Reading autobiographies is not really that much fun because it does not easily “transport” you into the “magical world”. So I use to not care much about reading autobiographies until I picked up Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man. It was cleverly written as it does not come across as your typical autobiography but more like a life-changing inspirational and yet spiritual story.
You can feel every emotion in every sentence Poitier portrays to us. He bares his soul to the world in this autobiography. He takes us on a journey from his childhood (growing up on Cat Island in the Bahamas) to adulthood (moving to the States and becoming a legendary actor), what made him the Sidney Poitier he is today. He tells it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, leaving no stone unturned. It shows Poitier’s own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifices and commitment, the price he paid for artistic integrity and humility and rage and racism in Hollywood and from the media he endured through his journey of life. His book is actually a testament that shows that one must be true to oneself through all circumstances.
A few of my favourite quotes in The Measure of a Man:
“I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I’ve suddenly come up with the answers to all life’s questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I’ve done at measuring up to the values I myself have set.”
“Forgiveness works two ways, in most instances. People have to forgive themselves too. The powerful have to forgive themselves for their behavior. That should be a sacred process.”
“I am the me I choose to be.”
The Measure of a Man can only but make you feel humble and inspired after reading it. And if I should rate it? Well, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.
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