Book Review: ‘A Toast to Life’ A Memoir by the Actress Juliet Ibrahim

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Title – A Toast to Life

Author – Juliet Ibrahim

Publication – August 2019.

Publisher – Prestige, Kachifo 

Genre – Memoir

From Liberia to Lebanon, Ivory Coast to Ghana, Juliet Ibrahim survives the upheaval of war across countries, being torn away from the familiar and losing memories. But this is only the beginning of her story.

In A Toast to Life, Juliet is a child with body-esteem issues, a teenager dealing with abuse in silence, a young woman making mistakes in love and an adult finding cause to celebrate life.

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Reading Juliet Ibrahim’s book A Toast to Life is very insightful into knowing about occurrences in the life of the model, actress and activist which shaped her into the woman she is today.

The book begins from when she was a  little girl, what it was like for her growing up, how many times over due to war her family had to start over and become immigrants in countries that wasn’t their own. Her battle with unwanted attention from men from an early age due to her skin and many more things.

I love how hardworking and determined Juliet Ibrahim is, whatever she did, she gave her all and did it with passion, a true businesswoman. Not only was she a model, she started a modelling agency, then started a salon with the help of her mother, then she moved into beauty, where she sold her own eyelashes, all the while still acting and last but not the least is she has her own NGO to help people with cancer and many more deadly diseases.

Her many love affairs and how the media/people forget that celebrities are mere human beings, which the book succeeded in doing, painting her as a normal human being, who just happens to be in the entertainment industry.

The book talks about the things that have happened to her, from the beautiful to the ugly, especially by humans, and it’s awesome how steadfast she has been able to be all her life and how she lets nothing deter her, instead she trudges forward. It is very motivating and I will surely remind myself not to settle, sell myself short or not dream big because there’s always a way of making the dream become my reality.

Because of the above, it made me aware of something the memoir was missing. We all make mistakes, mistakes that are entirely our fault due to a bad call of judgement or feelings of destructive emotions such as anger/pettiness/jealousy. These mistakes are the ones we learn from, which shapes us and make us better people. There’s none of that in this book, where Juliet Ibrahim makes a mistake that hurt other people, and how she fixed it or how it affected her self growth and development.

As a woman, I found myself relating to many instances in Juliet Ibrahim’s childhood, that makes me connect and understand the stories she shares, I have taken some life affirmations from this book which I am glad I accepted a review copy of.

Was the book enjoyable? Yes, I mean it’s reading about a rich, famous and successful woman, a personal account, narrative-nonfiction. Her story is easy to follow, the writing is not bad at all. The chapters deal with different aspects of her life, although a little more tweaking and the flow would have been superb, which doesn’t take from the story at all.

I have made it that I don’t rate memoirs and the likes, especially of respectable humans, because how do I rate another person’s life experiences?

Ultimately this memoir succeeds in showing the humanity in Juliet Ibrahim, who isn’t just a face behind the screen, she is also a human, who goes through the motions of living and struggle that comes with being a human female, no matter her status.

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