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Publisher's Summary

The highly anticipated first book by superstar Vanessa Williams and her mother.

When Vanessa Williams was growing up, she had a plan: She'd go to college and major in musical theater; afterward she'd get her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and then she would embark on a successful career on Broadway. But her life took a detour and she wound up the first black Miss America in September 1983 (an accomplishment that she never planned for or desired), only to be forced to resign ten months later due to a nude photo scandal - much to the shock of her mother, Helen, who had told her, "never pose nude for anyone."

But Vanessa survived this setback, and many others to come, to enjoy a 30-plus-year career as an award-winning singer and actress. Vanessa has been asked to write her memoir many times, but only now - in collaboration with her mother, Helen - is she ready to tell her story.

Vanessa grew up in Millwood, New York, part of one of the town's only African-American families. When Vanessa was a teenager, she and Helen were constantly at odds. But despite their early conflicts, Helen has always ardently protected and supported her daughter, staying in contact with the FBI about the death threats Vanessa received after being crowned and being there for her through the births of her four children and dissolution of her two marriages.

Vanessa describes how she's made it through the ups and downs of her life as well as her career - from the The Right Stuff to Kiss of the Spider Woman to Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. Jointly written by Vanessa and Helen, and filled with dozens of personal family photos and mementos, You Have No Idea is an empowering celebration of the love between a mother and daughter and the life, thus far, of a woman who beat the odds to achieve her destiny.

©2012 Vanessa Williams, Helen Williams (P)2012 Penguin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Crystal
  • Shreveport, LA United States
  • 01-09-13

Excellent Book-enjoyed from beginning to end!

Loved this book. Read by Vanessa and Mom so you can really feel all the emotions throughout the story. Very telling and candid. I loved the openess. You will hear many things that may surprise you. I was exceptionally impressed with this TELL ALL! You must buy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sonya
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 06-19-12

Loved It!

What did you love best about You Have No Idea?

Vanessa's and her mother's candidness about their life experiences and relationship.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The book's title...You Have No Idea

Any additional comments?

There is a lot of wisdom regarding parenting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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from childhood, to adulthood what a journey:)

Vanessa, wise beyond her years, like an innocent child with a mature outlook on life. She has reached her destination with grace, strength and beauty. She is open to change and being her best always. Complete as an individual and as a family she has created. Love Vanessa's Outlook on life, family, individuality and faith.

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Pretty good

Pretty good, very honest book.
Lovely narration. I've been a fan of Vanessa Williams since I was a little girl. It was nice getting to know the woman behind the legend.

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Great read

Great read, great stories- seemed a bit out of order but still fun. She is a great talent

  • Overall
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Beautiful

Would you listen to You Have No Idea again? Why?

Yes I would definitely listen again, Vanessa's life is very interesting and there is not a dull moment.

What did you like best about this story?

i feel as though I learnt a lot from Vanessa and Helen in this book which I plan to carry with me throughout my life.

Have you listened to any of Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Huge fan of VW, she should do another book and Helen should definitely do a book on parenting, she's an amazing mother.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

No, you really do have no idea

Any additional comments?

Love Vanessa and Helen, the book made me laugh and cry and made me feel proud

  • Overall
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VERY IMPRESSED WITH STORY

FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED FROM DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW
BEING DIFFERENT AND WANTING TO WORK HARD TO SUCCEED AND BE SUCCESSFUL

  • Overall
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You Have No Idea...How Much I Enjoyed This Book!

Hearing Vanessa and Helen Williams share their stories was incredible. Every story and reflection was told in such a genuine and candid way that you could feel the emotions the lay beneath each confession and anecdote.

Before knowing her entire story, I too dwelled on the naked photo scandal every time I thought of Ms. Williams. I remember watching her win and the TV camera panning to her beaming parents in the audience. I was proud then and I remained proud and neutral on the topic.

Vanessa was and remains one of my idols. Her early life has so many parallels to my own that I now feel a powerful affinity to her as a person and I actually admire her more now than ever.

It was a fabulous book and Ms. Helen added a flare that the book would not have had with just Vanessa telling her perspective. Helen gave the book credibility and an equilibrium that kept the storyline grounded.

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Excellent story from both Mother and Daughter.

What does Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration from the actual author of a book brings a life to the words they write. Expressions and tone of voice really makes the author point come across. I love listening to both Vanessa and Helen tell their versions of the events in the book. Very well narrated and written.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

You have no idea.

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Amazing Biography!

If you could sum up You Have No Idea in three words, what would they be?

Fresh approach, well read, just perfect!

Any additional comments?

Amazing experience to listen to Vanessa and her mother telling the story of their lives ... ++++++