Why ‘The Most Beautiful’ by Mayte Garcia Will Make You Love and Hate Prince

The Most Beautiful cover

The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince, is a story about music, artistry, pain, infatuation, control, religion, and deep, soulful love. Put frankly, it is a story that will stick in your mind after you’ve placed the book down.

Whether you were a fan of Prince or not, I recommend reading The Most Beautiful, because much more is buried in this rock star romance than a world filled with purple foo foo.

I once read a great piece of writing advice that said a memoir should be your story, but it shouldn’t be about you. Rather, the memoir is about everyone else reading your book. Mayte Garcia accomplished this with grace and love.

She wrote with endearment and forgiveness. She wrote truthfully, sometimes with the perspective of a wiser woman, sometimes with raw emotion. What I loved most about her book is how I felt myself getting pulled into the eccentric, strange, and lovely world of Prince with her.

For those who don’t know, Ms. Garcia is the first ex-wife of Prince. She was also the only woman with whom he had a child, and that child died one week after birth. Their marriage ended soon after.

Before meeting Prince, Ms. Garcia was becoming a world-renowned belly dancer by the age of 16, when she met Prince backstage. He was 13 years her senior, but in typical Prince style, he saw her artistic potential before she could, and he began contacting her offstage.

Ms. Garcia went on to become a creative collaborator of Prince’s, then a backup dancer and employee, and finally his wife. The Most Beautiful is Ms. Garcia’s story, told her way. She wrote it soon after his death.

Sadly, her memoir made me think of Prince in a different light.

No doubt he was a creative genius, but did he also suffer from unknown mental illness? Perhaps a form of narcissistic disorder? Ms. Garcia does not hide the emotional roller coaster she lived with him, everything from the extraordinary highs of dopamine-filled passion, to the anger and rage she felt at the lows.

Through it all, one thing is apparent: Ms. Garcia never stopped loving Prince. She loved him wholly, completely, without prejudice. Her love is permeating, because even after you learn of Prince’s most sinister side, you will still appreciate and accept him. Maybe you will even still love him.

My favorite part of the book was the end. No spoilers here, but I’ll say this: it was the light amongst much darkness. Want to know why I adored it so much? Well, I guess you’ll have to read the book.

STARS: 4/5

BOOK: The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince

AUTHOR: Mayte Garcia

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Most-Beautiful-My-Life-Prince/dp/0316468975

PUBLISHER: Hachette Books

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What Happened to the Need for Volunteers?

I’m a 29-year-old professional woman, college-educated, and I’m dying to volunteer for my neighborhood’s at-risk kids.  

There’s just one problem: no one wants my help.

Today is one of those days I’m veering off-topic. And yes, perhaps this is a bit of a rant. But I see something wrong–very wrong–with my recent discovery. And I cannot remain silent.

What I want(ed) to do 

I grew up in the vibrant dance culture of Phoenix, Ariz. (yes, we do have one, believe-it-or-not). I danced ballet, jazz, lyrical … 15 hours a week. I helped put myself through college by teaching dance.

And now that I work a professional 9-5, I want to teach it again. Except this time, I don’t want to be paid. I want to volunteer as a dance teacher and mentor for teenage girls in my neighborhood’s high school dance program.

It’s a Title 1 school. That means it receives federal funds because many of its students are at-risk, from low-income households.

Since this summer, I’ve been trying to call the school. I’ve left messages with the principal, the office staff, and even the staff dance teacher. I went so far as to call the SCHOOL DISTRICT and leave a message for their volunteer coordinator.

Not a single call back.

I guess our local school districts, which are scrounging for money, don’t need free help from its community’s professionals, who by the way, pay property taxes to support education.

Walter Cronkite had a volunteer high-school mentor.

Did you know that? I’m currently reading his autobiography. The man was a professional journalist in Walter’s community. He volunteered to teach and mentor the neighborhood high school kids once or twice a week.

Walter Cronkite, as we know him, would probably never have existed without this great volunteer.

Have you ever seen the movie, “Stand and Deliver?” It’s about the infamous math teacher, Jaime Escalante, who taught at-risk high school students calculus. Jaime, a Bolivian educator, came to Garfield High School from a computer factory, where he served as a star technician.

In today’s world of public education, neither Jaime nor Walter’s mentor would have made it to the classroom. No one would have bothered to call them back.

Yes, I’m angry! And you should be, too.

What happened to this country’s appreciation for volunteers? When did it become so HARD to help, for free, in your community? When did we become so selfish, that we think only to use our communties as resources–to better ourselves?

I come from a family of teachers. My mother was a teacher, my father was a teacher. My boyfriend’s mother is a teacher. I have cousins who are teachers. It runs in my blood. And yet, I cannot get involved.

Is anyone else seeing what’s happening here?

Yes, perhaps there are many reasons why I haven’t gotten a call back. But after leaving multiple messages for multiple people, I think the message is clear. They don’t want my help. Because to them, it’s not about the kids.

This makes me wonder, what other opportunities are being denied to our youth in the public school system? Who else have they not called back?

I’m not a parent. So I urge every parent out there to find out. Ask questions. Because apparently, it’s no longer the American way to step up and volunteer for your community’s youth.

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