The Most Beautiful: My Life With Prince by Mayte Garcia (5 out of 5)
This was a beautiful, heartbreaking surprise. When I heard about this book, I ordered it immediately, although I wasn’t sure what to think. I hadn’t kept up on the divorce, but I do remember seeing the sleazy tabloids having a field day when their son passed away. The fact that the book was coming out weeks before the anniversary of his passing? Even odder. Except, it really wasn’t. Not in a year of tributes from many. It made sense that his ex-wife would want to pay tribute. And that’s what this is. A poignant, beautiful, heartbreaking, and yes, at times, funny tribute to someone she loved- still loves- very much. The book is out now, in hardcover, from Hachette Book Group. I highly recommend it.
Mayte’s story before Prince’s entering into her life, is quite a story in itself. An ambitious, tough kid who survived bullying and her parents’ divorce, she becomes enraptured with the art of belly dancing at a young age, and begins doing so professionally, even opening her own bank account at age 12. Seeing Prince for the first time in concert does quite a number on her. Her mother has her make a videotape of her dancing, and then brazenly gets the tape to him backstage at a show the family attends together. The love affair begins. But it’s more of a friendship. One that Mayte shared with her captive audience, and one that doesn’t take very long to develop into friendship with unavoidable chemistry, but Prince is nothing more than a gentleman, given her young age. She continues to dance overseas in Egypt and wherever she can, along with being invited into the hallowed halls of the New Power Generation, as a performer. That’s another thing I found refreshing; from the start of the book, you can sense her own strength and independent stance to be her own woman and her own provider. Even after she is with Prince, she continues to try to blaze her own path and keep her identity. Eventually, Mayte hits 18, and the relationship turns officially serious. It isn’t too long before the absences make the heart grow fonder for the Purple Prince, and he proposes. They marry and settle into wedded bliss. Shortly after, they are blessed with the news they are going to be parents, and that is where things start to take a turn in their love story. Most know the sad story of what happened to their first child, and she relives it in full detail. There are other very sad revelations that come the reader’s way as well, along with the loss of their child bringing about the fall of their marriage. They never recover, despite Mayte’s best efforts. She speaks movingly of letting him go, and reclaiming her life after Prince. His unexpected passing is addressed with loving aplomb. All in all, a most beautiful love story and a wonderful tribute to a man most of us think of as a legend. Mayte thought of him as friend, husband, father, and soulmate. Bring your Kleenex, friends.