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The acclaimed actress and dedicated activist shares her personal journey of discovery, and destroys outdated ideas about partnership, love and family that will resonate with anyone in an unconventional life situation.
“Whatever…Love is Love opens up the truly extraordinary worlds of Maria Bello. Much like a carnival in her beloved Haiti — her discovery of how she survived her own darkness, is moving, enlightening and often hilarious.” —Olympia Dukakis, Oscar-winning actress
Actress and activist Maria Bello made waves with her essay, “Coming Out as a Modern Family,” in theNew York Timespopular “Modern Love” column, in which she recalled telling her son that she had fallen in love with her best friend, a woman—and her relief at his easy and immediate acceptance with the phrase “Whatever Mom, love is love.” She made a compelling argument about the fluidity of partnerships, and how families today come in a myriad of designs.
“Bold, brilliant, and passionate, Maria is incapable of bullshitting. Her story is somehow both relatable and wildly unique. She isn’t afraid to ask herself the tough questions, and by doing so, dares us to do the same.” —Olivia Wilde, Actor and Activist
In her first book, Bello broadens her insights as she examines the idea of partnership in every woman’s life, and her own. She examines the myths that so many of us believe about partnership—that the partnership begins when the sex begins, that partnerships are static, that you have to love yourself before you can be loved, and turns them on their heads. Bello explores how many different relationships—romantic, platonic, spiritual, familial, educational—helped define her life. She encourages women to realize that the only labels we have are the ones we put on ourselves, and the best, happiest partnerships are the ones that make your life better, even if they don’t fit the mold of “typical.”
“Maria Bello has written the greatest testimony about living an authentic life….free from labels, restrictions and other people’s opinion of who you should be. Whatever…Love is Love is a heroic journey that will both inspire and change, and Maria reminds us of the purest definition of love and of the greatest privilege of all……becoming who you truly are.” —Viola Davis, Oscar Nominated Actor
Throughout this powerful and engaging read, Bello shares intimate stories and lessons on how she has come to discover her happiest self, accept who she is, and live honestly and freely, and tells the stories of those who came to her after her Times’ columns, grateful that someone gave voice to their life choices.
“In a world preoccupied with parsing the tiniest differences into yet another label, Maria Bello’s bracing, heartfelt and humane book reminds us that it’s not form, it’s content. Love comes in so many sizes and shapes, and it’s alway beautiful. Her book reclaims the word “whatever” from a nonchalant shrug into a posture at once both defiant and embracing.” Michael Kimmel, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Stony Brook University and author of GUYLAND
Whatever… Love is Love is not a memoir about an actress. It is a frank, raw, and honest book about the way every woman questions the roles she plays in love, work, and life, filled with wisdom, questions, and insights relevant to us all.
“Maria Bello has written a book that is honest, which comes as no surprise as Maria is one of the most honest people I have ever met. In Whatever…Love is Love, Maria reveals her personal and radical self-exploration and questions the status quo imposed not just by her but by society in general. Never preachy, in this book she diligently and methodically deconstructs where her values have come from…personal, provocative and inspiring.”
—Patricia Arquette, Oscar Nominated Actor
“With clarity and exquisite honesty Maria Bello manages to be both vulnerable and self-deprecating. Whatever…Love is Love is a must read for anyone who is tired of old habits and labels, and looking to grow in a way that works for themselves and the people in their lives. I feel sure this conversation has only just begun.”
—Pat Mitchell, Editorial Director and Host of TEDWomen, Advisor to the PALEY Center for Media, and Chair of the Sundance Institute
“An important, timely and brave exploration of self that questions the human tendency to label and stereotype, and shows how existing labels may fail to capture the current human experience.”
—Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now
“Maria’s mind, her soul and her heart are all committed to drinking deeply of life in all its complexity and wonder. This book is the beautiful—honest, deep, brave, heart-wrenching, funny, real—document of that pursuit. Maria is one of the fierce ones whose journey sheds light for all us.”
—Mariska Hargitay, Actor
“Whatever…Love is Love is a wryly funny, deeply moving account that questions conventional definitions while examining the labels we give ourselves and accept from others. In her personal experience, Maria finds much that’s universal, as well as great deal that is purely, joyfully, amusingly and touchingly unique. A most absorbing and rewarding read.
—Jamie Wolf, Vice-President, PEN Center USA
“With open hearted honesty, Maria Bello reveals a personal journey to accept “what is” with humor and compassion, and how doing so is the key to ultimate happiness. By sharing her stories of fear, pain and joy, we find a shared humanity and in it a commonality of love. Whatever…Love is Love captures the many-sided facets of love and is a warm reminder of its beauty.”
—Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D., author of Fully Present and Founder of the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center
“Maria is the consummate storyteller—courageous, authentic, the kind who infuses her words with such a generosity of spirit, sharing her pains, insights, and joys. Maria writes in a voice that we can truly hear because it resonates with our heart and soul. Our culture learns and evolves so much through our honest stories, and Maria’s are as honest as they come. Whatever…Love is Love uplifts and inspires us all.”
—Regina Scully, director of the Oscar Nominated documentary Invisible War, and Founder of the Artemis Rising Foundation
“Whatever…Love is love. As simple as it sounds — it is hard to practice and proclaim. By flipping labels to become only the “ones we give ourselves” Maria reminds us that how we love defines us more than whom we love.”
—Geralyn White Dreyfous, Co-Founder of the Utah Film Center
“Whatever…Love is Love is a beautifully written book that gently nudges us to ask ourselves the questions which will liberate us from labels, stigmas and myths. Read this book, devour the words and set yourself free.”
—Camryn Manheim, Actor