Disarming… In the emotionally tangled “Remembering Whitney,” the elder Houston - still clearly working out her grief - is a fiercely protective mama bear to the memory of her damaged cub, but she also refuses to lionize her. She paints a picture of her daughter’s life… that is both triumphant and anguished.
Whitney Houston may have belonged to the world, but “Nippy” belonged to her mother. Grammy Award?winning gospel singer Houston, with coauthor Dickey (Happy Accidents), writes of the joy of discovering and nurturing her daughter’s talents and the sorrow and anger accompanying her premature death. Starting with her own fascinating career, Houston discusses how she revolutionized the background singing industry working with Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, and others. Her life changed with Nippy’s birth, and when 12-year-old Whitney decided she wants to sing professionally, Houston helped guide her daughter’s career, which included modeling and acting. Houston talks about her efforts to warn her daughter of the dangers of the music industry and to keep her grounded, especially in faith, but this fiercely protective mother could only do so much. Whitney’s career is celebrated, and her close relationship with her family is on display, both in text and in accompanying photos.
Verdict Whitney Houston was a megastar and fans will appreciate this honest, dignified, yet emotional account of her life from her mother. Those looking for lurid details, especially about Whitney’s relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown, will be disappointed by her mother’s high-road approach. With photos, an index, and a discography for mother and daughter, this book is highly recommended.Terry Bosky, Madison, WI
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A talented, flawed artist, seen through the eyes of a loving, forgiving mother. Considering what her daughter put her through, most readers will be impressed by Cissy's patience and unconditional loyalty. Cissy, a well-respected yet underappreciated vocalist herself, relates Whitney's highest highs and lowest lows with honesty, but not much in the way of introspection or insight. The narrative proceeds in a this-happened-then-this-happened-then-this-happened fashion, readable and breezy but lacking depth. Cissy all but glosses over her own impressive career, which is unfortunate, since she recorded as a background vocalist for Wilson Pickett, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Gregg Allman, David Bowie, Diana Ross and many others. Still, there is plenty of material that Houston devotee's will find fascinating: Young Whitney's (aka Nippy) childhood thrall with music and her speedy ascension up the music-industry ladder; the insider view of the behind-the-scenes machinations that helped Whitney get to and remain at the top of the charts; and Whitney's true feelings about fame. Many readers will pick up the book hoping to learn the real deal about her tumultuous, toxic relationship with fellow singer Bobby Brown and her descent into substance-abuse–based madness. While Cissy details how she bent over backward to save her daughter, she offers precious little information about what happened in the Houston/Brown household. However, that sort of salacious material would be out of place in this mostly affectionate remembrance of an iconic singer whose whole story will likely never be told. Fans of the Houston ladies will laugh, cry and beg for more. The rest of us will shrug and move on.