My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It was like a one sided chat with the star.
Now that being said, it wasn’t all that great but it wasn’t all that bad either. I know that this is a trend to have a musician tell stories and then have a writer reconstruct them into a narrative. This is not a new method, and it is super personal so I am glad that they chose to have the book written this way. I think that I have a little bit of an advantage here too because I have had the pleasure of listening to a conversation/interview with her many years back. So I am blessed with having the luxury of hearing her voice in my head some of the time while reading the book. So there is that.
About halfway through the book though I almost gave up. It was so so very conversational it was relentless and sometimes really rambling. A little more scene setting or history of a location would have been a little nice break. In my head all I could see was Wanda Jackson sitting at a tape recorder for hours and hours with no break just telling stories and someone sitting in front of her taking dictation... it almost became a distraction.
So I put the book down, skipped chapters 15 and 16 and picked it back up again. I just needed to mentally get past a hurdle I was encountering. I don’t know what it was.
She talked about her struggles with motherhood, her struggles with some of the choices that she made, Elvis (not as much dirt as you would expect, but remember Wanda Jackson first and foremost is a lady), her family, her great love Wendell and most importantly her love for music.
One important thing that I did understand of Ms. Jackson after reading this music, is that she loves what she does. She loves music, she loves playing music, she loves performing, recording and entertaining. The language really sparkles when she talks about all of these things.
And that is the simple joy of this book. If you are a fan of Wanda Jackson you will enjoy her tales, if you are looking to hear tales about life on the road for a female musician you will enjoy her tales, if you are looking for many interesting life stories you will enjoy this book. I did really enjoy hearing in her “voice” how she saw working in the music business. I found though that as I was reading the book I wanted to know just a little more. I know Ms. Jackson is immensely talented, kind and a work horse, but..... the picture painted just is a little too easy. I find it really hard to believe that the industry she worked in treated her well and kindly out of the gate. Yes, she is beautiful, yes, she can play a guitar and sing and roar... but... and here is my big question... was it really as easy as it seems? Maybe “Daddy” hid her from the sexism. Maybe and that is why she doesn’t discuss it. Maybe it really didn’t happen. I have to take her word.
It was an easy read, there isn’t a lot of dish here.
She talks very openly about her trials and tribulations and finding her Lord, which is who she is so know that going in. She is a woman of faith. She is a kind woman. She is Wanda Jackson.
And really there aren’t many like her left so the book is a great summation of her life told as if you were sitting across a table from her with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.
Here is a quote from the Preface that really sums up what the ride reading this book is all about and how Wanda wants her readers to go along with her.... “I associate music with fun and laughter and warm feelings. Going to those Saturday night dances with my folks was a wonderful time in my life. I didn’t want Saturday night to end. I just had to figure out how I was going to live my life in a way that made that feeling last. Sometimes I chased the wrong things in that pursuit, but I never lost sight of throwing a party for my fans at every show. I don’t care if it’s a Tuesday or a work night, or a school night; if you come to a Wanda Jackson show, every night is Saturday night.”
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