A Story of Loss and Gain: Book Review
By Elli Davis, June 16, 2012
As human beings, we all struggle with trying to make sense of who we are and what we want in life. But can you imagine attempting to make sense of such complex issues while being followed by paparazzi and having your face splashed across tabloid headlines all over the world? Portia de Rossi experienced just that and she shares it with the world in her honest and gripping autobiography, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain.
Prior to her marriage to Ellen DeGeneres and her comedic role on Arrested Development, de Rossi was best known for her part on the hit show Ally McBeal. Tabloids, however, recognized her more commonly as the girl who was far too skinny and possessed a mysterious sexuality.
The majority of the book certainly can not be called an “easy read”. After spending a lifetime hiding her sexuality and issues with her body image, she lays it all out in the open in her book. De Rossi’s honesty with both herself and the reader makes for an incredibly captivating read, but it can also make the first few chapters slightly intense to get through if you are unprepared. It may help to keep in mind that the place she is in emotionally and physically in the present is a very happy one. And it is this new sense of self acceptance that partially inspired her to write the book. So when you find yourself cringing at what she is going through in her journey – just remember that something good comes out of it all.
Throughout the book de Rossi weaves together three independent, but ultimately connected, themes. Between a lonely and misunderstood childhood, struggles with her self-image and confusions surrounding her emerging sexuality – she was a woman at odds with herself. If you have ever been unhappy with your size or wondered what you are looking for romantically, you will almost certainly feel a deep connection with Ms. de Rossi’s tale.
De Rossi may be talking about her own life but she does so in such a way that you cannot help but make the emotional connections between her experiences and your own. She never resorts to self-pity, but rather tells it like it is and almost seems to hope that her readers gain the strength to do so for themselves as well.
Unbearable Lightness is a painful, but ultimately hopeful, account of a young woman trying to find herself in an overwhelmingly complex world. As a fellow human being, you will most likely be able to relate and find yourself reflecting on your own feelings and experiences by reading it.