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“Remembering Whitney,” written the year after the star’s death, is a tragic but beautifully written story. Authored by her mother, Cissy Houston, the book reveals Whitney’s life in a tender way. Cissy takes readers back to her own roots, bringing to light how family values, faith and love of music cascaded through the generations.

I was a Whitney Houston fan from the time she hit the spotlight as a young girl. Her beauty, voice range, captivating smile and stage presence astounded me. My favorite song was “Greatest Love of All,” which spoke of teaching children to love themselves and to use that love as their strength. Images of Whitney as a child, and Cissy herself, were interlaced in the video.

Reading Whitney’s compelling life story from her mother’s point of view was tender yet powerful. I was elated when Cissy spoke of her pride in Whitney’s success and cried when she received the call that is every mother’s worst nightmare. All the details in between were written with reflection on elements that may have contributed to the tragic end. I would imagine it must be cathartic for a mother to write such a book. I admire her strength and courage.

Cissy wrote about the day Whitney was born. The nursery staff was so enamored by this beautiful baby that they held onto her while Cissy was kept waiting to hold her baby girl for the first time. Cissy commented that even then, Whitney belonged to the public. As the story unfolded, it was easy to see how Whitney’s need to feel loved and inability to process criticism may have been her downfall in spite of having strong family support and a good upbringing.

Cissy respectfully wrote she would not speak for her granddaughter in terms of how she coped with the trials and tribulations of her mother’s life, leaving the door open for Bobbi Kristina to tell her own story one day if she chose. The ending was especially sad because Cissy wrote how she would always be there for Krissy, who died two years after the book was published at the age of 22.

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