I remember reading a few years ago that Maria Bello had come out as being in a relationship with a woman. This announcement intrigued me, but then I moved on with my life, as people tend to do. I mean, it was nice reading this, and I do like her as an actress, but it was one of those things that you kind of absorb throughout the day, file away in your brain, and then quickly let it go for some other tidbit. Needless to say, I didn’t realize that she later went on to write an op-ed for the New York Times or that she then went on to write a book based on that piece.
However, during a recent library visit, that book, Whatever…Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, was perched there on one of the shelves I was perusing, beckoning me to at least pick it up. I read the jacket blurb, read the reviews, and thumbed through the first chapter (which I now realize is pretty close to the op-ed piece that inspired Bello to write the book), and realized that I wanted to know more about what she had to say.
The book’s concept is pretty straightforward. Bello posits that we are more than the labels that either society or we give ourselves. She also posits that sometimes we give ourselves erroneous titles, either in positive or negative ways, and she proceeds to analyze some of the labels she has taken or received throughout her life. Through a series of questions, she examines what those labels mean to her and why she feels they are either deserved or unwarranted.
I was surprised to find this book quite compelling. I didn’t honestly realize that Bello had an interest in writing. I also didn’t realize that she had recently been quite ill. Thankfully, she’s better in many ways, and this book is a testament to an admirable desire on her part to better understand herself, her surroundings, her support group, and also the world in general and how her actions can help improve that world. I was fairly impressed with all that I read, and I thought it was quite sweet how her son seems to play such an integral part, not only in the writing of this book and the original op-ed but also in Bello’s desire to examine and improve upon herself.
Final Verdict: I could see this becoming a part of my library. I also would recommend it as a quick but fascinating read from an unexpected but ultimately delightful person.