Whoopi Goldberg is preparing to reflect on her life with the upcoming release of her memoir, and in an exclusive interview with Closer, she reveals the most important lesson her mother, Emma Johnson, taught her while growing up. ​

“Don’t be a d–k! That’s the thing that she taught me. You have to try to be the best person you can be and so I’ve tried. I’m not always successful but, you know,” Whoopi, 68, says at the Garden of Laughs Comedy Benefit to benefit the Garden of Dreams Foundation on Wednesday, March 27.

The longtime View cohost recently penned Bits & Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me, her memoir that arrives on May 7. In it, she revisits some of her most memorable moments with her mom who passed away in 2010, and ​whom Whoopi dedicated the book to.

“I was just happy to remember them because when people go, you don’t have those conversations and suddenly you have to come up with the information like ‘Well, when did that happen?’ ‘Oh my god, did that happen?’ ‘Did I make this up?’ It’s a whole lot of craziness but I’m glad I got it done,” Whoopi tells Closer when asked about her experience writing the book.

The View’s Whoopi Goldberg Reveals Her Mom’s Greatest Lesson
Garden of Laughs Comedy Benefit

Bits and Pieces describes Emma as someone who gave “her children the loving care and wisdom they needed to succeed in life, always encouraging them to be true to themselves,” and The Color Purple star says that writing the book was a form of therapy for her.

“It was really,” Whoopi says. “I got to figure out how to remember some of this stuff and talk about my mom and my brother, who I talk about all the time, but people don’t really know very much about them or us as a trio. But that’s how I grew up with the three of us.”

The summary of the book describes it as an “intimate and heartfelt memoir.” Within its pages, “Whoopi shares many of the deeply personal stories of their lives together for the first time. Growing up in the projects in New York City, there were trips to Coney Island, the Ice Capades, and museums, and every Christmas was a magical experience.”

Bits and Pieces also touches on some of the struggles Whoopi faced growing up.

The summary adds, “To this day, she doesn’t know how her mother was able to give them such an enriching childhood, despite the struggles they faced—and it wasn’t until she was well into adulthood that Whoopi learned just how traumatic some of those struggles were.”