Books & Literature

Book Review: Unfinished, By Priyanka Chopra Jonas

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MEMOIR: As a world famous actress, singer, film producer, UNICEF ambassador and women’s rights activist, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s first ever memoir will empower a generation of young women.

A moving memoir that inspires change, courage, and confidence.
5

In her debut memoir, actress, singer, and film producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas lifts the curtain on her fascinating and inspirational life. Born to two army doctors, Chopra Jonas grew up in India, constantly relocating to where her parents were stationed. She developed a sense of independence at a young age, being sent to boarding school in the state of Uttar Pradesh before living with relatives in the United States and attending schools in Massachusetts and Iowa. Her life changed forever at 17, when her younger brother suggested that her mother submit her photo to the national Miss India competition.

Unfinished takes readers through the pivotal moments in the author’s life—those moments that shaped her into an international role model. Although a true story, the exciting and extraordinary memories detailing beauty pageants, red carpets, and movie sets make this an even more thrilling read than a work of fiction. The memoir chronicles the fairy-tale moments, along with the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication that goes into transforming dreams to reality.

Chopra Jonas’s story is equally entertaining and inspiring as it explores the recurring theme of East meets West and the balancing act required to sustain a career that spans across both. It provides an informative insight into Indian culture, along with a captivating behind-the-scenes look at the inner-workings of Bollywood and Hollywood. 

The included photos highlight some key milestones for the Quantico star, from appearing on a Sunset Boulevard billboard to receiving the Padma Shri civilian award from President Pranab Mukherjee. These provide a further glimpse into her fascinating life—one that readers highly anticipate after immersing themselves in her stirring and at-times surreal recollections.

The engaging themes of self-belief and finding the courage to adapt to challenging situations also appear in the book. The author highlights the daunting experience of being different from the norm and how this ultimately worked to her advantage in her Miss India days. Along with the glamourous reminiscences, Chopra Jonas also recalls many painful life moments, from feeling abandoned at boarding school to suffering racism in the United States to losing her beloved father to terminal illness. These chapters make this an endearing and relatable memoir, and perhaps help the reader to unpack their own similar experiences. 

Weaved throughout are harrowing but necessary stories about some of the horrors Chopra Jonas witnessed growing up in India and through her work with UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). The book finishes with a final moving message acknowledging the underprivileged and the voiceless. She encourages serving others with time, energy, and compassion, and doing whatever we can to help those in need. 

Above all, Unfinished seems to speak directly to anyone struggling with finding inner-confidence, whether that’s the confidence to love yourself or the confidence to follow your dreams. It’s immensely powerful, particularly for young girls of colour, to witness the journey of a woman who was once made to feel ashamed of her skin colour rising to become a global icon of beauty and success. 

Reviewed by Vanessa Elle
Instagram: @vanessaellewrites

Distributed by: Penguin Books
Release Date: 16 February 2021
RRP: $32.99

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