Book review: Just Who Will You Be?

Recently I was asked to review a new book that was written by Maria Shriver called Just Who Will You Be? The heart of the book is a speech that Shriver gave at a college graduation. I liked her emphasis on character over fame. It was a good reminder that wealth and fame don’t make life problem-free, and that in the long run who you decide to be is more important than how rich or famous you end up being. This book is a very quick and easy read — I actually would have liked it better if it was a little longer– but it would be a nice, encouraging gift for a new graduate. If you would like to win a copy of this book, leave a comment– and just for fun, tell me one thing you remember from your own high school graduation.


  1. My mom was just telling me about this book and I really want to read it.

    As for a memory… My friends and I were all on Student government and got to make the seating chart for graduation. We all sat on the front row and my best friend and I got pink squirt guns and drenched all of our friends coming off of the stage after getting their diploma. I have a great picture of this…Maybe I’ll have to find it and post it.

    Thanks for the chance to get this book!

  2. This sounds like a fun book!

    My clearest memory from graduation is actually from taking a photograph with the boy I was closest with (and had a terrible crush on) all through high school.

    When I got the picture back from being developed, I saw that while he had his arm around me, he was staring off in the distance. I was looking right at the camera and smiling.

    The picture made me see our relationship with clearer–and older–eyes. I had my diploma in hand for three days before I saw the photo, but I still think of that as my personal “graduation.”

  3. High School Graduation Memories:

    >The valedictorian challenging the parents in the crowd to ask their children to forgive them for ruining their lives with rules and guidelines. (he was serious, not sarcastic.)

    >The near-do-wells bringing a case of beer onto the football field, then . . .

    >opening and drinking the beers during the “S” list, then . . .

    >singing “nah nah nah nah hey hey hey goodbye” loudly over the “T”, “U”, “V”, and “W” lists.

    It was not the solemn gathering I had dreamed of.

  4. alwaysevolving says:

    Sounds like a great book. I was happy when I read that you wanted us to share our own graduation memories because my class reunion is coming up next year and I am sooooo excited. Ten years went by pretty quickly, in my opinion.

    I was the salutatorian of my class, so that has to be my fondest memory. Other memories include my classmates giving various gestures while crossing the stage and the crowd laughing. The graduation was bittersweet and I can’t wait for the class of ’99 to get together again.

  5. I would love to read the book, and pass it on to my son, who graduated high school on Sunday. I look at him and wonder, who will he be? Have I done what I should to prepare him to be a man of character? Will he make it in the world?

    My high school graduation–I remember very little, except my parents made me wear nicer clothes than I wanted to.

    When I think about graduations in the 70’s and 80’s and read what your commenters have said, I am very impressed with my son’s high school. All 713 graduates remained dignified and respectful (although some of the parents did not). 713 graduates sitting on chairs on the football field in the blazing hot sun, wearing nice clothes, caps and gowns–all acting like young men and women. Gives me hope for the future.

  6. I remember my sunburn most vividly from my highschool graduation. 2 days before graduation, all of the seniors went tubing down the Rainbow River together (an all-day event–not a good idea for this pale, pale blonde). My mother was SO mad at me for turning into lobster girl for all of the pictures!

  7. I was in the choir in high school, and as was the custom at our school, the choir sang at graduation. One of the songs our director chose the year I graduated was “I May Never Pass This Way Again.” Of course every senior girl in the choir, including me, just bawled.

  8. My most vivid memory of high school graduation just happens to be when I froze during my valedictorian speech.

    I had been memorizing it, for fear of forgetting my notes on my note cards. In reality, that backfired on me because in the midst of my speech I forgot what I had memorized and even though I had my note cards, I didn’t have them in correct order so I couldn’t use them as help.

    There was an extremely, long audible pause, before I finally remembered the rest of the speech and proceeded on. People and family that knew me, of course, knew immediately what happened, but most others just said my speech was wonderful. Thank goodness!

    The most funny thing about your giveaway is that we will be retiring in 18 months to California after the military has moved us around for the last 14 years. I’ve always enjoyed Arnold’s movies.

  9. My mom happened to be on the school board, and so was the one who handed me my diploma with a hug, of course. It must have looked rather strange to those who didn’t know there was any relationship there. Later on down the line, apparently making a parody of me, one boy came up and flung his arms around the other board member there as he got his diploma!

  10. Jeanne A says:

    WE moved just before my senior year and I was at a new school for my senior year. I went from a class of 25 to a class of 300. They wanted to use a parent in the program and since of all 300 students my dad was the only pastor they asked him to give the invocation. So he was on stage when I graduated!!!! I was so proud.

  11. one of my favorite memories of high school graduation was that i remember wanting to take that annoying (and in my opinion, ugly) hat off! i didn’t want any pictures with it on, i just wanted it off! but looking back, i’m glad i’ve got some pictures with that silly hat on, because it makes me look like an actual graduate. 🙂

  12. well, i was about 7 months pregnant with my oldest child at my graduation. if that wasn’t enough, our graduation had to be postponed…we all were lined up ready to enter the gym (it was raining, so we had to do it in the gym) when the power went out. we waited and waited (for over an hour) and finally they called it quits and told us to come back tomorrow. as we were all gathering our things and leaving…you guessed it! the power came back on.

  13. I was 18 and graduating when my youngest sister was born. This year she’s graduating! Looks like a great gift for her.
    Funny thing: in another 18 years my baby will be graduating

    My memory – I was grumpy. I was not happy with my parents. I was dating a guy that was really complicating life by his possessiveness (that I hadn’t identified yet at that time). Looking back, I’m sad that I wasn’t wiser and missed it being a happy joyful time with my family like it should have been. So my graduation wasn’t that great of a time for me. Sad, eh?

    Your blog is great. I totally enjoy your writings and your family. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Last night I was at a loss what to get a new graduate, and here you have it for me! hee hee! thanks for the review

  15. When I graduated from high school, I was extremely peeved by the fact that I had to wear a yellow cap and gown. My school’s colors were black and gold, so someone decided to have the girls wear yellow and the boys wear black. To have gone through 13 years of formal education only to have the indignity of wearing a bright yellow gown, while the boys got to wear the traditional, respectable black, was an insult. My brother videotaped the ceremony and then included a disclaimer at the end stating, “No actual bananas were harmed in the filming of this production.”

  16. Christy H. says:

    When I graduated from high school all I could think about was my upcoming wedding ~ which was 3 weeks after high school graduation.
    That was 30 years ago and next year our youngest will be graduating.

  17. Valerie says:

    I would love to read this book and pass it on to a graduate. I have several gifts to buy!

    I attended a very small school with only 17 seniors. I can vividly remember looking around at the gym and the people gathered there and thinking “I may never see this place or these people again.” Now 29 years later the school is closed and I have not seen many of those people again. I can still see my mother and father who are no longer alive beaming at me as I received my diploma. I miss them and those days.

  18. I don’t remember very much from my high school graduation – what I do remember is more general than specific — being very excited, wearing my gown and mortar board – somehow profound and ridiculous at the same time (girls in white, boys in light blue – our class colors), all the girls carrying a white rose (our class flower), the traditional moment of moving the tassle on my cap from one side to the other, etc. I have a photo snapped at the moment I received my diploma and shook the hand of the school board president — I’m always amazed at how broad my smile is, how much my youthful skin glows, and how thin I was back then! I remember the principal sending us on our way with this Traditional Irish Blessing (which I love):
    May the road rise up to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    The sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rain fall soft upon your fields,
    And until we meet again,
    May God keep you in the palm of His hand.

  19. Samantha says:

    I just found this blog and am very glad I did. I can’t wait to delve into it a bit more. We are at a point in our lives where 5-15 graduations a year aren’t uncommon. This book sounds like a great idea.

    Grad memories: Everyone in my class ignoring the one obviously prgnant(she ended up having her son the next day)girl in our class. I remember going over and holding her hand and crying the entire time. I remember hugging an older brother of a boy I had dated my senior year and both of us realizing we were meant to be. We were married 2 years later(and have been for 21), on the same day.

  20. This sounds like a great read for the dozen or so grads we have this year ! LOL

    Grad memories: I remember the one and only pregnant girl(even back then, scandolous)being snubbed by everyone. I remember bucking the seating arrangement and sitting with her and holding her hand. I remember crying with her the whole time. She ended up having the baby the next day. I remember hugging the older brother of a boy I had dated my senior year and both of realizing we were meant for each other. We were married 2 years later (and still going strong for 21 years) on that same date.