“Life Beyond Measure” by Sidney Poitier

This is quite an inspirational book by the great American actor, in
which he sends letters to his great-granddaughter, full of stories of
his own life, dreams and aspirations, and the hopes he has clung to
through a lifetime of extreme hardship, as well as soaring success.

Poitier was born in a small community of the Bahamas called Cat
Island. His father was a tomato farmer, and neither of his parents
had any schooling. They eventually got to Nassau, where the barriers
of race were a new experience. Sidney left for New York. Barely
able to read, he saw an advertisement in The Amsterdam News “for an
actor”. Instead of his usual occupation of dish-washer, he applied.
Though he failed the test, it spurred him on his way. By age 23 he had
made the movie “No Way Out” and was starting on “Cry the Beloved

Poiter has written other books in which he discusses the forty
films he has acted in, as well as nine he has directed and four he has
written. This book, therefore, is more of a philosophical ruminating
by a man of 8l, surrounded by a huge loving family, who wants to give
what clues he can to his little Ayele. He covers the big subjects;
science and faith, the environment and what we can do. But he returns
to an inner strength which he prays she has inherited (chiefly from his
own remarkable mother).

There are good photographs: Mandela, the Clintons, James
Baldwin. But the main story is the family, and it is worth reading about.

Review by Anne McDougall