*This is a book review of Uphill: A Memoir by Jemele Hill.
It’s probably weird to call her “senior,” but I’d like to think of myself as a younger, different version of Jemele. Yes, that’s how much I look up to this wonderful woman.
“Over time, I realized my problem was not with God. It was with humans and their interpretation of the Bible, mostly how they use it to manipulate people.”– Jemele Hill
Author: Jemele Hill
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Number of Pages: 256
SJ Rating: 96%
Famously known for calling former president Trump a white supremacist during her time at ESPN, Jemele Hill recounts her life and major milestones, both good and bad, leading up to the moment she says goodbye to her 12-year career at ESPN.
First and foremost…
WE WERE SO CLOSE TO HAVING THE SAME NAME, SPELLED THE EXACT SAME WAY.
When I say my mind is blown… I am still trying to process this information, and it’s been a month since I’ve finished the book. To quote the amazing author: “Jemele wasn’t the name my mother wanted for me. She wanted to name me Jamilah, which is Arabic for ‘beautiful.’ However, my grandmother and father conspired to shorten it and make it Jemele while my mother was recovering from birth.”
I knew there was a reason I became instantly obsessed. She is who I want to be when I grow up and not because we almost had the same name.
This memoir made me realize I can find pieces of myself in every book I read, even if it’s nonfiction. For example, I also get triggered when people try to tell me who I am. I also played the same game of sizing up adults to see if they would be good parents and let my mind run free about them adopting (rescuing) me (#childhoodtrauma). To keep this relatability train going, Jemele started writing because she needed a safe place to unload the overwhelming feelings building inside her (um, hello, me!). Furthermore, I also had a mother with a mindset that privacy was not guaranteed under her roof, and I hated it; it honestly might be part of the resentment and distance present in our relationship (again, #childhoodtrauma). Lastly, I too made a risky move and moved to the capital of North Carolina to advance my career; I hope to discover my talent here.
The words that hit the most with their relatability, straight to the heart, were “I experienced an ongoing pattern of being let down by the very adults that I trusted the most. It hardened me, and I don’t know if those places will ever be softened.”
I know little to nothing about ESPN, so I enjoyed learning the—somewhat limited—behind the scenes of the sports media giant.
Beyond the ESPN talk, it wouldn’t be a Jemele Hill book without discussing the racial injustices and fear of existence Black people experience every day. Per usual, I am here for it.
The way this book is written has Jemele Hill all over it; it’s written in her dialect, and I could hear her voice as I read it. Continuously, I absolutely love the titles of all the chapters and their connection to the content in the chapter as well as other chapters. The whole book flows beautifully.
Off the bat (back?), I noticed a couple of grammatical errors, like “But I here I was…”. There’s also “lables” on page 205. I’m learning to not expect perfection when it comes to books because I’m incredibly imperfect myself; still, I’ll point it out.
This isn’t necessarily bad, but I would have liked the story and process in creating her podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered; then again, I could scroll to episode one for that?
In telling her life’s story, this book covers it all: domestic violence, drug abuse, love, and equity. Jemele Hill also drives the message home that the key to success is being yourself and sticking to your values.
Jemele’s podcast was the number one podcast I listened to last year. From the first episode I listened to, I’ve been obsessed. Discovering the beautiful powerhouse that is Jemele Hill is one of the best things to come out of the pandemic.
I read this book in a week, which is something I haven’t done in a long time (not counting the book I read when I was stuck in an airport for 30 hours). Yes, that’s how good this book is.
To my grandparents who have no idea this exists, thank you for gifting me this memoir Christmas 2022. Best. Gift. Ever.
Next book to be read and reviewed: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
“God knows the secret desires of your heart, even when you have no idea what they are.”– Jemele Hill