I was thrilled to receive We’re Going to Need More Wine as a gift from my cousin. She handed me the book and said, “Elizabeth! I was listening to her in an interview, and I thought, THAT’S ELIZABETH!” I ate that complement up because let’s get real, Gabrielle Union is fantastic.
This memoir has stories that focus on various topics; the topics range from the impacts of sexual assault, her experience in Blackness, breakups, and finding the right guy. I love reading biographies, but I usually shy away from those of celebrities, so I’m thankful I gave this book a shot.
I completely related to Gabrielle in many ways; I almost couldn’t put this book down. While reading, there was one paragraph that stood out to me. Gabrielle was talking about her experiences after her sexual assault, and this chapter left me stunned. I remember starring at the page until my eyes couldn’t focus on it any longer. I reread it, reread it, and reread it. After reflecting, I burst into my boyfriend’s game room and started yelling about how this book understood everything. I then proceeded to call my friend Maggie and tell her the same thing. She gets it! She understands!
Timing became the most important thing in my life. I timed everything I did to try to reduce the space for something else to happen to me. If I could limit the time I was in, say, a restaurant then that would narrow narrow the likelihood of me being murdered if the restaurant was held up in a hostage situation. That’s how my brain began to function.Page 101
This paragraph sent shock waves through me. I never had a woman explain to me that what was happening to me had happened to her too. For YEARS, I had timed EVERYTHING. Oh, they want to hang out after 7 pm? Ain’t no way! Okay, if I spend two hours at the gym and then go home, I’ll be fine. Well, I can get lunch at 2 and then leave at 3:15. It was such a revelation to have someone understand me.
It can be such an exhausting and painful experience to have to explain to someone that your past will follow you. People hear your story and can immediately get defensive or criticize you. Usually, you hear the same things over and over; you could’ve gotten help, you should’ve done this, blah, blah, blah. It’s easy for people to shame you, but shame the abuser differently. I have found that if an abuser is shamed, they are shamed by people whose perception of the victim has changed after learning of the abuse. Gabrielle does a fantastic job of touching on some of these issues.
I found this collection of essays to be honest, vulnerable, relatable, and humorous. This book is one that I genuinely will hold on to and never forget. I focused this post around one essay in We’re Going to Need More Wine, but there are so many other layers. You’ll read about Gabrielle’s experiences living in the Midwest, Hollywood gossip, romantic relationships, and discussions on sexuality, race, and colorism. Anyone can enjoy this book!