Elevate Difference

Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons On Love and Life Learned the Hard Way

Although I had never watched The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I was immediately drawn to Nene Leakes’ story even without knowing who she was. Once I opened this book, I did not put it down. Leakes' story is full of so much courage—growing up without her mother, being a single mother, surviving an abusive relationship and becoming a successful business woman on her own terms.

Never Make the Same Mistake Twice is written very conversationally—conveying Leakes' voice throughout the book. Leakes is unapologetic, taking pride in her decisions and the way she carries herself. While reading her memoir, I couldn't help but think: this woman rocks.

What I admired most about Leakes' autobiography is her frankness about how she survived the domestic abuse, which included a kidnapping incident. She bravely left in the middle of the night to protect herself and her young son. As a fellow survivor of abuse, I read Leakes' recount with tears in my eyes.

In part of the book, Leakes reveals her past work as an exotic dancer. While stripping is highly debated in the feminist community, Leakes divulges she did what she needed to do to support herself and her son. For Leakes, this job gave back her confidence after it had been damaged by the abuse. Even if you don't agree with her views, you have to admire her openness.

Since I knew I couldn't give a full review without watching at least an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I turned on Bravo. I'm now a full addict, watching the episodes over and over with the On Demand channel. The Nene in the show is exactly the Nene in the book. In addition, the latest episodes even show Leakes working on the book, and traveling home to Atlanta with her co-writer Denene Millner. And yes, Leakes does spill some juicy details about the show in her book. But even people who have never seen The Real Housewives of Atlanta can appreciate this memoir, especially those who have gone through the same issues.

Written by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch, December 23rd 2009