Transparency is what makes memoir writing a transformative experience – it makes you stretch. But it doesn’t mean that you have to dig out all of the skeletons in the closet. Sometimes, transparency is showing how you failed at a job in order to become successful. Sometimes it’s admitting that at times, you were clouded and didn’t always know what to do or how to move forward with your life. Sometimes it’s standing in the truth of who you are even if it doesn’t fit what everyone else around you is doing. What I have learned from my latest jaunt on the NY Times Best Sellers list is how to be transparent in writing without giving all of the nitty gritty details away.
Sophia Amoruso, a fashion designer and entreprenuer, is flipping the script on the notion that only good girls get the corner office, as she writes in her rags-to-riches autobiography, #Girlboss. As a teenager, who was labeled ADD and battled depression, it seemed that Amoruso was headed for Nowheresville. She dropped out of school and began hitchhiking, dumbster-diving and even stealing. While working at Subway and discovering she needed medical attention for a hernia, Amoruso knew she needed to make more money. In 2002, she sold her first item on ebay (a stolen book) using social media to acquire customers and eventually began selling vintage clothing until ebay kicked her off the site. By 2014 her clothing company, Nasty Gal, generated over $100 million dollars. Racing to the life she desired, Amoruso followed her passion and saved herself from a life of boredom and an inability to concentrate.
#Girlboss is part memoir and part prescriptive or “#GirlBoss training” and in a world where some young girls think they can have success by imitating reality TV stars, Amoruso warns her readers to “Abandon anything about [their] life and habits that might be holding [them] back . . .[and] create [their] own opportunities. . .[as] Fortune favors action” (14). This is the perfect book for a unique or even “rebellious” teenage girl who is graduating high school or college or any young woman who is just feeling lost. Amoruso tells her readers that in high school she wasn’t around long enough for anyone to vote her “Most Likely to Succeed”. In fact, most people were probably betting she was most likely to fail. In a lot of memoirs about success, many authors seem to have some sort of innate drive, some resilience gene that kept them going despite their circumstances. Amoruso reveals for her readers that initially “that thing” wasn’t there for her at all and that she had to learn to develop those muscles.
Last month it was reported that Netflix will turn the book into a comedy series staring Charlize Theron. When it airs, I will be watching. I had no idea who Sophia Amoruso was before, but now that I know who she is I am thoroughly impressed with her success, her message and her writing style