When Your Hand Is In The Lion’s Mouth
When Your Hand is in the Lion’s Mouth is a narrative non-fiction told in forty-two stories that is a father-daughter memoir. The foundational paternal love, wisdom and life lessons shared can father us all, and at 96 years young, he keeps inspiring and teaching us with his foundational practical wisdom. Not often enough do we hear of great black fathers in our stories or media, one that goes beyond stereotype, shining a light on a devoted man who lifts and enlightens. Green is one of those men. The simplicity and complexity of the life into which he was born informed the wisdom and worldliness he would gain. Born as the second youngest of nineteen children in a rural northwest Louisiana farming community, the lion of the Jim Crow South loomed large and oppressively in the 1920’s. But, Green Whitaker had the beautiful gift of a family devoted to each other to guide him through. That familial devotion and grounding grew him into a man of great integrity and grit whose love melded with the faith seeds planted in his quest for a piece of the American dream. He continues to be a beloved father, uncle and friend, as well as a father figure to more than his own children, serving as a mentor and willing role model for his entire community and more. His love and nurturing gave me the confidence to pursue a career in entertainment. His example is the salve our souls need; a re-parenting from a father figure whose voice and simple wisdom can nourish and support the child within each of us. Green is the last surviving of his large family and is the portal to his family’s history and legacy. It is not an academic book on parenting, but a sharing, a recollection of unpolished gems of wisdom about how to have better values, sharing the ways he to be more kind, loving and honest to foster a rich life. It gives us a glimpse into the life and earned wisdom of a distinguished black father named Green, and how he shares his practical life gems with his children, his community, and especially his youngest daughter, Nita
Finding my Voice
Living with the Loss of Don LaFontaine
Whitaker LaFontaine, Nita
NitWhit Inc. (250 pp.) | ISBN: 978-0985264826;
In her affecting debut memoir, LaFontaine asserts that “love doesn’t end when a loved one dies,” but can, through friends and with grace, become deeper and more sacred.
The author and her husband, Don LaFontaine, came from vastly different backgrounds, but both had powerful voices. She performed her first church solo at the age of 3 and later sang in the Miss America pageant as Miss Louisiana—the first woman of color to hold that title. He was the voice behind the famous movie trailer introduction, “In a world,” among other catchphrases; his voice work appeared in more than 5,000 movie trailers, as well as in numerous television shows and commercials. Not long after Nita and Don met in Los Angeles in the 1980s, they merged into “one motion, one word, ‘DonandNita.’ ” After 20 years of marriage, with three beautiful daughters, their dream life was interrupted when Don was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the memoir, Don undergoes chemo and fights the disease in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai, cracking jokes all the while, as the author flashes back to her childhood and highlights from the life she and Don shared.