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Like Vanessa: 04/01/19

Like Vanessa

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles is historic fiction set in 1983 in Newark, New Jersey. This is the year leading up to Vanessa Williams becoming the first Black woman to win the Miss America title. To put that in perspective, I was eleven when she won.

Vanessa of this novel is growing up in a housing project. She's going to a rough school, living through a time when three decades of flight from the urban centers by white middle class had taken its toll on the big cities.

Vanessa has an incarcerated mother and a grandfather who is an addict. She goes to an underfunded school. But a teacher has decided to host a school wide beauty pageant. Vanessa decides to enter to emulate her idol.

I'm obviously not the intended audience but I enjoyed seeing Vanessa William's early career through a different perspective. I certainly did grow up with her as a model and later an actor.

Four stars

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