Review by Jono Selu, Community Engagement & Health Promotion Officer, MHF
Young Queen
Parris Goebel (2018). New Zealand: Mary Egan Publishing.
Young Queen is the autobiography of Parris Goebe a dancer with a dream ... a young Polynesian girl who grew up in New Zealand and went on to conquer the hip hop world.

When I picked up this book, I was expecting a stock standard autobiography. The story of someone’s life told using flowery language and a singular story arc, summarised with the lessons they had learned in life. But within the first couple of pages, I knew that this was an entirely different kind of autobiography. I was transported into the world of Parris Goebel and I was completely hooked! 

Parris has told her story in a way that both inspires and activates the reader to be unapologetically you. She tells her story, but does it in a way that is both conversational (like a catch up with an old mate) and illuminating (like a big sister giving you a pep talk). It is rare to find literature that truly reflects a person’s identity, but I felt that the way Parris writes gives a real voice to the young NZ-born Poly identity - and I’m 100% here for it! 

Her story is inspirational, but more importantly, Parris is clearly trying to use her platform to lift up the world around her. As a dancer, I couldn’t help but find myself exclaiming “YAASS” while reading through all her advice for surviving in the dance world. As a brother and an uncle, I found myself thinking about the powerful women in my own life. As a NZ-born Samoan, I was filled with pride to see that one of our own has reached so much success but is still challenging herself to a life in the service of others. 

Young Queen is a great read and comes with a powerful message from a powerful woman. Even better, it is coupled with a beautiful teaching resource to encourage young people to explore their own identity and pathways to the future. This book is a must read for every young person that doesn’t quite fit in.

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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