Saturday, April 11, 2015

#Book #Review. . .Taming Lil' Mo



Lil Mo’s musical background came as somewhat a surprise to me because I never thought of her as such a force to be reckoned with or that she could hold her own.  Bottom line, I didn’t know much about this feisty little woman.  She’s multi-talented and I enjoy watching her on R&B Divas:  LA.  I always appreciate her honesty and the way she tells it like it is.  For someone so little, she has a humongous personality and it resonates.  I was never much of a fan of her music, just wasn’t my style, but I appreciate what she brought to the table.  Who knew she wrote music for so many biggies in the music industry.  Lil Mo has it going on.

Having said all that, it really saddens me that I did not totally enjoy her memoir.  For me, I had several issues with it.  You may question how can a person take issue with someone else’s true life story?  And my answer will be the story was entirely too disjointed.  I didn’t feel a strong connection to Lil Mo as I feel watching her on reality TV.  In fact, I found her story to be all over the place and not really delving into the issues in which I think her fans truly wanted to know.  For instance, the beef between she and Kelly Price, who was a supposed longtime friend of Mo’s for years.  She hinted around the issue surrounding the reality drama, but didn’t really tell us what happened?  Anyone who saw the episode where they fell out, knows just about as much as I do and the book didn’t expand on the subject.  She didn’t go into the drama she experienced with Chanté Moore or how it is she came to get on the reality show in the first place.  She talked about when she found out she was selected, but didn’t tell us the process in which brought her to this point.  To me, if you’re telling all, don’t you think those are things her fans would want to know?   Hmm, I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me, but I expected more from her and I felt as though I was cheated of sorts.

First off, the title of her book would suggest that she has two personalities (which she has shared with the public many times over), and I get that.  But what I don’t get is that if you’re taming Lil Mo why didn’t you talk about why you’re taming her?  What I found out is more about Cynthia Karen Loving and just so-so about Lil Mo, Cynthia’s alter ego.  I completely get why she created the Lil Mo persona, which was due to being sexually molested when she was very young.  Being Lil Mo broke Cynthia out of her mold, but that’s as much as we know.  In other words, her book didn’t really go into much more about how she’s taming Lil Mo other than what you’ve already heard or know about her.  Let’s face it, Lil Mo has no problem expressing herself, although there was a time when she had a very hard time doing just that.

The cover of her book also suggested this was a “tell-all” story.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel she expressed enough to her reader.  She sort of leaves you hanging, and that’s what made the disconnect for me.  I don’t expect any celebrity to tell me every facet of their life, however, I do expect, when you put on the cover of your book that it’s a tell-all, then damn it, that’s what it should be.  Tell all that surround the things your fans truly want to know.  Don’t get me wrong, she told a lot about her personal dilemmas and trials and tribulations, which I appreciated her candor, but what her die hard fans really wanted to know, I think she fell short.  She just teased readers and for some, like myself, that turns me off.  Either you’re going to come totally clean and tell it, or don’t mention it at all.  You know why people want to read your story, so let’s not kid anyone here.  At times I felt like she just wrote this book to capitalize off of her fame of being in the spotlight on R&B Divas:  LA.  And if that is what she was going for, she succeeded.  Her story seemed rushed, disjointed, unpolished, thrown together haphazardly and confusing at times. 

So, you’re wondering what exactly did she tell?  She shared some of her musical background with her readers.  She name dropped people she’s worked with in the industry.  She was pretty candid about the way she grew up with her parents and siblings and the strong religious background they shared.  She also went into detail about her failed first two marriages, which brought another issue for me.  I’m not sure if this was an editing issue or if this was just Lil Mo being Lil Mo?  She gave initials for her second husband’s name near the end of the book, and I’m thinking what was this brother’s name?  Or why was his name a secret?  After all, he was on the first season with her of R&B Divas: LA, so what was up with the “PJB” and not just stating his name outright?  I’m thinking that may have been an editing issue, or seeing as how their marriage ended up pretty bitter, maybe she did it on purpose?  I’m not sure, but I know that drove me nuts seeing the capped letters throughout the couple chapters.

I do appreciate that she talked about why she and her second husband put on this façade during the first season’s taping of R&B Divas: LA.  She didn’t want the public and her fans to know she was really going through a divorce.  Family means everything to her and I did enjoy her heartfelt stories about her childhood and her family life.  Her self-image is also important to her and knowing that her parents have been together for so many years, she so desperately wants to have that with a husband.  Luckily for Lil Mo she met her third husband, Karl Dargan.  I’ve seen him on this seasons R&B Divas and I’m hoping that she has truly found love this time.  It’s not that she didn’t find love the first two times, it’s just she was at a different stage creatively in her life, and that brought about a different set of circumstances.  One thing I do love about Cynthia is when she does tell she keeps it pretty much one hundred with her readers.  I think her memoir could have been so much better if it had been polished and edited correctly.  It seems to me the version the reader was given was literally a first draft, which is the cut that should never make it in front of a reading audience.  Again, those are personal pet peeves of mine and may not bother other readers, which is fine.  In no way am I suggesting you not read her book. 

Cynthia Loving a/k/a Lil Mo possesses another talent that she may not even be aware of.  She’s funny as hell!  OMG, there were parts of the book where I fell out laughing so hard cause I’ve experienced some of the things she talked about and it was refreshing to see that someone else has gone through those things and how she handled it.  I busted out laughing a few times because I could envision her writing these words and hear her voice as I read it.  Mo is a trip, which if you’ve been paying attention and following her career, you already know! 

Again, this is not a bad read, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  Of course, I continue to wish Lil Mo the best in her career.  All the love she can handle and for her children to aspire to do great things in life.  I am pulling for her that she and Karl will make it as husband and wife.  Lord knows marriage isn’t easy.  Mello & June gives this book three stars.  Not bad, and not the greatest, but it’s definitely readable and shares some poignant moments!  She does bring the funny too!



Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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