented.

Although I didn’t give this one an honest chance, I am interested in reading Robyn Crawford’s story. Being Whitney’s best friend, I think that her story would be the most honest and telling.
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In 1988, in the middle of a snowstorm, my mother brought me from suburban New Jersey to Madison Square Garden to see Whitney Houston on her Whitney tour.  I'll never forget my first concert and thinking that Whitney sure did change outfits a lot.  Whitney is a true legend.  That voice!  I didn't realize all of the criticisms of Whitney's music that she faced through the years -- not good enough, not Black enough, not original enough.  Kennedy tells the story of Whitney's family, rise to fame, addiction and death. You leave the book feeling that Whitney never go to be her true self.  While some of the book was repetitive, it is a quick and interesting read.    Now, I have the Whitney channel on Spotify on repeat. So many great hits.
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