BWW Reviews: Jenna Ushkowitz's CHOOSING GLEE: 10 Rules to Finding Happiness and the Real You
Chris Colfer has written a childrens novel as well as a young adult novel, and Jane Lynch has written a memoir. Now, Jenna Ushkowitz is following suit as another Glee cast member dabbling in writing. The Glee star released her debut novel "Choosing Glee: 10 Rules to Finding Happiness and the Real You," on May 14 through St. Martin's press.
For her writing debut, Ushkowitz took a road different from Lynch and Colfer. Instead of a memoir or novel, she opted to write more of a self-help type book that encourages readers to reach their full potential and most importantly, find happiness.
Some might find this type of book questionable, especially because "that Tina girl from Glee wrote it," but they could not be more wrong. It is very fitting for Ushkowitz to write this type of book - you could go as far as to say she is the perfect candidate to write something like this.
Cheesy or predictable are not words that describe Ushkowitz's first crack at writing. She truly achieves what she aims to do with the book. Ushkowitz takes ten core rules and instead of claiming to have all the answers, and makes suggestions based on the rules on how to achieve happiness and be true to yourself. She admits you might need to face rejection or failure in the process, but she shows that it's all part of growing up and learning.
Ushkowitz is at a point in her life where she feels like she has it figured out, but that has come after years of mistakes - or maybe "learning experiences," is a more appropriate term She has determined that the ten key elements to finding your own happiness are: being yourself, knowing what you want, overcoming fear, being willing to make and learn from mistakes, expecting change, being active, never saying never, doing the best you can, taking risks, and rewarding yourself.
Each of these rules are explored in a chapter, and Ushkowitz writes in a way that shows she knows what she is talking about. She explains how all these rules played a key role in her finding her own happiness. She provides us with her own insight, as well as the insight of those important in her life. People might be skeptical about a book like this being written by a 27-year-old, but Ushkowitz makes it clear that she has experienced a lot in her short lifetime. It is made clear in her writing, that experiences have made her wise.
Ushkowitz's friends and Glee cast mates all contribute to the book, providing a tidbit about what they think is the key to happiness. Everyone has a different opinion, so Ushkowitz draws from and utilizes them. In one chapter, Ushkowitz features an interview with Chris Colfer, which shows us how much she has learned from her co-stars and what a whirlwind Glee really is. In Choosing Glee we hear from Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Jessica Szhor, Ushkowitz's boyfriend Michael Trevino, Kristin Chenoweth, and more.
Choosing Glee gives us an insight on Ushkowitz's life from her adoption, to her experiences on Broadway and to Glee. It also explains her confusingly Jewish last name. Her paternal grandfather was Jewish. It all makes sense now!
By taking us on her journey to happiness, Ushkowitz provides us with "heartwork." "Heartwork," is homework within the book that allows readers to reflect and plan ahead. These pages are worth taking the time to fill out, because what do you have to lose? You might just find out something about yourself. This journalist found out that yes, she is a diva, and should take some time to rationalize situations.
This book is for anyone afraid of change or what is to come of their future. Ushkowitz relates to her journey on Broadway, and reflects on her roles in The King and I and Spring Awakening. She takes us on her rollercoaster ride of auditions and her eventual success with Glee. The actress also gives us insight on the struggles and obstacles that have come with landing her spot as Tina on Glee.
Glee's audience and targeted demographic is largely teenagers and young adults. Viewers of FOX's hit show are drawn to the dramedy because it is uplifting and gives a voice to people who are not normally portrayed on screen. Fans of Glee and Ushkowitz are at a delicate age where they either are not sure what they want out of life, or have decided and are not sure of how to go about attaining their life goals. They will definitely respond well to the interactive and visual nature of the book.