Actor and rapper Will Smith considered himself a coward for many years. As a boy, he was scared of his abusive, perfectionist dad from whom he wished he could protect his mom. He discovered that performing, both musically and as an actor, mitigated the risk of vulnerability with the chance to gain everything. His onstage humor, charm and originality won him worldwide fame and love—but also cost him. In Will (16.5 hours), Smith tells his incredible true story of rising, falling and discovering himself.
In the same way he studies his TV and film characters, Smith analyzes himself through vivid, theatrical anecdotes and stark metaphors. Rickety basement stairs become a descent into hell, and a game of Monopoly turns into a contest between success and death. Through his clear narration, Smith becomes not just a character but also himself, and the listener can easily “get” him.
As Smith relates his story of learning how to move beyond simply surviving to thriving, his delivery is spot on, with masterful imitations of family members, friends and colleagues. Musical interludes and background music create a soundscape from which epiphanies burst brilliantly. Smith’s autobiography is a hero myth for readers seeking self-awareness.