Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Officer, MHF
Parris Goebel (2018). Mary Egan Publishing, NZ
When I picked up this book, I was expecting a stock standard autobiography. The story of someone’s life told using flowery language and a singular story arc, summarised with the lessons they had learned in life. But within the first couple of pages, I knew that this was an entirely different kind of autobiography. I was transported into the world of Parris Goebel and I was completely hooked!
Parris has told her story in a way that both inspires and activates the reader to be unapologetically you. She tells her story, but does it in a way that is both conversational (like a catch up with an old mate) and illuminating (like a big sister giving you a pep talk). It is rare to find literature that truly reflects a person’s identity, but I felt that the way Parris writes gives a real voice to the young NZ-born Poly identity - and I’m 100% here for it!
Her story is inspirational, but more importantly, Parris is clearly trying to use her platform to lift up the world around her. As a dancer, I couldn’t help but find myself exclaiming “YAASS” while reading through all her advice for surviving in the dance world. As a brother and an uncle, I found myself thinking about the powerful women in my own life. As a NZ-born Samoan, I was filled with pride to see that one of our own has reached so much success but is still challenging herself to a life in the service of others.
Young Queen is a great read and comes with a powerful message from a powerful woman. Even better, it is coupled with a beautiful teaching resource to encourage young people to explore their own identity and pathways to the future. This book is a must read for every young person that doesn’t quite fit in.