Scenes from My Life: A Memoir (Hardcover)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A “gripping, revelatory” (NPR) memoir of hard-won success, struggles with addiction, and a lifelong mission to give back—from the late iconic actor beloved for his roles in The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and Lovecraft Country
FINALIST FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • “Williams’s cool rasp leaps off every page, his story told in the direct yet impassioned language that defined his greatest characters.”—Vulture
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, NPR, The Root
When Michael K. Williams died on September 6, 2021, he left behind a career as one of the most electrifying actors of his generation. From his star turn as Omar Little in The Wire to Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire to Emmy-nominated roles in HBO’s The Night Of and Lovecraft Country, Williams inhabited a slew of indelible roles that he portrayed with a rawness and vulnerability that leapt off the screen. Beyond the nominations and acclaim, Williams played characters who connected, whose humanity couldn’t be denied, whose stories were too often left out of the main narrative.
At the time of his death, Williams had nearly finished a memoir that tells the story of his past while looking to the future, a book that merges his life and his life’s work. Mike, as his friends knew him, was so much more than an actor. In Scenes from My Life, he traces his life in whole, from his childhood in East Flatbush and his early years as a dancer to his battles with addiction and the bar fight that left his face with his distinguishing scar. He was a committed Brooklyn resident and activist who dedicated his life to working with social justice organizations and his community, especially in helping at-risk youth find their voice and carve out their future. Williams worked to keep the spotlight on those he fought for and with, whom he believed in with his whole heart.
Imbued with poignance and raw honesty, Scenes from My Life is the story of a performer who gave his all to everything he did—in his own voice, in his own words, as only he could.
About the Author
Michael K. Williams was an Emmy-nominated actor and producer. One of his generation’s most respected and acclaimed talents, Williams was best known for his roles on The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. He died in his native Brooklyn, New York, on September 6, 2021.
Jon Sternfeld is a former editor, the author of Unprepared, and the co-author of Crisis Point with Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, A Stone of Hope with Jim St. Germain, and A Forever Family with Rob Scheer, among other nonfiction books. He lives in New York.
“Williams’s cool rasp leaps off every page, his story told in the direct yet impassioned language that defined his greatest characters.”—Vulture
“Gripping, revelatory . . . Scenes from My Life tells a story which could have been a movie on its own.”—Eric Deggans, NPR
“Refreshingly straightforward . . . Scenes from My Life is an altogether superior memoir.”—The Washington Post
“Moving . . . [Williams’s] warmth and hard-earned wisdom shine through the pages, his story ending far too soon.”—The A.V. Club
“This incredibly powerful, incredibly moving book should be on everyone’s must-read list.”—Brad Thor, New York Times bestselling author of Rising Tiger
“It is too easy to call this memoir moving, although it is that. It also does not seem enough or adequate to call it powerful, emotional, and honest—although it is all of those things. Perhaps above all, the truest thing that I can say about this book is that it is honest. It is so honest that it repels the cowardice in the reader, as it also calls forward one’s highest self. You want to cover Michael in armor, in a blanket, in love, and in forgiveness. Being the consummate artist-human that he was, Michael’s words thank you for your care but asks you to first give those things to yourself. It is truly a profound read.”—Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of the National Book Award finalist Thick
“A bittersweet memento of a generational talent gone too soon.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Scenes from My Life will cement Williams’s legacy as a kind, thoughtful man who used his public prominence to give back to his community.”—BookPage
“Immensely inspiring and candid . . . This bittersweet and poignant work will leave readers in awe.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)