Smile for the Camera is a memoir written by Kelle James. This memoir captures both the delightful and appalling experiences sixteen year old Kelle has when she leaves her abusive father and family in Maryland to venture out into the Big Apple in hopes of becoming a model. From the moment she walks off the train, she already has a feeling that New York City is not as lovely as it seems. After her failed attempt at joining an agency, she finds herself broke and homeless, with only her friend Rayna to lean on. Her innocence gets the better of her and she soon gets wrapped up in a murder investigation, toxic relationships and lamentable housing. As she grows wiser, Kelle finally learns how to let go of the people who don’t deserve her and how to hold on to those who stand by her side.
I actually loved this book even though I’m not a big fan of memoirs. I adored her descriptions because I could imagine the scenes in my head. I also liked the flashbacks because it gave me a better sense of why she made the decisions she made. It’s very interesting to see how she made her way into the modeling world by herself because I’m almost her age and I can’t imagine doing anything she did without having my parents by my side. It made me realize how essential friends and family are when it comes to being happy. Although it is a little slow in the beginning, it was worth reading because it has uplifting themes of self-importance and faith in oneself. This book is directed towards a mature audience so I honestly believe any high school student would enjoy this memoir.